With the Cheltenham Festival and Grand National meeting behind us attention now turns to flat racing in Great Britain and Ireland. The season on this side of the Irish Seas is still in its early stages but the first two Classics of the season take place in just three weeks and the Bet Enthusiast service will be looking to identify some leading contenders.
The fixture list is structured in Britain in such a way that there is a disjointed start to the turf season. The Lincoln marks the first weekend of the season but then the racing is no more than ordinary before the Craven meeting at Newmarket. The season in Ireland has already seen more two year old races and the better three olds will soon be running in trials for the Classics in both countries.
The Bet Enthusiast service is taking special note of horses trained in Ireland who will be running in the Classics. Some of the leading trainers have already indicated which of their three year olds are most likely to be their best prospects for the season with the Classics in mind.
It is a strange feature of the British Flat season that four of the five Classics are run in just over the first two months of the season. By the first week in June the two Guineas, the Derby and the Oaks have all taken place which just leaves the St Leger at Doncaster in September.
Last season Camelot tried to win the Triple Crown but came up short in the St Leger. The horse won the 2000 Guineas and Derby but was beaten by Encke in the final Classic of the season. There is unlikely to be a bid this season as the leading three year old in training. Dawn Approach, is not bred to stay in one mile four furlongs of the Derby and is most unlikely to be aimed at the St Leger, run over a distance of two more furlongs.
When attending a Cheltenham preview night we were advised that Zand is held in high regard by its Irish trainer, John Oxx. The horse created a good impression when winning a race at Leopardstown last season and connections feel the horse can make an inpact over middle distances. Zand appears in some lists for the English Derby and looks a good each way opportunity at 33/1 and greater.
The horse’s potential will be more obvious after a run in a major Derby trial in Ireland. According to the trainer the horse wintered well but had an abscess on a foot recently and it was slow to respond to treatment. The trainer is looking to have him ready for the Derrinstwon Stud Derby Trial next month after which he may run in the English Derby or Irish equivalent.
Roger Varian is an English trainer whose career is on an upward curve. Last season he had most winners in non-handicaps for three olds. Ribaat comes into that category and the trainer reports he will be ready to run at Newmarket at the Craven meeting. The horse is entered in the 2000 Guineas but the trainer believes a good trial is required before any decision is made about running in that Classic.
Back next Friday.