Catching Pigeons: Dawalan to deliver?
Our Catching Pigeons column brings you all the latest whispers from the major training centres ahead of the weekend's action.
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Andrew Balding just missed out with our selection Tullius in Saturday's Lincoln, but the trainer should also go close at Doncaster on Sunday with Field Of Fame in the WearAHatDay - Brain Tumour Research Handicap.
The son of Champs Elysee took the very testing ground in his stride when making a winning bow at Salisbury six months ago.
Marmoom went into many horse to follow lists after his debut at Newbury in August and he reappears in the John Smith's Extra Maiden Stakes. He has done well during the winter and, even though he will come on for the run, should make his presence felt in this run-of-the-mill event.
Dawalan bids to recoup Cheltenham losses in the A.P. Security Juvenile Handicap Hurdle at Ascot, and he will find this smaller field and much less competitive race to his liking.
Nicky Henderson, a man never at the front of the queue when it comes to fitting headgear, has dispensed with the cheek-pieces fitted for the first time at the Festival, but he has interestingly opted to equip the four-year-old with a tongue strap for the first time hinting at a possible reason for his slightly laboured effort last time.
Manyriverstocross, like Dawalan will trying to erase from the memory his performance at Cheltenham and connections are looking at trying to utilise more forcing tactics in the feature race on the card, the Countryside Alliance Novices' Handicap Chase. He is expected to be bang there at the finish this time.
Newmarket has come alive in the last few weeks and there are a number of horses worth pinpointing here for the weeks ahead.
Martin Dwyer isn't a regular visitor to the town but made the trip to partner a handful of horses for Hugo Palmer on the Al Bahathri in midweek. The talented Extremity has entries in a couple of Tattersalls sales races at the Craven meeting and looks on good terms with himself.
Also catching the eye is the much-talked-about Telescope, who went well both in midweek and again on Saturday on the Al Bahathri under Kevin Bradshaw. He is pencilled in for the Brigadier Gerard at Sandown in Derby week, but is going so well connections might be tempted to take him somewhere else first.
Rumour has it that Bradshaw, a longtime ally of the Stoute stable, only ever sits on the good ones so the lightly-raced grey Idea should therefore be another name to note if he turns up in one of the Guineas trials. He looks strong and has done well from two to three - the issue would be whether he has matured into more of a middle-distance performer now.
Stoute will have a better idea where his team stand after Arab Spring runs in the opener at Kempton on Monday. He worked well under Ryan Moore in midweek and doesn't look to have a lot to beat. Expect some long faces at Freemason Lodge if he gets turned over.
It was interesting to see crack apprentice Robert Tart among the work-riders for Stoute on Saturday. Tart has ridden for all sorts of trainers in recent weeks, but a move to Newmarket might not be the worst shout at this stage of his career with his allowance soon to disappear.
Back to potential QIPCO 2000 Guineas candidates and Jamie Spencer partnered Lat Hawill in a spin in midweek for Marco Botti as the jockey weighs up his possible Qatar Racing mounts at Newmarket.
Kingman has the Greenham on his agenda before Classic plans are sewn up, but he has worked very well in his last two pieces and there are absolutely no signs of any issues remaining from the problems trainer John Gosden endured with him at the end of last season. He comprehensively put a loftily-rated older stablemate in his place on Tuesday.
Sloane Avenue was flagged up on this page before a recent winning debut and went very well on the Al Bahathri on Saturday. Trainer Jeremy Noseda is eyeing a contest next weekend for his charge, while nearer to hand the stable's Dutiful Son should not be opposed at Kempton on Monday.