A trio from the UK and Dubai today from our racing expert.
MY OLD GOLD (NAP) (best price 5-4) showed admiral battling qualities to score on her chasing debut at Wetherby and she’s strongly fancied to uphold the form with Blue Flight and continue the excellent record of her stable at present. A useful 123-rated hurdler, it may have seen a little late in the day to send the nine-year-old mare over fences, but as she’s a lightly-raced sort and she came from a background of point-to-points, there was some cause for optimism – and so it proved. Always going well at the Yorkshire venue, the daughter of Gold Well led on the approach to the last and despite making a notable error, she still had enough left in her tank to repel the challenge of her nearest pursuers. Looking at the time figures she posted and they make pretty viewing as well and with today’s conditions fairly similar to what they were 41 days ago, she can continue her progression over fences.
As we’ve seen so many times on the dirt over in Dubai, a good draw, a smart break resulting in the ideal early track position are the key ingredients to success, whereas if you miss the kick and lose your pose, it can easily result in a horse being beaten an unfathomable distance of ground. Unfortunately, the latter scenario panned out for HEAVY METAL (best price 5-2) here last time out and, as a result, he ended up running miles below his best form. He does, however, have a golden opportunity to bounce back to his very best and providing he hits the lids and gets to the front crossing the intersection, he should prove very hard to beat. A real bully on the dirt when allowed to dictate, the son of Exceed and Excel could never dominate in the manner he’s been accustom over the last few seasons out in the desert, as the other front-running powerhouse, North America, beat him to the punch, and from a long way out it was quite clear that the nine-year-old was always going to be fighting a losing battle. Heavily eased once his chance had gone, the margin of defeat was extenuated to such an extent that he ended up getting beat by upwards of 40 lengths, but those kind of numbers can easily be racked up once the gas is turned off on this surface. On the four times he scored here over the C&D last season, he was in front after a furlong, so providing his regular pilot can get his mount to exit the gates in an orderly fashion, the combination should easily be capable of dominating this field.
BULLFROG (best price 3-1) shaped with tons of promise in a hot novice event at Sandown last time out and with the potential of even more to come now she’s got that run under her belt, Gary Moore’s mare is entitled to maximum respect back amongst her own sex. A game winner of a bumper on the all-weather at Lingfield in November 2017, the fact the daughter of Jeremy was surprisingly easy to back on hurdling debut at the Esher venue tells you the sort of task she faced that day, but despite the strength of competition and seeming lack of confidence, she looked one of the likeliest winners going down to the second last. From that point onwards, however, the six-year-old just began to tire as lack of an outing for 445 days and the soft ground became her enemies and in the end, she had to settle for an honourable third behind the smart Winston C. Whether she’s had sufficient time to recover from that tough test is obviously open to question, but hailing from a yard that surely wouldn’t want to be taking too many risks with such a nice prospect, she’s given a vote of confidence to back up that excellent first outing.