Much of the attention will be firmly focused on the end of the jumps season on Saturday but there is still a really good card at Sandown on Friday and I think we have some very good chances.
CHIEF WHIP represents us in the Esher Cup at 1:20pm and steps into this company for the first time. He has been working very well and is a horse we really like who won very comfortably on his racecourse debut at the track last July. I did have him entered in a Conditions race last week but the Handicapper gave him a mark (86) so we decided to come here instead. Owned by John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith and ridden by Ryan Moore, he’s having his first run of the season but I think he’s really well treated and I fancy him a lot. There’s no doubt he is very talented and will be quite useful.
PALAWAN was withdrawn from the Greenham on Saturday due to a pricked foot but is fine now and runs in the Classic Trial at 2:20pm. He has a little bit to do and is trying this trip for the first time so we’ll just wait and see how he fares, but he’s in good form.
We’ve won the G2 Mile race five times in the last ten years including with the brilliant Paco Boy twice; this year TOORMORE flies the flag for the stable and has been working really well.
He’s a horse who does very little at home so I take him away to work and he did a brilliant piece last week, to be honest, it was as good as he’s ever done.
He has a 3lbs penalty for his Group Two win last season and it’s his first run of the year which makes him quite dangerous punting-wise but I think he’s going to run a really big race. His performance in Hong Kong in December was okay but I think he’d had enough by then so you can draw a line through that effort. I need to get prep into him as the Lockinge next month is the main objective with him.
ALTERSHEED and PARIS PROTOCOOL are two very nice horses who go in the Handicap at 5:05pm and are both stepping up in trip. PARIS PROTOCOOL has his first run in this grade while the Sheikh Hamdan horse was third in a Handicap at Chelmsford but returns to the turf here.
While everyone will be at Sandown for the last day of the jumps season, I’ll be at Leicester to saddle a couple in the Listed contest at 4:00pm. COULTSY won the corresponding race last year and ran really well when third, only beaten a few lengths, in the Abernant Stakes at the Craven meeting behind Magical Memory which should have put him spot on for this. Funnily enough he races from the same stall, 5, as twelve months ago so that could be a good omen!
PRIMROSE PLACE, in the Maiden at 2:50pm, is by July Cup winner Compton Place and will come on for the experience.
We have a lovely horse running in the Mile Handicap at Doncaster (7:05pm) in the evening called TAQWAA who showed very good Maiden form last season and then got the job done nicely at Chepstow in August. I really like him and expect a good effort.
Best chance of a winner on Saturday? TAQWAA!
It was great that the BHA managed to get things organized to stage the Greenham meeting at Chelmsford on Saturday and it was great to see MARENKO bag the Fred Darling for us. She’s not in the Guineas but is a very smart filly to have in the yard and hopefully we’ll find something for her, perhaps the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot in June. She’s a lovely Cheveley Park homebred from the family of Russian Rhythm so if she can be half as good as her, we’ll be happy!
Looking further ahead, there are plenty of 2-year-olds who have been pleasing me at home and I run a nice horse called STERLING SILVER at Ascot on Wednesday and he could be one to keep an eye on.