The racing world is awash with hype and expectation as the build up towards the first ever QIPCO Champions Day draws ever nearer.
Once again the world and its mother can gaze their eyes on the world’s top rated racehorse, the Sir Henry Cecil trained FRANKEL, who looks to extend his unbeaten run to nine in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
Before that however the jumps season is now in full swing and we head back to jumping’s HQ at Cheltenham, with a good set of handicaps on offer. Thursday has racing at Uttoxeter and Wincanton but we’ll focus our attentions on Brighton, where Silvestre De Sousa aims to make up ground on Paul Hanagan and Kieren Fallon.
Our first selection runs in the 3.00, a Class 6 Handicap run over 10 furlongs, where, despite the poor grade, it could be worth taking a chance on PRINCE OF THEBES who has come tumbling down the handicap in recent starts. He has looked like he may return to form, travelling well without finding much, and the new whip rules may just aid him as he seemed to be one who finds little under pressure. He has come down 24lb since his last win 18 months ago, and his apprentice rider takes another 5lb off to boot. The jockey is 3/9 at Brighton, so is something of a specialist, and could be worth a punt at a working man’s price.
A really tricky maiden is up next in the 3.30, with stables represented including the Balding, Hannon and Godolphin yards to name but a few, with some finely bred two year olds on display. Renegotiate runs for the Andrew Balding and Jimmy Fortune connections and he showed promise two weeks ago in a Newmarket maiden, there could be more to come. Richard Hannon won this race last year and has another smart prospect in Golden Jubilee. He was well backed last time out in what seemed a smart maiden at Salisbury but didn’t seem to handle the soft ground. He could go better on a firmer surface.
The stand out entry, however, is EXPERT FIGHTER for Saeed Bin Suroor and the interesting jockey booking of William Buick. The Dubai Destination colt ran a good seventh on his debut at Haydock in a maiden where the form has worked out really well with the three subsequent runs bringing a win and two seconds.
PEARL OPERA is horse who has been thriving on the all weather lately, and has not been seen on the turf since his maiden at Chepstow, but that shouldn’t hamper his chances at all. The filly has the advantage of acquiring the services of Richard Hughes, who has been in sparkling form this past few weeks, with 11 wins from 43 runners so far in October, including a Listed race, Sales race and two group wins. Pearl Opera won last time out and won well, staying on strongly. She has gone up only 3lb in the handicap and the handicapper seems to have given her a chance to go and give connections another happy afternoon.
3.00 Prince of Thebes (Ew)
3.30 Expert Fighter (Nap)
4.00 Pearl Opera