As we move into Royal Ascot week the superstars of the racing game will get full coverage in the press. I will take the chance to give a mention to some of the sport’s lesser lights.
The other week I mentioned the retirement of Peeress and Dancing Bay. I see that old Ionian Spring was also retired recently. “Onion” as he was nicknamed was a grand servant to his connections and he retired at the age of 12 having won 12 times. He also bowed out on a high, winning his last ever start on the 15th February 2007 at Southwell, his first win having come back in August 1998.
Gilded Cove would have to go into the “lesser lights” category but I have always had a soft spot for him, partly I suppose because he only has one eye. He has notched up 12 wins on the all weather over the years, 10 of them coming at Wolverhampton where he is a standing dish. The other day he won his first race on turf, at the age of 7, at Bath, beating another old favourite, Harrison’s Flyer, by a neck. Harrison’s Flyer is one of those horses that always seems to win at a decent price. Among his 8 successes he has won at 25s and 16s and his shortest winning odds are 3/1. He has paid for his keep over the years as apart from the races he has won he has also been 2nd 7 times and 3rd on 8 occasions.
It wouldn’t be fair to call Machinist a lesser light really as he is a former winner of an Ascot Heritage handicap as well as the Ayr Silver Cup. Anyhow, he is a horse whose career I have followed and I was pleased to see him win nicely over 6 furlongs last week at Hamilton. He is a half brother to Greek Renaissance, another horse to have figured in these pages in the past. Second in the Hamilton race was Trojan Flight who ran on late as he usually does. He needs the cards to fall right for him as he is a slow starter. He used to be trained by the Ramsdens but is now with Richard Fahey.
Looking back to Saturday Transcend looked the best chance of a winner from my list to follow but he was a big disappointment on ground that in theory should have been right for him. I did get a winner from the list courtesy of Black Rock who surprised me slightly by winning at Sandown. This race was virtually a match between Black Rock and the Godolphin runner Spring City. When they met before Spring City had come out on top but Black Rock did well to reverse the form. This demonstrates that form study is not an exact science.
I had hopes that either Cape or Swinbrook would land the 3.20 at Folkestone today but they managed to bump into each other and finished 5th and 6th respectively. Sakhee’s Secret kept the flag flying for my list to follow with a most impressive burst of acceleration to win at Salisbury. That was his 3rd win of the season which makes him the most successful “lister” along with another sprinter, Tax Free who is also on 3 wins for the season.
Turning to tomorrow’s cards I will start with Carlisle where former Ayr Gold Cup winner Funfair Wane runs in the 3.15. He is running off a mark of 57 having once won off 105.
I quite fancy Portal for the 8.45 at Warwick. She was a good 3rd on her comeback run and is a horse I like. The worry would be the going as ideally I think she prefers fast ground.
There are two runners from our list to follow in the 8.05 at Windsor, Imperial Gain and Fisberry. Both have a bit to prove after below par recent efforts but both come from stables that know the time of day when it comes to sprinters.
In the 9.05 Ballet Boy is potentially well handicapped for Sir Mark Prescott.