Dascombe dreaming of winter wonderland for Junoob
JUNOOB can take his game to the next level by winning the Blue Square Winter Derby at Lingfield.
Discar ded from John Dunlop’s yard for just 3500 guineas at the end of last year, Amy Weaver snapped him up at the sales and subsequently enjoyed two wins in claiming c o mpa n y before To m Dascombe swooped.
Bought for £12,000, Junoob immediately paid back a fraction of that by finishing second in Listed company before landing a handicap event next time out. The fouryear-old then turned in a slightly disappointing effort but there was much to like about his victory in the Winter Derby Trial.
Dascombe put the blinkers on that day and they seemed to work the oracle as Junoob emerged a comfortable victor.
Junoob has an excellent turn of pace to employ and that, allied to a favourable draw, should see things pan out in his favour.
Oasis Dancer was perhaps not quite at his best when winning at this track last time, but he can return to top form in the Get Your Bet On At Blue Square Hever Sprint Stakes.
The five-year-old has shone over six furlongs during the winter, notching up three wins on the bounce, most recently when prevailing by a head in a Listed affair.
That victory has to go down as a little lacklustre though as Fratellino, who had previously been two lengths adrift, was only half a length behind that day despite racing off more unfavourable terms. Oasis Dancer must concede 3lb to that rival this time but Ralph Beckett is sure to have him primed for an improved effort.
Kickingthelillyhasimproved in leaps and bounds this term and can seal her progression with victory in the bluesquare. com Spring Cup.
Out of luck on her first three starts, Rae Guest’s filly came of age when winning at Southwell last month and has since gone in twice more.
Improving 13lb in the process, Kickingthelilly looks to be on a steep upward curve and while she faces her toughest test to date, she still looks pretty unexposed.
A number of Cheltenham Festival participants make a swift return to action this weekend, not least Kentford Grey Lady in the EBF Ultima Business Solutions Mares’ “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle Finale at Newbury.
She finished just four lengths adrift of Festival queen Quevega in the Mares’ Hurdle last Tuesday after finding the early steady pace again her.
Meanwhile, the most open Flat jockeys’ championship title race for years has got bookmakers and punters baffled as to who will be crowned king in November.
Paul Hanagan, top dog for the last two years, is only fifthbest in some lists at a toppriced 6-1 as his first priority will be to cement his new post as retained jockey for Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum. Yet in other books there is barely a point between him and the rest of the top five of Ryan Moore, Kieren Fallon, Richard Hughes and Silvestre de Sousa.
“We’ve never known the betting for the jockeys’ title this close,” said Ladbrokes’ spokesman David Williams.
Coral spokesman David Stevens said: “It’s the most open for several years. Five jockeys all in single figures tells its own story.”
Tom Dascombe trains Junoob