First things first and a Happy Easter to you all but do spare a thought for all the jockeys around the World who have to give the old chocolate eggs a miss every year to keep their weight down for their careers and the sport we all love.
I was all ready to write this a day early this week to add my tips for the All-Weather Championships from Lingfield, my local course, by the way, but the two I fancied the most were forecast odds-on so I declined that option and decided to report on the results after the event instead.
In some ways what a wise move that was with the biggest shock on the card the comfortable defeat of 1/3 shot Wissahickon in the Middle Distance Championships. Hats off to the excellent, and media friendly, Mark Johnston for training the winner but I cannot pretend I would have tipped anything other than the jolly, so that was was a bullet missed.
Talking of bullets, how fast did Kachy break from the stalls before hacking up in the six furlong sprint. I honestly cannot remember a horse getting out of the stalls as fast as that perhaps ever and those who took the 4/9 odds knew they were on the winner by the end of the first furlong.
One other horse to mention and Archie Watson’s Lady Kermit was backed as if defeat was out of the question before scoring at Newcastle. Always odds on form first thing in the morning that did not stop her supporters who are braver than me, piling in at any odds available and sending her off the 1/4 favourite. But she is clearly pretty special and you will see how important that is if you read to the end of this article.
Looking ahead and it is a bit of a lull this weekend, lots of racing but nothing all that exciting to be honest. At least Kempton have some decent racing to look out for, although I will never comprehend how they were allowed to switch the races form turf to all weather with barely a murmur, headed by the Listed class Snowdrop Fillies’ Stakes at 3.45pm UK time.
According to the official ratings it is a two-horse race with the only pair rated over 100 having a considerable advantage, Anna Nerium and Agrotera, but life is rarely that simple and there are a few improving sorts who could yet shake up the likely market leaders.
James Fanshawe won this in 2012 and 2014 and has Tiger Eye entered here looking for a four-timer after two novice wins and a Class Three handicap and she could well find the improvement needed to take a hand while Roger Varian has had plenty of winners in the last week and will expect a big run from Contrive as she also steps up from handicap company.
Neither are easily dismissed but I did add Astonished to my little black book when she won over course and distance on her debut and again when third at Newcastle last time out. A daughter of Sea The Stars she should stay further than this and if they go off at a frantic pace from the off, she can run on through tiring horses to hit the places at a big price with any luck.
She will be my only bet over the weekend, but only because I have one for you on Tuesday at Yarmouth, as things stand. Last week I was lucky enough to visit the Archie Watson yard in Upper Lambourn and I think we may be talking about a champion trainer of the future given the right ammunition to fire, of course.
He seems totally focussed on the task ahead and admits that training winners is what he is all about, you would be horrified to know how many trainers are just after the money or the kudos, and after a flying start with his juveniles everything in the garden seems rosy enough.
After discussing the major players from his yard ahead of All-Weather Champions day (see above), my ears picked up when he told us about an unraced two-year-old who was working well with two precious winners, one of which broke the juvenile course record at Lingfield. Step forward Endless Joy, a daughter of Showcasing out of a Dansili mare who may yet prove to be very well bought at 90,000 Guineas as a yearling.
She is currently all set for the 2.00pm at Yarmouth Tuesday afternoon, do remember race times can change, and as that has been the plan for some time now, I will be backing her on debut in the hope that her inexperience is not her undoing.
Astonished Each Way 3.45pm Kempton Saturday
Endless Joy 2.00pm Yarmouth Tuesday
Have a good week everyone and fingers crossed.