Welcome to my very first StanJames.com blog; I’m delighted to be the StanJames.com ambassador for the 2016 flat turf season and with over 240 horses under my care, hopefully we can find a few winners among them!
Despite it being such a wet winter it hasn’t stopped us getting plenty of our horses on the grass as I like to get the two-year-olds on nice and early in March so they have seen it. At the moment it is too wet to work on but they’ve all had a good look and have plenty of experience which should put them in good stead for the early part of the season. We’ve already had three Juvenile runners plus a couple of winners and places so most of mine are pretty straight going into the Craven meeting which kicks off tomorrow.
TUESDAY - NEWMARKET
Seven runners represent the stable tomorrow and TABARRAK takes on CHIEF WHIP in the Conditions Stakes at 2:45pm and I really like Paul Hanagan’s mount. He has his first run over 7f but is entered in the 2000 Guineas and I think he’s a very nice horse. I have to run Chief Whip in a race like this because the Handicapper won’t give him a rating so pretty much my hands are tied.
I don’t think PERFORMER will run now as the ground is likely to be too soft and it could be a similar story for ILLUMINATE who won’t run in the Nell Gwynn if there is any more rain. She’s obviously got a great chance on her 2-y-o form but a watching brief is advised.
The Fielden Stakes at 3:55pm has cut up lovely and VENTURA STORM faces just four other runners. He was highly tried as a Juvenile when finishing 10th in the G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (although only beaten five lengths after not getting a great run around) so hopefully he’ll get some compensation tomorrow because I think he is definitely up to Listed class if not better.
WEDNESDAY - NEWMARKET
TOMILY, a son of Canford Cliffs, runs on Wednesday in the Novice Stakes (3:45pm) and is a horse I really like. I thought he’d go close last time but he didn’t get the run of the race when second on the All Weather at Kempton but he gets 9lbs off the top weight here so should have a very good chance.
The Free Handicap (3:55) is always a nice prize to win and, probably due to the ground, is another race that has cut up so I run the filly GREAT PAGE who has already won a Group Three and doesn’t get a penalty for that success so she’s potentially well treated therefore this is the obvious race for her. She also likes soft ground which will be a bonus!
THURSDAY - NEWMARKET
We haven’t declared for Thursday yet but it looks likely that STEEL OF MADRID and TONY CURTIS will go in the Craven, which the Hannons have won for the last four consecutive years so we have to maintain our great record!
Tony Curtis has been working really well while Steel Of Madrid is unexposed and hasn’t had many races but seems to save his best for the track. In all honesty there wouldn’t be a lot between them; they’re both very nice horses. Steel was very unlucky when finishing fast and late on the All Weather last time but is improving and Tony Curtis already has solid form in the book.
Best chance of a winner at the Craven Meeting? TOMILY in the 2:45pm on Wednesday!
I’ll be back with my second Stanjames.com blog on Friday evening where more Classic Trials take place at Newbury with the Greenham and the Fred Darling Stakes take centre stage, plus I have a very good two-year-old I’m looking forward to running – more about that on Friday!