Catching Pigeons: Hot fancy
Our Catching Pigeons column is back with all the gossip and whispers ahead of the weekend action.
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Hot Streak can confirm that he is going to be a threat to the very best in the top sprints this season with another bold effort in the Group Two Betfred Temple Stakes at Haydock on Saturday.
It is always difficult for three year olds to make a big impact in this division in the opening weeks of the campaign, but last season's Middle Park Stakes runner-up managed to frighten established star Sole Power on his return to action at Newmarket three weeks ago.
He has a little under a length to make up here and, unlike his rival, had not enjoyed the benefit of a preliminary run this season. He has been sharpened up by the run and another plus is the likelihood of some easing in the ground if the weather forecast proves correct.
The betfred.com Silver Bowl Stakes always takes plenty of winning and this year's race looks another very tough renewal. Both Bilimbi and What About Carlo are proven on any type of ground and are very well fancied by their yards, but a chance is taken that Born In Bombay can make his presence felt.
Narrowly beaten by the smart Passing Star on his debut, he went one better with an impressive win at Kempton before lack of experience appeared to find him out on his turf debut at Newmarket. This race has been the target since that defeat and he is expected to make the most of what looks a good draw and a potentially lenient handicap mark.
Hughie Morrison is enjoying a much better season than he did in 2013 and Fun Mac can underline the point with victory in the Betfred TV Handicap. He did well to win first time out this season because he is a very laid-back individual at home and should find plenty of improvement from the outing. He still looks nicely handicapped and is another who will appreciate the forecast rain.
Glenard is just preferred to Asbaab in the opening Betfred Edward Wallis Handicap. Charlie Hills had high hopes of victory in the Chester Cup with the selection but he ran a bit below expectations. Connections hope he should be better suited both by this more conventional course and shorter trip.
John Gosden can kick things off at Goodwood on the right note with Nabucco in the 32 Red Casino Stakes. The five-year-old was a persistent talking horse throughout last season, and really came to the fore as the year progressed.
He showed a real liking for the mud when landing his last two starts, and underfoot conditions will be of a similar consistency with more rain forecast on Saturday. There seems no reason why he should not continue to continue the steady progress he made last season.
Gatewood can confirm Ascot running with Pether's Moon in the Listed 32 Red Tapster Stakes. The Hannon team might well have hoped for revenge before the rain this week but the selection looks best able to cope with the easy ground and his revival is fancied to continue.
Mick Channon has his two year olds in great nick and Exentricity can make the most of her experience in the ebfstallions.com Maiden Filllies Stakes. The return to this level should suit the daughter of Paco Boy, who could never get into the race after a slow start in a competitive Listed event at York eight days ago.
She had previously finished a very good second to the eventual runner up in that race, Tiggy Wiggy, on her debut on easy ground at Salisbury and a repeat of that form should see her very tough to beat.
Chris Wall has a very high opinion of Eleusis who finished third at Yarmouth on debut and he looks to be a leading player in Monday’s Ladbrokes Maiden Stakes at Windsor.
Half-an-hour earlier on the same card Tall Ship makes his handicap bow and while he hasn’t lived up to the high expectations of some in the Stoute camp, it will be disappointing if he isn’t competitive from an opening mark of 74.
There is plenty of jump racing over the Bank Holiday weekend and one of the best bets should be Elmore Back to land an overdue first success over timber in the 32Red Handicap Hurdle at Uttoxeter on Sunday. Charlie Mann's charge has some solid form in the book and was a little unlucky on his latest start at Fontwell.
The Newmarket big guns continue to be primed for their major targets. Kingman has looked in great shape of late ahead of his run in Saturday’s Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas.
Paul Hanagan, under the watchful eyes of Richard Hills, had a sit on Soft Falling Rain on Friday and he looked in great shape on a spin on the Al Bahathri. Mike De Kock’s globetrotter enjoyed a tough journey back from Dubai and his participation at Royal Ascot had been in doubt, but this looked much more like it.
Hanagan, meanwhile, heads to his old hunting ground of Pontefract on Friday night and there will be a many a long face at Clarehaven if Kasb fails to make it from two in the EBF Stallions Youngsters Conditions Stakes.
He overcame greenness to win at Newbury on debut and looks much more the finished article now.
The former champion jockey partnered Investec Oaks favourite Taghrooda in midweek while Kieren Fallon was aboard market rival Ihtimal on the Al Bahathri on Friday.
Taghrooda’s trainer John Gosden is now married to the mayor of Newmarket after Rachel Hood was voted into office on Tuesday. Her deputy is another trainer, John Berry.
Keep an eye out for Postponed who has looked in rude health of late but was taken out of the Casco EBF Stallions Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood on Friday because of the softening ground. His time will come.
Ed Dunlop’s team look ready to step up a gear with Amazing Maria, Joshua Tree, Burwaaz and Contributer all stretching out nicely on the Limekilns on Friday. The stable has been very quiet in the last few weeks with a bug having hit the yard but Dunlop clearly seems ready to start firing his big guns again.
Russian Heroine was a beaten favourite for a second successive race at Sandown on Thursday, but nevertheless the indications are Sir Michael Stoute has a very nice bunch of two-year-olds waiting in the wings. Of his established stars, Estimate looked to be winning her Royal Ascot fitness race when working on the Al Bahathri this week.
Stable jockey Ryan Moore is already one of the busiest men in Newmarket – dashing across town to ride work for various yards – and he’s been asked to carry the Commonwealth Games baton through Newmarket. There is no word as to his response as yet.
And finally… no Catching Pigeons column would be complete without mention of Hydrogen, who was left in the Investec Derby this week, despite being still to make a public appearance on the racecourse. Jamie Spencer was again in the saddle for a gallop on Friday in front of his owners and trainer Peter Chapple-Hyam, but as yet we still await news of a potential racecourse debut. Could it be at Epsom?