Catching Pigeons: Munjaz ready

  • Last Updated: May 9 2014, 16:31 BST

Our Catching Pigeons column is back with all the latest gossip from the major training centres in the UK.

Munjaz: Catching the eye before the Lingfield Derby Trial
Munjaz: Catching the eye before the Lingfield Derby Trial

Things have just gone a bit awry for John Gosden after his brilliant start to the season, but Munjaz can put the Classic team back on track with victory in the Derby Trial at Lingfield.

The narrow defeat of Kingman in the 2000 Guineas and Romsdal's agonising loss in the Chester Vase in the past week have been frustrating for the Clarehaven team.

However the solid performance of the latter, when just pipped by Aidan O'Brien's Orchestra,  was a big boost for Munjaz  who also faces a clash with Coolmore rivals in the shape of Mekong River and Blue Hussar.

Munjaz has thrived since his comeback win at Newmarket, the step up in trip should also be appreciated .

The Betfred 7.5 Million Scoop6 Today Oaks Trial Stakes looks a very tricky affair with Ralph Beckett, the trainer with the best recent record in the race, saddling three runners.

Moonrise Landing looks to hold the best chance of the trio, but the each-way value may lie with Kallisha, who won on her debut in the mud at Sandown, beating a highly rated filly of Mick Channon's in the process.

Those with long memories will remember the name Town Crier as a smart performer in the early days of racing legend Peter Walwyn's training career.

William Haggas's juvenile of the same name makes his racecourse debut in the opening maiden and the booking of the all-conquering Ryan Moore suggests he has shown a fair bit of ability in his preparatory gallops.

Hughie Morrison had a quiet season in 2013, but the team look healthy now and it may pay to take an each-way wager on Pastoral Player in the 7.5 Million Totescoop6 Victoria Cup Heritage Handicap at Ascot.

A smart group performer on his day, he was holding his own in pattern race company in the first half of last season, but fell away badly when the stable were out of form. The assessor has given him a chance here, and if he can reproduce anything like his best, he should give Hayley Turner a great ride.

The Paco Kid can step up on his debut effort at Newbury and make the  experience count against seven unraced rivals in the Play The totescoop6 Maiden. Olly Stevens chose what has turned out to be the strongest juvenile maiden so far this season at the Berkshire course and the son of Paco Boy did well to finish fourth. He has come on for the run.

Hamelin can keep Lady Cecil's in-form team ticking over with victory in the Leo Bancroft Handicap.The four year old ended last season on a high with two wins and is reported to have been working very well in preparation for this seasonal bow.

Intibaah looks the sort to progress during this season and he should go close on his return to action in the Pertemps Conditions Stakes at Haydock. Brian Meehan has had to be patient as his team find their feet this spring, but they are showing signs of coming to the party and he has found a nice race for Intibaah here. The soft ground will suit and the race has cut up from the five day stage.

Matelleb, a stablemate of Munjaz, can overcome his lack of experience and see off well regarded Chatez in the Pertemps Handicap. He beat the very useful Mutakayyef on his debut at Newbury and that rival has boosted the form with a very good second in the Derby Trial at Newmarket last weekend.

Highland Colori is sure to come on for his comeback run in the Pertemps Spring Trophy, and the recent rain means conditions will be win his favour. He can add another valuable prize to a growing collection, which of course, included the Ayr Gold Cup last season.

Those looking for the best bet of the day may have to wait until evening when Roger Charlton's Sea Defence bids to make it two wins from three starts in the New Citroen C1 Handicap at Warwick.

The three year old was strongly fancied when he broke his duck in a back-end maiden at Newmarket and he duly delivere. The handicapper looks to have given him a chance with a mark of 82 here, a point underlined by the fact that the third Loving Home, who was beaten more than 11 lengths, has a mark of 80.

The Queen was a notable visit to the Newmarket gallops last Saturday where her team based in Headquarters had a spin. Ryan Moore was aboard Musidora hope Shama who worked with Queen’s Prize (runs at Lingfield on Saturday) before standing with the owner to see some of her other horses pass by.

One to catch the eye was a two-year-old with Michael Bell called Touchline who went nicely under Tom Queally.

Arod continues to catch the eye in his work ahead of a tilt at Thursday’s Betfred Dante and his unraced stablemate Hydrogen is getting ever closer to a debut. He looks an absolute picture.

Richard Hills had a sit on the promising Hadaatha for boss Hamdan Al Maktoum earlier in the week and the promising and unbeaten Muwaary is another Shadwell horse to keep taking the eye ahead of the French Guineas.

Sir Michael Stoute introduces a nice two-year-old at Windsor on Monday called Russian Heroine who has been striding out well in solo spins recently while Hugo Palmer has a nice bunch of juveniles on his hand.

Only Joking makes his debut in the Dine In The 1707 Restaurant Maiden Auction Stakes and while he’ll be better for the run, he has shown enough in his work to suggest he’ll be winning races.