Sport Horse Racing

Friday 27 April 2018

Inside Track: Majestic to be crowned queen

Tracey Collins' decision to send filly to Lingfield is worth noting

A muddy James Sullivan returns to the weigh-room after battling the elements at Chester yesterday
A muddy James Sullivan returns to the weigh-room after battling the elements at Chester yesterday
Trainer Nicky Henderson
Tom Scudamore riding Rathealy at Plumpton in February this year
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

The Ballydoyle juggernaut rolls on to Lingfield for today's two Classic trials. Ryan Moore is booked to ride Kilimanjaro and Wedding Vow, both of which are discussed below.

From a value point of view, though, two other Irish raiders are more interesting.

Tracey Collins saddles Majestic Queen in the seven-furlong fillies' Group Three. Ostensibly, this is wide-open, with 13 declared for duty and eight rated above 100.

Lightning Thunder boasts a mark of 111 after finishing second in the 1,000 Guineas and its Irish equivalent last year. She is a classy sort, but a hard race on soft ground at the Curragh left its mark, as she didn't live up to expectations at Royal Ascot or when dropped in class at Haydock in the autumn. At her best she should win this but she has something to prove.

Collins' decision to cross the water with Majestic Queen is significant.

The Curragh handler is a shrewd operator who doesn't waste boat trips. This year her only runner in England has been Captain Joy, which won at Lingfield in January before getting beaten half-a-length when third there in March.

Majestic Queen was her only runner there last year when third in a valuable fillies' handicap at Ascot. You have to go back to 2011 for her previous forays, with Chester winner Rock Jock among them.

Collins picks her targets and Majestic Queen has a live chance in today's Group Three. The Kheleyf five-year-old has progressed up the ranks admirably, going from winning a maiden on her juvenile bow at Dundalk to landing a Curragh handicap off a mark of 83 the following year.

She again scored on her Dundalk reappearance last year, before going on to win and be second in fillies' Group Threes at Leopardstown and Fairyhouse, respectively.

After that, she emerged with real credit when a close fourth at the Curragh behind Jamesie, Gordon Lord Byron and Hamza.

You can draw a line through her final start under a big weight in a handicap, and she ran a perfectly satisfactory race when keeping on at one pace behind Flight Risk in a Curragh Group Three on her return, when Smuggler's Cove finished just in front of her.

The chances are Majestic Queen will strip fitter now. If so, she will have a big say for William Buick.

The other raider of note is Ken Condon's Newsletter in the six-furlong Listed race at Nottingham. Spinatrix is the one to beat, but Newsletter has enormous scope for improvement on her seventh start.

Beaten less than a length when third to Anthem Alexander in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot, she kept on well after being tapped for toe on good ground over five furlongs on her recent Bath return.

Newsletter will be better suited by this trip on slow ground, so she is fancied to have a big say under Shane Foley.


Watching Brief...

Nicky Henderson sends Finian's Rainbow to Killarney tomorrow, and he also has Simonsig in there over hurdles on Monday.

He is considering another race at Ascot on Friday for the long-absent grey, with the Flat also on his agenda. It will be fascinating to see what Henderson elects to do with the nine-year-old, which suffered its only defeat in nine track starts when denied by Fingal Bay at Sandown in 2011.

As a winner of his one completed point-to-point earlier in 2011, it's remarkable to think that Henderson believes Simonsig could do a job on the Flat. Granted, his hand is being forced due to the horse's problems and a lack of opportunities, but the Lambourn handler does well with a select few on the level.

In recent years, he has won valuable races with Forgotten Voice, Ghimaar, Caracciola and Sentry Duty, so his endeavours in this sphere are of note.


Dark Horse

The market doesn't seem to rate Rathealy's chance in the Swinton Hurdle at Haydock.

He is undoubtedly stepping up in class for a two-miler that sees the Scottish Champion Hurdle hero Cheltenian top the weights. However, he is David Pipe's chosen representative, which isn't to be sniffed at given his stable's decent form.

A winner at Gowran Park for Kevin Prendergast, Rathealy progressed to win two of his last three hurdle starts, latterly at Warwick in March, when he had no right to do so after a last-flight blunder.

Seven pounds higher now, he is an improving four-year-old that looks overpriced at 16/1.


Lay Of The Day

Paddy Power was last night priced up as a clear favourite at 6/4 and 13/8 for this afternoon's Ascot juvenile maiden.

Richard Fahey's two-year-olds have been running well, but not to the extent that Paddy Power appeals on his debut in a race that three of the four that have run have shown promise. The 80,000gns son of Pivotal also faces opposition from newcomers from other decent stables.


A Little Each Way

Edeymi flopped when fancied for Cheltenham's Pertemps Final. Bryan Cooper dropped him out and they never got a clear run to get into the race properly. Edeymi has since been second over fences at Fairyhouse, and the suspicion remains that he is favourably handicapped.

Tony Martin has identified the Long Distance Handicap Hurdle at Haydock as a viable target so he appeals as an each-way option at around 6/1 in a 10-runner race.

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