Johnny Ward: Lady Camelot can lord it at Doncaster
In between last night's Breeders' Cup curtain-raiser and the main fare this evening at Santa Anita, Doncaster stages its Flat finale and there is useful jumps racing at Aintree and Wincanton.
The weather has been such that the ground remains on the quick side at Doncaster, which is remarkable in itself but not as much as Taunton having to abandon on Thursday due to the ground having "hard" in its description.
Global warming appears to be influencing racing and trainers making long-term plans can probably bank on nothing any more weather-wise. Clearly, however, the main concern in British racing now is the welfare of Freddie Tylicki. The German-born rider, who spent time in Ireland with Dermot Weld and Jim Bolger, came out really badly in that horrible pile-up on Monday at Kempton. He is in everyone's thoughts and prayers.
John Gosden has not had many true stars run for him this season, though Journey looks to fit into that category if her Ascot victory is any indication. Her stablemate, Lady Of Camelot, is taken to snare the Betfred TV EBF Stallions Breeding Winners Gillies Fillies' Stakes.
This filly was put forward when she ran recently in the a Group Three at Newbury.
It looked as though the mile and a half would suit, it being over that trip that she chased Journey home in September; however, she did not get home after running freely.
The manner of how she raced suggested a drop back to today's mile and two would suit. She is rated 104, which seems realistic and gives her major claims here under Robert Havlin.
Growl seemed to leave his handicap form behind when a 50/1 second to The Tin Man on Champions Day.
He looks a likely winner in the Wentworth Stakes on that form but it may flatter him somewhat and a chance is taken on Kimberella, which clearly did not appreciate seven furlongs at Doncaster.
The November Handicap is tortuously difficult. Gosden attaches blinkers to the head of Cape Cova, a colt which ran pretty lazily in winning at this track last time. A 9lb rise makes life tough but he is unexposed and could remain competitive under Nicky Mackay.
The Betfred Supports The BTRC Hurdle sees some classy regulars return to jumping, notably Un Temps Pour Tout and Zarkandar, which seems to have his own ideas at this stage, not unlike many horses who went hurdling early in their life.
Up Temps Pour Tour has the measure of Zarkandar on running at Auteuil from last year. The trip is a bit sharp for the David Pipe runner, which has the class to compensate. Mr Mole, which seemed to completely lose the plot last season, could hardly be a strong fancy in the handicap chase, but at around 20/1 the eight-year-old is put forward as a speculative pick.
Wincanton's Grade Two Rising Stars Novice Chase is the jumps race of the day in Britain. Getting plenty of weight as a four-year-old, Frodon can collect. He looks a natural over fences, much like his stallion, Nickname. Rayvin Black, which seems a big price at 16/1 in the Stan James Elite Hurdle, could go well but clearly Sceau Royal is going to be hard to beat on his eye-taking Cheltenham run.
The manner of how the horse travelled that day was remarkable. He was running away with Daryl Jacob coming into the straight and, though his limitations were apparently exposed as a four-year-old last season, it simple looks as though he is improving with age.
Just the nine Grade Ones take place at Santa Anita, with Aidan O'Brien responsible for eight runners. The legendary trainer eschews the temptation to run any horse on dirt.
Alice Springs will relish the firm going in the Breeders' Cup Mile and has gotten a cracker of a draw in two. She has form at the meeting and makes plenty of appeal, for all that this is a really demanding assignment against the colts.
The decision to run Found in the Turf rather than the Classic is based on sound logic. Along with Highland Reel, she gives O'Brien a really strong hand, but a chance is taken on Da Big Hoss, which was 40/1 last evening.
Seventh Heaven takes on the Chad Brown-trained Lady Eli in the Filly & Mare Turf. A rapid improver, she had a really messy race at Ascot last time, and is taken to put that behind her.
California Chrome is the box-office draw in the Classic and even-money looks the best price you will get about the Art Sherman-trained five-year-old.
Preference is for Frosted, which has been prepared for this race and can prove that he has improved this year, bringing an exhausting day of punting to an end.
Monbeg Notorious was sent off an 8/11 favourite in the first race at Down Royal yesterday and did the job but it was hard not to be taken by the performance of his less vaunted stablemate.
Gordon Elliott could not hide his liking for the Gigginstown-owned winner when interviewed at Thurles on Thursday and there was little mention of The Storyteller, which runs in the familiar Sloan colours. Notably weak in the market on the exchanges before the off, the son of Shantou belied that with an excellent performance.
Settled just off the pace on the rail by Barry Geraghty, who rides Don Poli for Elliott today, The Storyteller generally jumped with fluency and was cantering along quite some time after the favourite had come off the bridle under Ruby Walsh.
Betfair punters were backing The Storyteller at 1/2 as he came to the second-last, easing alongside his stablemate, only for Geraghty's mount to crash to the floor. It was a most unfortunate conclusion to an otherwise very promising performance and this one looks better than the average Downpatrick bumper winner.