Our Catching Pigeons insider brings all the weekend selections from around the major training centres, including Mohaather in the Greenham.
Young Rascal (1.40 Newbury)
Young Rascal can notch his fourth course success in the Group 3 Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise Stakes at Newbury on Saturday. William Haggas has this four-year-old on great nick after a recent workout around the Chelmsford artificial surface, and is primed to follow up his maiden win over the smart middle-distance performer Corgi at this meeting 12 months ago. His shrewd trainer did not opt for the handicap route after that success, and four wins at this level followed, his only defeat coming behind Masar in the Derby. He progressed throughout 2018, and he should continue on an upward curve in the weeks and months ahead.
Madame Tantzy (2.10 Newbury)
It may pay to make an each-way investment on Madame Tantzy in the Group 2 Duty Free Stakes. A half-sister to last season’s Queen Anne winner Accidental Agent, she shaped well on her only start as a juvenile at Newbury last back-end, and duly confirmed that promise with a cosy win at Kempton last month. This may be a big step up in class from that relatively low level, but Eve Johnson Houghton knows this family like the back of her hand, and she should both improve significantly for the run, and handle the ground well.
Mohaather (2.40 Newbury)
Mohaather, a close relation of Madame Tantzy, won the Horris Hill here in the Autumn in good style and should go well for Marcus Tregoning in the Group 3 Watership Down Greenham Stakes. The victory at pattern race level did not surprise the Whitsbury trainer, and he has been delighted with the colt’s progress during the Winter. He has been working very nicely, And may just have the edge over Boitron and Hello Youmzain, who may just find the six furlongs beyond him in the likely sticky ground.
Just The Man (3.50 Newbury)
Just The Man looks right for the job in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships Maiden Stakes. Both his outings so far have been at Kempton, and he looked a certain future winner when chasing home Set Piece on the latter occasion in December. The form of that race has worked out very well with both the first and third winning since, and the Cox team are sure he will take a significant step forward from that run.
Pour Me A Drink (4.25 Newbury)
Pour Me A Drink, a son of Nathaniel, looks sure to improve from his two outings on the artificial surfaces so far, and should also go well at a decent price for Cox in the second division.
Verdana Blue (2.25 Ayr)
Verdana Blue should take plenty of beating in the Scottish Champion Hurdle. Although a surprise winner over stablemate Buveur D’Air in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton, she has long been regarded as a top class performer when the ground is good, and she will be much better suited by the underfoot conditions she encounters here than in the Champion last month. The very useful 7lb claimed Connor Brace relieves some of the burden of top weight, and hopefully he will deliver her late to make the most of her smart turn of foot. Nicky Henderson also runs the very talented novice Mister Fisher, and he will prove a tough nut to crack.
O Connell Street (5.20 Ayr)
O Connell Street can build on his debut second at Market Rasen and maintain Henderson’s very good record in the Procast Buiding Contractors Ltd National Hunt Flat race. The champion trainer has won this valuable bumper with classy performers William Henry, Pym and the superstar Sprinter Sacre in the past, and this son of Fame And Glory is a half-brother to City Island, the winner of the Grade 1 Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival last month.
Onefortheroadtom (1.55 Ayr)
Onefortheroadtom should go well off his lightweight in the J&D Pierce Novices Handicap Chase. The step up to three miles should suit Harry Fry’s gelding, who once beat the smart Lalor over hurdles, and looks well handicapped on his best form. His jumping over fences has been left a little to be desired at times, but he was beaten only ten lengths in a very good Novices Handicap at Cheltenham in January won by Kidisart. He again advertised his talents as a three miler in a valuable event with an emphatic win at Aintree last weekend.The longer trip should give Onefortheroadtom, more time to sort himself out at his fences, and his stable are in very good form.
Big River (3.35 Ayr)
Big River ran a very sound Trial for this race when fourth to Beware The Bear in the Ultima at Cheltenham last month, and he can reverse the form in the Coral Scottish National. Lucinda Russell will have the nine year old well primed for his biggest target of the year, and, whilst the ground may not be quite right for him, the way he finished at the Festival suggests this step up to a marathon trip will see him at his most effective.