Catching Pigeons: Follow Meehan
Most Improved's Royal Ascot win has lifted a weight from Brian Meehan's shoulders and all is well around Manton again.
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Meehan's team have been among the winners this week and the trainer may have a couple of surprise bullets to fire on the big card at Sandown.
First up is the quirky Elusivity, on whom blinkers are tried for the first time in the Coral Charge.
He has the best draw of all against the far rail in stall one and the pace to exploit it if the blinkers help him travel with a little more generosity in the early stages.
Also to be considered is Aaim To Prosper in the Coral Marathon later on the card. Last year's contest might not be one that lives long in your memory but both Meehan and Andrew Balding, trainer of Chiberta King, have specificially targeted this race after their runners finished respectively second and first 12 months ago (third-placed Electrolyser is also back for more).
Aaim To Prosper might have won last year but for being partnered by the not-very-good-in-my-opinion Louis Beuzelin and won't lack for anything on that front with Neil Callan booked this time. He's in good form at home.
Goodwood Atlantis is one to watch in the closing mile-and-a-quarter handicap, especially now that John Dunlop's stable have emerged from a coma. He is rumoured to have plenty of ability but also has the widest draw and may just be being teed up for a win on home territory in four weeks' time. Keep an eye on his progress.
It's no secret that Farhh is a fragile sort and his obvious form claims in the Coral-Eclipse are tempered by that knowledge. There are positive messages for a number of his rivals too, not least Bonfire who worked the house down at Kingsclere last Saturday.
Away from Sandown, the weather is likely to have a major say. Set To Music has always worked very well and returned to winning form last time. She should be a big player in the Lancashire Oaks, but it would be a brave call to rule out Testosterone after just one bad run on her debut at Royal Ascot.
She was far too free in the early stages and had run out of gas soon after the home turn, but this big old unit was in need of the run and will strip considerably fitter now.
Luca Cumani makes no bones about targeting the Old Newton Cup each year and his Franciscan must be on the shortlist, although he is a notoriously lazy type and may need some stoking up from Kieren Fallon to reach top gear. Thankfully, Haydock are using the less-sharp stands' side track for Saturday's meeting.
There's no busier work rider in Newmarket at present than Richard Hills; Hamdan al Maktoum's former jockey is throwing himself into his new role for the operation.
Roger Varian reportedly has a couple of very smart two-year-olds for the team this year and entries from the stable should be monitored at next week's July meeting.
Finally, Catching Pigeons wouldn't be complete without a Frankel update. In sheeting rain, Sir Henry Cecil made a welcome appearance on the gallops to watch the horse do two canters on Friday morning. He was, once again, majestic. And Frankel wasn't bad either.