David Ord highlights three things to look out for in the racing world on Monday, including potentially a good afternoon for Andrea Atzeni in Yorkshire.
SIX OF THE BEST FOR ATZENI
Andrea Atzeni strikes as being a level-headed guy – but even so the 11th hour decision that he couldn’t ride at QIPCO British Champions Day must have hit hard. It cost the affable Italian a winner too with Sharjah Bridge landing the Balmoral.
There’s no better way to get over the frustration though than... heading north up the A1 for the final card of the season at Pontefract – and he could very easily leave with a treble or better from six good rides.
The well-drawn Tony Chesnut has a chance an open nursery at 2.00 while stablemate Deja showed tremendous resolution to win at Chester on her reappearance and is the unexposed runner in the Watch More With Racing UK Extra Handicap.
The feature Silver Tankard Stakes is a tight heat but Atzeni’s mount Three Comets ticks plenty of boxes. Roger Varian’s charge cost a cool 525,000 guineas a yearling and took another step forward when chasing home the battle-hardened Persian Moon at Epsom last time.
This more conventional track – and easier ground – are significant plus points and he could easily improve past the solid yardstick I’ll Have Another. Manuela De Vega impressed on her Salisbury debut and is a danger.
Imaginative is up next in division one of the Racing UK On Sky Channel 426 Maiden Stakes and has Gift Of Gold to beat. Atzeni’s mount is more battle-hardened than his rival though and emerged with plenty of credit when finishing second from a mark of 79 in a Nottingham handicap last time.
Division two won’t take as much winning – which is good news for the jockey as Beer With The Boys is now thoroughly exposed and a BHA mark of 68 looks about right. He might be good enough to win this though.
Finally there’s So Near So Farhh in the Jamaican Flight Handicap. Her hat-trick bid was thwarted by Bodacious Name here last time but that race didn’t fall right for Mick Channon’s charge who remains on a workable mark.
Six rides, six chances. Could be some day for Atzeni. It won’ t make up for the Saturday setback… but every little helps.
KEEP AN EYE ON STOUTE PROJECT
While the nation basked in the record-breaking summer sunshine, trainers up and down the land were forced to apply the brakes on their later-maturing two-year-olds.
Prep work on unsuitably fast ground was never going to be an option so they sat and waited. As a result the autumn maidens will be of even more interest than usual – particularly on the all-weather surfaces.
Get those My Stable trackers at the ready…
Monday’s 32Red.com Novice Stakes at Kempton is just one of them – not least because it features a son of 1000 Guineas and Irish and Yorkshire Oaks heroine Blue Bunting. Blue Mountain is his name but while he’s shown ability in two starts at Chester and this track, he doesn’t look a chip off the old block.
He might still be able to win this but a more interesting long-term prospect is London Eye. He’s Coolmore owned, trained by Sir Michael Stoute and a son of Australia from a Grade One family in America. Not a bad start in life.
He made a promising debut at Newbury, travelling well until tiring over a furlong out in very testing ground. Our Catching Pigeons Newmarket work-watcher noted him stretching out well last week and he looked to have taken a big step forward, both physically and mentally, from the first start.
This surface will suit and expect a big run here before he’s put away and given time to develop into his frame. Here’s one to get in your tracker now ahead of 2019.
CHANGE OF PLAN WITH VANITEUX
When connections parted with 125,000 guineas for Vaniteux at the 2017 Goffs Horses In Training Sales you could understand the thinking.
Saturday horses aren’t cheap and here was a gelding who had appeared at the last four Cheltenham Festivals, running in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, Unibet Champion Hurdle, Racing Post Arkle and Ryanair Chase.
He brought a chase rating of 158 to the sales ring and while not a prolific winner, struck as a “fun horse” – albeit an expensive one, a gelding to take his owners to the big meetings.
Fast forward 18 months and he heads to Plumpton under top weight in the SIS Supports Moorcroft Handicap Hurdle.
It’s not as if there haven’t been flickers of life for the new team; he was a fine second in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton in December for example. But recent evidence of his capabilities, shall we say, are a little thin.
Last of five at Kelso on his latest start, he’d appeared not to stay this three mile trip at Perth the time before.
But he tries it again here – over hurdles for the first time since finishing third behind Ptit Zig and Silsol in the Grade One bet365 Select Hurle at Sandown in April 2016.
In his peak he’d have been able to give these a two-hurdle start from a mark of 128. On Monday just showing there's still an appetite for the game will do.