Racing was once again under the spotlight for all the wrong reasons this week with the Godolphin scandal. Trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni has had an eight year ban thrust upon him for the illegal use of steroids in his horses, which clearly goes to show that all the money backing in the world does not make any difference. The pressure upon trainers to perform is always going to mean that temptation will be strong to sail as close to the wind as possible, however this is a blatant disregard for the rules of the sport, and sadly the integrity of British horse racing has to suffer another blow. One thing it does strengthen though, and that is the credentials of every other trainer who plays by the book. True success will only ever come from hard work and dedication and in that respect British racing still has some of the finest ambassadors of the sport in the world.
On a positive note we have had another cracking week of racing including some fantastic action from Punchestown. We once again got to see Sprinter Sacre race, he was not quite as spectacular this time around but still managed to get the job done in decent fashion, and after his Irish success he has now emulated the great Istabraq who before now was the last horse to do the Cheltenham, Aintree and Punchestown treble.
Previous eye catcher Quincy Des Pictons ran this week and won at 8/1, and this week’s notebook selections should be worth following on their next couple of starts.
Imperial Djay ( Trainer – Ruth Carr )
Ran at Haydock last night and finished dead last of eleven runners. The seven furlongs on that course was hardly going to play to his strengths though, and this fella is becoming dangerously well treated. He wants a mile in my opinion or if going over seven furlongs then a very decent pace to aim at. He usually manages to string a couple of wins together at this time of year and his handicap mark would suggest he will be striking soon.
Highland Castle ( Trainer – David Elsworth )
Had his first run of the season yesterday at Ripon and finished fourth. However this fella was doing his best work at the finish and met plenty of traffic at the crucial time. He looks one to keep on side over trips of 1m2f – 1m 6f, and I reckon he could have a very good race in him soon enough.
Before I leave you for another week, I have a selection for today at Huntingdon. It comes in the 17:05 and the horse under the spotlight is the vastly improving Galway Jack, who after trouncing his opposition on his last two outings, takes a marked step up in class. He has been raised 15lb for his last demolition job, but thanks to the 156 rated Junior heading the weights, our fella gets in with a nice saddle weight of just 10st 4lb. He was jumping noticeably out to his right LTO at Wetherby, so the transition back to a right handed track today may add to his chances considerably. Topham winner Triolo D’Alene is sure to be popular and warrants respect, but he has struggled to get this trip on two previous occasions albeit on testing ground, but he is short enough in the betting and offers no real value. Our fella has his toughest assignment to date here, but looks like a chaser on the upgrade, and has a lively chance of adding to his trainers already impressive strike rate at this venue, so at 15/2 with Bet Victor as I write, he looks a solid e/w bet.
Huntingdon 17:05 Galway Jack – Strong e/w currently 15/2 with Bet Victor
Until next week,