Steps will be ready for this

April 30th, 2016 | Ian Carnaby's Racing News

It was good to see You’re Fired winning a valuable handicap at Haydock last week. Karl Burke is always worth following at this time of year and we chalked up an 11/1 winner. It was hard to follow up at Punchestown, where I did not bet all that intelligently and left out Nicky Henderson’s Cup Final in a fiercely competitive handicap hurdle on Thursday. People tend to put off by a ‘P’ alongside a horse’s name but things had simply not gone right for Cup Final the time before and he came right back to his best at 14/1 – several points longer during the morning.

The scenario at Newmarket on Saturday is much the same as in previous years in that Aidan O’Brien has a short-priced favourite in the Qipco 2000 Guineas and once again has been extolling the horse’s virtues. Air Force Blue may well justify cramped odds but there have to be dangers and they include Peter Chapple-Hyam’s Marcel, who has worked very well for Pat Smullen, and Stormy Antarctic, though he does not want the ground drying right out.

It is a pity that Emotionless misses the party but Sheikh Mohammed has a more than capable understudy in Buratino, who was very tough and consistent as a youngster and looks the one most likely to expose any flaws in the favourite’s make-up. I’d rather have him each-way than Air Force Blue to win but the race makes limited appeal as a betting medium.

The Pearl Bloodstock Palace House stakes is a routine Group 3 sprint with many of the participants likely to see plenty of each other over the coming months. Take Cover will probably take them along, though Justineo is also very fast away and may well take him on. This could possible help set the race up for STEPS, who looked a high-class handicapper for a long time but has made the grade as a Group-class sprinter at a late stage. These days trainers can have horses ready first time up and Roger Varian could hardly be in better form.

The Goodwood card looks tricky. It is safe to assume Richard Fahey’s RIGHT TOUCH is much better than we have seen so far this season and the trainer’s horses are always to be respected here. Right Tuch will benefit from his young rider’s 7lb claim and I shall save a few coins for him, although Fiftyshadesofgrey will make a bold bid to follow up last year’s victory and you might have a little each-way on the Tote on my friend George Materna’s CZECH IT OUT, who did not improve as last season went on but is the type to show his best form on his reappearance, especially at George’s favourite course.

Amanda Perrett won the last with his Open The Red twelve months ago and she is represented by Gabster and Nutbourne Lad this time. It hardly appeals as a ‘getting out’ contest but Gabster has bits and pieces of form to go close and Hector Crouch’s 5lb claim is a bonus.

The Coral Handicap Hurdle at Punchestown warrants plenty of attention and I shall do my best with it, though the latest news will have to wait until the line on Saturday morning.