Ben Linfoot provides some snippets from day one at the Craven meeting, as Andrew Balding and King Power Racing landed another early-season pot.
Shine looks Bright, but what about Bangkok?
The financial clout of King Power Racing and the appointment of Silvestre de Sousa as retained jockey was a big hint that Andrew Balding was set for a big season.
That’s certainly the way things are panning out in the early stages of the campaign and Shine So Bright offered further evidence of this burgeoning axis with an authoritative victory in the bet365 European Free Handicap on day one of Newmarket’s Craven meeting.
He could be a Guineas, Jersey Stakes or Commonwealth Cup horse judging by Balding’s comments afterwards, but one thing he isn’t is the best three-year-old in his yard, according to the man himself, at least.
That accolade belongs to Bangkok, a son of Australia that was so impressive at Doncaster’s Lincoln meeting.
The way he won on Town Moor was an indication of his potential, but his stock is rising after Telecaster, second to him at Doncaster, came out and bolted up at Windsor on Monday.
“He’s got lots of options,” said Balding at HQ on Tuesday. “He’s not in the Guineas [pause] at the moment, but he has lots of options, so we’ll see, we’ve got plenty of time with him. I’ve not discussed anything with the owners and we need to do that.
“On homework I’d say he’s probably the best of our lot, but he’s very much got a middle distance pedigree.”
Don’t rule out a Guineas supplementation yet, then. But that Doncaster win was over 10 furlongs and I’d still wager a Derby trial looks more likely. Given Balding’s love for Chester, perhaps we’ll see him there.
Wherever he goes he’s one to watch as the season unfolds, judging by that Telecaster form boost and his apparent status in the Balding yard.
French Derby mission for Kick On?
The last time John Gosden won the bet365 Feilden Stakes with a 2/1 shot that horse went on to win the Dante, Derby, Coral-Eclipse, Irish Champion Stakes and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
That horse was Golden Horn and I’m not suggesting for one minute that Kick On, who won the Feilden Stakes for Gosden at odds of 2/1 on Tuesday, is going to in any way emulate that magnificent season.
But he does have Classic aspirations after this, a nice success that was gained by knuckling down to see off the late challenge of Walkinthesand.
Oisin Murphy likes his trips to France and he suggested the French Guineas as a target in the immediate aftermath, but connections might just be eyeing a trip to the French Derby.
He displayed stamina traits to land this 1m 1f prize, he’s a half-brother to Nordic Lights who stayed 10 furlongs and there’s a strong suspicion within the Kick On camp that his pronounced knee action very much suggests that he’ll enjoy softer ground than that he encountered today.
My Stable Eyecatchers:
Venusta (1.15 Newmarket)
Mick Channon pitched this daughter of Medicean into a warm maiden for her debut and the fillies with experience from powerful yards; Maqsad from William Haggas’ and Twist ‘N’Shake from John Gosden’s, dominated the finish. They pulled nine lengths clear of the rest but Venusta ran well on her first start, staying on into fourth with the promise of plenty more to come. She should be competitive in a mile maiden with this experience under her belt and may want further as the season progresses.
Angel’s Hideaway (3.35 Newmarket)
The Nell Gwyn Stakes was over for Angel’s Hideaway within seconds of the gates opening as the daughter of Dark Angel missed the break, but she shaped really nicely after that and is worth another chance. Left with a mountain to climb inside the first 100 yards, she had to come around the entire field down the middle part of the track, which looked to be a disadvantage judging by the amount of winners that came up the stands’ rail during the afternoon. To be beaten just over two lengths by such an impressive winner given the adversity suggests she’s trained on just fine.