Das­combe dream­ing of win­ter won­der­land for Junoob

The Herald - Herald Sport - - Racing - WHITE AND GOLD

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

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