Catching Pigeons: Bailey's happy return
t's several years since Alan Bailey left Cheshire for a busier life in Newmarket, but the veteran trainer still loves the Roodee like no other racecourse and he'll be looking forward to making the trip with Coincidently on Saturday.
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The spelling of her name is the only thing not to like about this filly, who has always been the apple of her trainer's eye since he forked out a not-inconsiderable sum for her at the Breeze-Ups in April.
Her inexperience was there for all to see as she drifted across the track under Bailey's apprentice Natasha Eaton, but Tom Queally has been booked for this ride and she could well be good enough to overcome a wide draw in stall eight. Three of Bailey's last five runners have won too.
Incidentally, Coincidently's half-brother Strictly Silver will be accompanying her in the horsebox as he is also in action at the meeting after a solid second at York last Thursday. He is in a very tough handicap, but should give his running again. Although if Galician can bounce back to the form shown in the Shergar Cup when Chantal Sutherland was more passenger than jockey she is going to be right in the mix too.
In the previous Listed handicap, Communicator returns to the track where he bolted up a fortnight ago, finally fulfilling the promise he has long shown at home to Andrew Balding. However whether he can produce that sort of performance twice on the bounce is anyone's guess.
Rosslyn Castle was desperately in need of the run on his recent return, his first start since being gelded, and is another to note in the same race. Even if this proves too tough, he can win before the season is out.
Brian Meehan's horses have finally hit an improved patch of form in the last week or two and his sprinter Ballesteros is ready for his reappearance at Bath. He loves plenty of juice in the ground and rain will be a considerable plus for his prospects in the conditions stakes. Rex Imperator is the danger having passed the post still on the bridle at York last week after enduring a bit of a nightmare under George Baker.
Meehan's other runners on Saturday shouldn't be ignored either. Elusivity got wise to the headgear last time out but still has ability to win the Beverley Bullet if he fancies it. Among the other interesting runners is Borderlescott, who was balloted out of a repeat bid at the Nunthorpe last week. Robin Bastiman might not be one of the big names in training, but he knows how to get this horse right and he has been telling everyone who will listen that he got this horse right again and he certainly wasn't disgraced in the Stewards' Cup last time.
Yes he's 10 and increasingly vulnerable to aches and pains but it's not impossible that he can pull out the goods again.
Michael Bell's Zero Game is one to look at in the opening contest at the same track. There was a decent word going around Newmarket for this horse before his recent eyecatching debut at the track.
At Sandown, Richard Hughes has been granted permission to get off the Hannon runner in order to partner Dank in the fillies' Group Three and that might have been enough to make her a play (possibly should have beaten Ladys First last time) but for a difficult looking wide draw.
Later on the card in the one-mile handicap Scrupul must be worth a mention. He is taking an age to fulfil his potential but was thought just the sort to make up into a smart handicapper at the start of this season and has shown enough promise on occasions to suggest such hopes might not be entirely realistic.
In the same race, David Lanigan saddles Main Line, a horse the trainer has a soft spot for after giving him a first winner from his new Lambourn base at the start of the year. He is a likeable sort who Lanigan hopes can pick up a nice prize in the autumn, but he may just prefer a little more cut in the ground.
Incidentally, Lanigan's two-year-old Bright Glow is one to look out for when she makes her racecourse debut in the next couple of weeks. She has been backward and only moved into full work quite recently, but there appears to be plenty of ability under the bonnet.
The Pigeon is indebted to the emailer who corrected his spelling of Cecil two-year-old Demonic (given as Dominic last week). Pigeons never were that good at being able to read their own writing. It's a name worth noting too as Demonic continues to take the eye. He is a half-brother to Phoenix Tower, a horse Sir Henry believed could have shown himself to be one of the trainer's very best only for injury to rule him out of the 2008 Champion Stakes at the eleventh hour.