Julian Muscat: Misheer looks made to go the distance
It's hard to believe that by today's close of play, just a week after the Grand National at Aintree, the Guineas trials will be done and dusted. The last of them unfurls at Newbury on an eight-race card that tries to pack too much of interest into too short a space of time.
Any number of promising three-year-olds are loosed either side of the recognised seven-furlong trials. And both races have attracted runners that could make a Classic impact in two weeks -- in particular the Dubai Duty Free Stakes (3.05), which throws up the day's best bet.
The horse in question is Misheer, which has everything in her favour as she bids to confirm a narrow verdict over Lady Of The Desert in last year's Cheveley Park Stakes. The key detail is the extra distance both fillies must cover here. It might prove a furlong too far for Lady Of The Desert, which was narrowly overhauled for second place by Misheer in a Newmarket contest that saw Puff and Habaayib finish even further behind last October.
A bigger threat could be Deirdre, wide-margin winner of a Newcastle maiden in October. But with John Gosden's horses all but anonymous at Newmarket this week, Misheer holds all the aces.
Clive Brittain has maintained for many months that Misheer has Classic potential. Now is the time for the trainer to make his point, since Special Duty, ante-post favourite for the 1,000 Guineas, flunked her lines in France last week. The fillies' Classic looks wide open in consequence, and Misheer's prospects are as good as any.
The Bathwick Tyres Greehnam Stakes (3.40) for colts sees Canford Cliffs endeavour to reproduce a stunning Coventry Stakes victory that saw him hailed as an embryo champion last June. However, he is not the first wide-margin winner of that race to disappoint, and preference is for Arcano.
This one had Canford Cliffs behind him when winning in France last August and there's no reason why that form shouldn't hold up. Of the pair, Arcano is more likely to thrive for stepping up to seven furlongs, even if the small field might result in a lack of early pace.
McCOY CAN SEIZE DAY AT AYR WITH HIS MOMENT
Jumping enthusiasts are well catered for at Ayr, where the Coral Scottish Grand National (3.20), live on Channel 4, is all the more competitive for Denman's absence. Several horses enter the equation, in particular Poker De Sivola and Faasel, which ran a monster race to be touched off at Cheltenham on his debut for the David Pipe stable.
Faasel often finds ways to lose races he should win, however, and with Mobaasher best in small fields, Tony McCoy and Jonjo O'Neill can win their third National in four weeks. Synchronised won the Midlands version before Don't Push It's emotional triumph at Aintree, and Theatrical Moment can cap an unforgettable month for the combination here.
Although Theatrical Moment ran well enough at Cheltenham when sixth in the William Hill Trophy, he found everything happening too quickly over three miles. Given an extra mile to tackle here, he can establish a winning rhythm on his favoured sound surface.
The ground will also favour Nicky Henderson's Eradicate in the Samsung Scottish Champion Hurdle (2.45). The six-year-old comes into the race a fresh horse against several which are crying out for their summer holidays.
GET SOME ALL ACTION
Whatever Blizzard Blues' fate, the Henry Cecil-trained All Action warrants support in the one-mile maiden (4.50) at Newbury.
This unraced son of Storm Cat worked with great enthusiasm at Newmarket on Tuesday.