Huddersfield Daily Examiner

Improved Bangkok can take Classic trial


BANGKOK has been one of the talking horses of the early days of this Flat season - and can continue his progressio­n in the bet365 Classic Trial at Sandown.

Andrew Balding, who has started the new campaign in red-hot form, thought highly of the son of Australia last term - but he was unable to break his maiden in three attempts.

Second on debut at Newmarket, Bangkok had the misfortune of bumping into Dewhurst fourth Sangarius.

While his other two races were won by nice types in Prince Eiji and Kick On, he did not appear to be improving.

However, with a winter on his back, he looked a different propositio­n at Doncaster, pulling well clear of some well-bred three-year-olds along with runner-up Telecaster to win well.

There was nine lengths back to the third, and the fourth won next time out.

Telecaster, of course, has since been to Windsor to win his own maiden by a yawning nine lengths - suggesting they are two smart colts.

Crystal Ocean should make a winning return to action in the bet365 Gordon Richards Stakes.

Sir Michael Stoute has an unequalled record in the race, having won it nine times previously - including with this horse 12 months ago.

It was not easy a year ago when Crystal Ocean scrambled home by a short head from Fabricate - whom, the ratings suggested, he should have been well clear of.

But knowing Stoute’s methods, he would have left plenty to work on then.

The same may well be true again. But Crystal Ocean could be even better this year, like so many at Freemason Lodge who have improved with age.

Balding and Silvestre de Sousa can also strike in the Esher Cup with Fox Leicester.

Since De Sousa signed up as retained rider for King Power Racing, he has been unstoppabl­e - but of course these winners will not help him retain his champion jockey title, which does not begin until the Guineas meeting.

Fox Leicester ran well in three maidens last year before breaking his duck at Chelmsford by three lengths last month, and his subsequent mark of 81 appears a fine starting point.

Roger Varian’s Sharja Bridge was impressive at Doncaster, and he is likely to take the beating in the bet365 Mile.

While it is fair step up in class from a Listed race to a Group Two, he looked to have improved from four to five and may develop into a high-class miler this year.

Carnwennan ended last season in good form for Charlie Fellowes and can pick up where he left off in the Watch Sky Sports Racing Virgin 535 Handicap at Doncaster.

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