Ben Linfoot highlights four things to look out for in the racing world on Monday, including a well-handicapped horse looking for his first win in over 1,000 days.
1. Hamilton a Happy hunting ground for Balding
Hamilton Park would be low on the list of most visited tracks by trainer Andrew Balding, but he had a winner with his sole runner there on Sunday thanks to Soldier To Follow – a horse that took his course record to seven winners from 22 representatives at a very healthy strike-rate of 32 per cent.
One of those victories was attained by 625,000gns purchase Happy Power, a grey Dark Angel colt that got off the mark for his career in good style the last time he visited Hamilton on August 21.
The official going description that day was ‘Good’, but Graham Lee, who rode Happy Power, got off the winner and reported it to be ‘Soft’, just as the beaten jockeys did as well. A going change to ‘Good to Soft’ was made, but it sounds like it rode softer than that.
That matters because Happy Power will bid to defy a penalty in the Les Hoey MBE Dreammaker Foundation EBF Novice Stakes at Hamilton on Monday, and with plenty of recent rain at the track it’s going be testing – and hard work, as well, carrying 6lb more than the majority of your rivals.
Judging by his near three-length winner at Hamilton last time, though, he’s up to it. The runner-up, Triple Distilled, franked the form by winning at Carlisle subsequently, so Balding could well improve his already good numbers at the track.
And we know Happy Power should handle the ground.
2. Crouch and Bin Suroor a team worth noting at Leicester
Hector Crouch had a wonderful weekend thanks to Snazzy Jazzy and his William Hill Ayr Silver Cup romp, but he might have a magical Monday as well when he links up with Saeed bin Suroor at Leicester.
The duo have teamed up to great effect in 2018, linking up 20 times this year and recording eight victories together at an eye-popping strike-rate of 40 per cent.
So it’s with great interest that this trainer and jockey combination team up with two runners at Leicester on Monday afternoon, starting with Global Hero in the British Stallion Studs EBF Kegworth Novice Stakes (2.20).
This Dubawi colt made a good impression at Salisbury on debut 18 days ago, coming from off the gallop despite the lack of a strong pace to win by over a length from Chatham House, a horse having his third run.
That gives hope he can defy a penalty and kick-off a Crouch/SBS double ahead of Forest View’s run in the Breeders Backing Racing EBF Novice Stakes at 4.20.
This Teofilo filly hasn’t been seen for 108 days, since her debut at Haydock in June where she was beaten just over a length in fourth after racing keenly.
Still, that’s a standout piece of form in this company, so she could well be another winner for this red-hot jockey and trainer combination.
3. Polybius – is today the day?
It’s 1,120 days since Polybius last got his head in front but is today, Monday September 24, the day he finally records his fifth career success?
He runs in the Matchbook Casino Handicap at Kempton at 4.40 and plenty is in his favour as he arrives in great form and he’s clearly well handicapped.
Rated 108 at his very best, he runs off 89 on Monday and he almost took advantage of that mark when running a neck second to Mazzini at Yarmouth last Thursday.
The handicapper hasn’t had time to react, so he looks at least a few pounds well in on that Yamourth form, and he has won at Kempton before – off a 5lb higher mark.
His fifth at Goodwood on August 24 was franked in some style on Saturday when Baron Bolt won the Ayr Gold Cup, Snazzy Jazzy won the Ayr Silver Cup and Boy In The Bar won at Chelmsford, three horses that finished around him that day in Sussex.
Andrea Atzeni rides him for the first time and he has a good 20 per cent strike-rate for David Simcock, so the stars might just have aligned for Polybius, going for his first win for his ‘new’ yard at the 18th attempt.
4. Gosden sends just one to Newcastle alert
It’s easy to forget John Gosden’s scathing criticism of Newcastle’s Tapeta transformation considering just how much prizemoney he’s plundered from the track since the surface switch.
A huge opponent of the turf ditching at the time, Gosden has since backtracked in style and is clearly a big fan now considering there isn’t a track in the country where he has a better strike-rate (where he’s had more than 20 runners, anyway).
On the Newcastle all-weather surface Gosden has had 23 winners from 62 runners at 37 per cent and he sends just one horse to the track for Monday’s evening meeting – Turgenev in the Zencos Arcitectural/EBF British Stallions Studs Novice Stakes at 7.00.
This son of Dubawi ran in a good maiden at Doncaster’s St Leger meeting on debut, finishing best of the newcomers in second behind Godolphin’s Royal Marine and in front of stablemate Buffalo River.
If he kicks on from that he should be hard to beat, his entry in the Group One Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes at Doncaster perhaps an indication to the regard in which he is held.