Classic Observations

April 21st, 2017 | Marten's Current Racing Diary

There were Classic clues aplenty at Newmarket this week and this afternoon at Newbury.

I realised that John Gosden had a host of talented three-year-olds when writing my Dark Horses Annual a few weeks ago and after a sluggish start things have moved into gear for him this week.

He was high in his praise for Shutter Speed after she won a Yarmouth maiden last season but that was an ordinary race and today she was up against a small but select field of colts, notably the 110-rated Raheen House and Hughie Morrison’s well-regarded Temple Church. Shutter Speed showed a hint of a turn of foot here after taking the lead two furlongs out, coming home two and a half lengths ahead of Raheen House with the winner’s stable-companion Enable a head away in third.

As I have written in the Dark Horses, I am not convinced that the winner will stay the mile and a half of the Oaks with a dam by Oasis Dream. By contrast the third Enable is bred to relish middle distances. The trainer said afterwards that the winner could go to York for the Musidora and Enable tackle the Cheshire Oaks. Mind you, he still has other potential Oaks fillies to place, including Coronet, Astronomy’s Choice and Gracious Diana, who won the next race on today’s card.

Of the others, Temple Church travelled well for a long way but he needs a longer trip and, probably, softer ground. Watch out for him in the autumn.

Take note of Roger Charlton’s Princess de Lune, who won the last race on the card. The imposing grey was all arms and legs but she had shown plenty of class in her work at home and she won this in a time almost three seconds faster than the first division. She is heading for black type.

I had two Premier List horses running in the 7f handicap, Chessman and Pivoine. I thought Chessman would win, based on the evidence of his hugely impressive maiden win at Kempton in November, but he didn’t pick up as I expected and was held close home by the top-weight Bacchus.

Keep Pivoine high on your list of horses to follow.

The son of Redoute’s Choice is bred to stay middle distances, so it was interesting to see him dropped back to seven furlongs having won over a mile in October. Entered for the Derby, it seems to me that Sir Michael Stoute is trying to protect the colt’s handicap mark. After being outpaced for much of the way he picked up eye-catchingly in the final furlong. This was an intriguing piece of placing.

To close, I gather Talaayeb did a most encouraging piece of work at Newmarket this week. The filly went with one of the best work horses in the yard and was ridden by Richard Hills, who is one of the shrewdest judges in the business, and he could not believe how well the filly picked him up and went away. The daughter of Dansili showed a sharp turn of foot to win her maiden last season and a good run at Newmarket will set her up for the Oaks over a trip she is bred to suit.

These are exciting times so keep in touch with my thoughts on 0906 150 1555 where, as always, my selections are given in the first minute of the message.

Bye for now