Opening Batsman will once again be asked to defy a career high mark to defeat the field in this 2m6f handicap down at Fontwell. With Grand National winning jockey Ryan Mahon on board, he still has every chance. There are notable dangers in the race but the horse has a nearly 50% record of at least placing in chase contests. The 6 runners isn’t perfect from a punting perspective, however, so the selection will have to be punted to win, something well within his scope.
Fruity O’Rooney has been a grand old stick and at the age of 12 keeps plugging away in the manner of the trainer and the trainer’s family. He is getting 10lbs from the selection and that will naturally be a big help but he may just beginning to run out of steam, and despite being at his favoured track on his preferred ground, this may just be beyond him.
Finally we look at another French recruit for Champion-in-waiting trainer Paul Nicholls who brings Valco de Touzaine to the course. The horse has not really flourished recently but it would just be another piece of good placing if he were to get his head in front.
Opening Batsman (WIN)
Winters Moon comes here with by far the highest rating in this 1m2f conditions stakes. James Doyle is on the Godolphin filly and will likely go off a short price favourite here. She has been keeping some fairly decent company since her maiden success over the Rowley Mile back in June of last year and has only once figured in the money since then. Yet, on breeding alone you would think this would be a cracking chance of getting another win notched up.
Her main rival in this race could come from Ooty Hill who has only had one run under Andrea Atzeni. Ryan Moore takes the ride this time and further improvement could well be within scope as only connections will truly know what the filly is capable of. I am willing to take that one run on the bare form and for that reason I fancy her to follow up here on a course that will be helpful to any sort of greenness (Newmarket’s undulations and dip can knock a young one out of their stride)
In fact the race is quite trappy and there is a case to be made for nearly all in this. Of the remainder, Star of Seville could be anything but the selection remains Ooty Hill.
Ooty Hill (WIN)
There is a decent sized field entered for this handicap over 7f at Newbury and one which immediately catches the eye is the Paul Hanagan ridden Mujassam. The horse is a course and distance winner and the Fahey team are in cracking form at present. The jockey was turned over on short priced Faydhan on Wednesday and isn’t perhaps in the best form of his career but this horse represents an excellent opportunity to click into form. The ground could be a concern, however and her sole win to date was on soft ground. With the ground likely to be at least good, a statutory check on the market may be the order of the day; any confidence should be noted.
The highest rated horse is Strong Chemistry trained by Charlie Appleby, a Godolphin filly. This partnership have an excellent strike rate when they team up and it would be no surprise to see her figure here again. Two strong runs at Kempton were followed by a slightly disappointing run at Newmarket last October but she should run well in this company.
Capel Path and Archie are another two who took my eye on the card and both be fancied to run big races here with both coming into the contest off wins last time out.