Catching Pigeons gossip column for the weekend

Bahrain Pride impresses at Ripon

Our top gossip column is back and expecting a big run from Bahrain Pride in the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes.

3.25 Newbury - Bahrain Pride

Bahrain Pride looks the value bet in the Group Two Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury on Saturday. Simon Crisford's juvenile saw off the attentions of the current favourite for this event, Fivetheousandandtoone, on his debut at Windsor and produced a classy performance to follow-up in a Listed event at Ripon on his only subsequent start.

Connections are more than hopeful he can continue to progress and, judged on that latest performance, he looks more than ready for the step up in class.

2.15 Newbury - Starcat

Starcat has not quite lived up to expectations this season despite a respectable effort in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas but he looks worth another chance in the Dubai Duty Free Handicap.

An unlucky fifth at Glorious Goodwood, he was given a short break after that effort and a recent fourth at the Doncaster St Leger meeting ten days ago should have sharpened him up for this valuable prize. He may have most to fear from old rival Tenbury Wells, who is strongly fancied, and Ian Williams' Kingbrook, who ran a very sound race on his return at Sandown a month ago.

1.05 Newbury - Mithras

Mithras, a stablemate of Tenbury Wells, did well to finish fourth to highly-rated One Ruler and Maximal after a slow start in what looked a classy maiden at Sandown last month, and should take plenty of beating in division one of the Heatherwold Novice Stakes.

The Gosden team have been pleased with his progress since and he gets the vote ahead of Aerion Power, from the in-form Sir Michael Stoute camp, and newcomers Aratus and Zuhair.

4.00 Newbury - Run To Freedom

Run To Freedom would be arguably Henry Candy's most interesting two-year-old given he is a half-brother to the same trainer's high class sprinters Twilight Sun and Music Master. He should go well in division two of the Newbury maiden.

French Conquest has the experience of a run behind him and is expected to step up a good deal on that debut effort behind Baradar here last month.

3.40 Ayr - Wise Counsel

Wise Counsel has been trained very much with a tilt at the QTS Ayr Gold Cup and he should more than make his presence felt in the big sprint provided the ground doesn't dry up too much. Clive Cox was only tempted by the one comeback outing during the summer months and was pleased enough with his warm-up race over seven furlongs at Ascot two weeks ago. His subsequent work has been of a high order and he looks worth an each-way interest.

3.50 Newmarket - Ocean Wind

Ocean Wind was not far off the very best bumper horses last jumps season and should underline his potential on the level with victory in the Close Brothers Cesarewitch Trial Handicap at Newmarket.

Both his outings on the Flat have been at Lingfield and he produced a very good performance to beat John Locke by three-and-a-quarter lengths in a maiden over an extended mile and three furlongs. The way he finished suggests that the step up to this marathon trip should pose no problems and he looks nicely weighted with a rating of 85.

5.00 Newmarket - Dulas

Lightly raced Dulas failed to justify market support when he pulled too hard on his comeback effort at Doncaster in June and should go well on his first outing since in the Close Brothers Premium Brothers Premium Finance Handicap. This step back from seven to six furlongs should suit him and it is interesting that Ryan Moore takes the ride for the first time.

4.25 Newmarket - Kepala

Kepala showed her liking for this course back in the mid-summer and can return from a short-break with a big run in the Close Brothers Asset Management Fillies Handicap. This return to a mile-and-a-half should suit and she is reported in good form.

3.00 Chelmsford (Sunday) - Firepower

Firepower has given the Cox team more than their fair share of training headaches since his debut and only, win so far at Salisbury last May.

However he has undergone gelding and breathing operations since his last appearance in the Mill Reef Stakes a year ago and his preparatory work has been of a suitable standard to suggest he will go well in the Chelmsfordcityracecourse.com Handicap on Sunday.

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