Catching Pigeons: Winsili ready to roll
John Gosden will be chewing on his fingernails in Ireland on Saturday, as he waits to see William Buick arrive from Haydock in time to partner Nathaniel in the Irish Champion Stakes.
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Gosden took some persuading from his stable jockey's agent that it would be possible to both ride Ortensia in the Sprint Cup and then make the journey across the Irish Sea in time for a second bite at the Group One cherry.
But Gosden can find some comfort earlier in the day when the exciting Winsili runs at Ascot, with Rab Havlin keeping the mount in the Stratford Place Fillies' Conditions Stakes.
Havlin has long been a fixture at Gosden's Newmarket operation, but is getting an increasing number of chances as the strength of the yard has grown and he was also on board when this filly made her debut at Newmarket last month.
The association between the pair has been maintained on the gallops in the last few days and some of Winsili's recent work has been particularly exciting. If her unbeaten record goes at Ascot, it will be only to a very smart filly.
Nathaniel himself will take some beating at Leopardstown, but Gosden has left something still to work on ahead of the Arc and maintains that France is the ultimate target.
Buick may be missing out on the ride on Winsili, but being at Haydock for Ortensia has allowed him to collect a fascinating spare mount on Chil The Kite.
This horse has been a friend to followers of the pigeon all season long and is not about to be deserted now, as Hughie Morrison still has the colt just where he wants him.
He has the lowest official rating of all eight runners in this Listed contest, but Morrison is keener to take this route than going for the Cambridgeshire as he feels smaller fields suit this horse better.
Richard Hughes was originally pencilled in for the mount at the start of the week, but has been claimed by the Hannon yard for Rockinante. However Buick is no bad substitute and the horse definitely seems to be growing up, taking less of a furious pull in the early stages of his races.
The Roger Charlton-trained Derwent is the one for the six-furlong nursery later on the card. He was unfortunate to bump into a live one in a four-runner event at Ffos Las last time but didn't appreciate the soft ground in any case.
Intibaah, the horse he was beaten by there, runs at Kempton 20 minutes earlier in the Sirenia Stakes and a big showing from him will see Derwent's odds contract quickly.
But he'll need to be smart to beat Richard Hannon's Pearl Acclaim, who connections believe wasn't at his best when beaten in the Gimcrack last time out.
Maybe it was the rain-softened surface, or perhaps the race came soon enough just six days after his previous victory, but he is thought capable of bouncing back here.
Lyric Street gets the shout in Haydock's Old Borough Cup. He travels well in his races and could strike up a rapport with Richard Hughes. Connections are hopeful of a decent run en-route to a possible tilt at the Cesarewitch.
The most positive news from the Newmarket gallops Sir Henry Cecil's two recent arrivals owned by the Wildenstein family, who transferred some of their team to Britain in July.
Neither Beauty Parlour nor Andromeda Galaxy have been seen in public for their new trainer yet, but both are exciting workwatchers. The former is an intended runner in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf, while the latter could make her debut for Cecil in a Group Three in Ireland later this month.
Meanwhile, William Haggas took the decision to head for the St Leger with Guarantee after seeing him work with Harris Tweed on the Al Bahathri on Friday morning.
Harris Tweed may have struggled in his most recent races, but he remains a very useful yardstick for homework and Haggas was left satisfied that the three-year-old won't be disgraced at Doncaster on Saturday week.
The main talk of the home of racing this week hasn't concerned anything with four legs but the reduction in the speed limit on the Bury Road from 40 to 30pmh. A handful of trainers and jockeys have found themselves face to face with blue flashing lights in the last few days, with the local constabulary seemingly keen to enforce the new limit as quickly as possible. You have been warned...