Andrew Ayres with his latest batch of future winners
KEMPTON FEBRUARY 18 (STANDARD) 6f Handicap (Class 4) Hot contest
TRIPLE CHOCOLATE (Roger Ingram) looked in tremendous shape after a four month break and did well to score after having plenty to do at halfway. This late developer thrived last summer and, judged on this performance, will remain well treated off his revised mark (89). Triple Chocolate could be even more effective over 7f and will pay his way in smart handicap company.
WOLVERHAMPTON FEBRUARY 23 (STANDARD) 1m1f103y 3yo Maiden (Class 5) Uncompetitive race
MARTINIQUAISE (Mark Johnston) is a lengthy, raw looking filly from a decent middle-distance family. She did remarkably well to bustle-up the racesharp odds-on favourite Antiquarium, only giving best to that rival inside the final furlong. Martiniquaise went on to win an ordinary maiden in gritty style at Southwell on March 5 and has the makings of a fair handicapper.
LINGFIELD FEBRUARY 24 (STANDARD) 7f Maiden (Class 5) Ordinary form
HERCULLIAN PRINCE (Olly Stevens) was a size bigger than most of these and ran a cracker to finish third despite looking green and meeting trouble in running. This wasn’t a great contest but he’s got plenty of scope and will pick up an ordinary maiden before moving into handicaps.
KEMPTON FEBRUARY 25 (STANDARD) 1m3f Handicap (Class 4) Useful form
WILDES (Ian Williams) caught the eye when winning a Lingfield maiden last winter and looked in cracking order on this belated return to action. Green through the first half of the race, he was outpaced turning for home before staying on strongly to nab third, leaving the strong impression he was the best horse in this competitive field. His shrewd connections feel Wildes will be even more effective over farther and this promising sort should be followed closely.
LINGFIELD FEBRUARY 28 (STANDARD) 1m Maiden Fillies & Mares Above average race for the track
CLARENTINE (Ed Dunlop) looked a shade backward for this debut and was a massive eye-catcher running on steadily into fifth under a considerate ride from Joe Fanning.She hails from a decent family – dam was placed in Listed company over 1m2f – and will be a different proposition next time.
6f Handicap (Class 6) Modest contest
WAABEL (Heather Dalton) always carries condition but even by his standards was pretty tubby on this return from a threemonth break. Bearing that in mind, he shaped promisingly in fourth – would have finished slightly closer but for Shirley Teasdale dropping the reins – and will strip fitter next time. Connections have Waabel well treated off 53 and a Class 6 handicap should come his way soon.
2m Stakes (Class 2) Useful form
GOLD TRAIL (Charlie Appleby) has
looked in tremendous shape all winter and was the paddock pick again here.He adapted well to the step-up in trip and looked certain to score before being mugged close home by the well-backed outsider Hurricane Higgins. Gold Trail would probably have scored granted time to react to his rival’s late lunge and he will be a live player in the Marathon on AllWeather Championship Day (April 3).
WOLVERHAMPTON MARCH 2 (STANDARD) 1m1f103y 3yo Handicap (Class 5) Fair form
LOGORRHEIC (Ralph Beckett) is a strong, close-coupled individual who carries plenty of condition. He attracted heavy late support and did well to score decisively after running freely through the opening quarter-mile. There’s a slight kink in this gelding – he edged left and right under pressure – but he’s got plenty of ability and should score again.
LINGFIELD MARCH 4( STANDARD) 7f 3yo Maiden (Class 5) Above average contest
HAKAM (Charles Hills) cost $450,000 as a yearling. He’s not overly big but is wellmade and moved smoothly to post. Quickly into stride from a handy rails draw, he looked certain to score when edging ahead early in the straight but was out-battled close home by the more experienced Ventriloquist. There was no disgrace in this defeat – he would probably have won if ridden with slightly more restraint – and Hakam should develop into an above average colt.
PLUMPTON MARCH 9( GOOD-SOFT) 2m4f Novice Handicap Chase (Class 4) Impressive winner
JAY ARE (Gary Moore) was bursting with good health and landed some lumpy bets with an impressive success. He was running all over some ordinary rivals from halfway and is clearly better than this grade.Connections should pick up another handicap or two with him this spring.
CHELMSFORD CITY MARCH 12
(STANDARD) 5f Handicap (Class 3) Race run at a blistering gallop
TOP BOY (Derek Shaw) didn’t look revved up for this seasonal reappearance but still attracted plenty of late support. He was never sharp enough to keep tabs on the lightning fast front-runner Come On Dave, but was noted staying steadily into third. This will have blown away a few cobwebs and Top Boy can bag an early season handicap back on turf.
LINGFIELD MARCH 13 ( STANDARD) 1m 3yo Maiden (Class 5) Reasonable form
REVOLUTIONIST (Mark Johnston) is a mountain of a horse and attracted the sort of sustained support that could not be ignored. He didn’t look a natural on this downhill, turning track, but was always going to score once unwinding his giant stride in the straight. A 2l win greatly underplays Revolutionist’s superiority and he will develop into a decent handicapper over this trip and beyond.
LINGFIELD MARCH 14 (STANDARD) 7f 3yo Listed Stakes (Class 1) Competitive heat
FANCIFUL ANGEL (Marco Botti) had something to find on juvenile form but
has thrived physically over the winter and ran a personal best to finish third in a bunch finish. He’ll fall short of the best 3yo milers but has scope and should bag a Listed or Group 3 race somewhere this spring.
1m2f Group 3 (Class 1) Red-hot contest
TRYSTER (Charlie Appleby) continues to impress in the paddock and produced a tip-top performance to score readily after seeming to face mission impossible turning for home. This gelding has improved upwards of 20lbs through the winter and will be hard to beat in the Middle Distance Final back at Lingfield on April 3.
5f Listed Stakes (Class 1) Ultra-impressive winner
PRETEND (Charlie Appleby) is a superb physical specimen and quite simply one of the best-looking horses in training. His performances have finally started to reflect that impression and Pretend could hardly have been more impressive in picking-up and spitting-out this field under an ultra-confident Adam Kirby ride. He’s developing into a high class horse and must not be opposed in the Sprint Final here on April 3.
1m Handicap (Class 2) Useful form
BIG BAZ (William Muir) moved poorly when flopping here in January but was fluent to post this time and posted a decent effort to chase home the useful Lunar Deity. This king-sized gelding remains open to improvement - he’s equally effective on turf - and will surely win a race or two this term.