AS THE National Hunt season begins to draw its curtains this weekend after an emotional and terrific three days of Aintree we are gradually easing ourselves into the flat season, with the Guineas weekend at Newmarket now only three weeks away.
The man with the leading fancy that weekend is Henry Cecil, who has the hot favourite in the 2000 Guineas with the unbeaten Frankel. The master trainer is known for his guile and craft in developing his horses, and he has a surprise runner at Folkestone Tuesday with the filly HISTORY GIRL. She ran fifth and fourth in two turf maidens, before finishing last in an all weather race towards the back end of the season, when clearly not taking to the surface. These runs were all for Mark Johnston and, with Henry Cecil having the chance to work with the filly, his skill at guiding the female sex from two year olds to three year olds may have done the trick. This is an eyecatching entry in a relatively poor maiden race and she would not have to be anything too special to win.
There is a mouth-watering card on the return to Newmarket, the traditional home of flat racing, on Wednesday, with the highlight being the Tattersalls Millions 3-Y-O Sprint race. The hottest partnership in flat racing currently is Richard Fahey and his jockey Paul Hanagan, who have the tough Sir Reginald entered. The top rated horse is Godolphin’s Nebraas, who finished behind Richard Hannon’s Guineas hope Libranno in the July Stakes. Our selection here however is the Luca Cumani trained KHOR SHEED.
She got better and better as the season went on last year, winning at Newmarket over the same course and distance. The form of that Newmarket win has worked out well with the second and third going on to finish first and second in a valuable race.
Another winner of a prestigious 2 year old race was the Geoffrey Oldroyd trained LADIES ARE FOREVER, who was mightily impressive when winning the 2 year old Trophy at Redcar in October. The trainer was one to watch last year with his 10 winners from 71 runners last year on turf showing a profit of +58.75 to level stakes. Ladies are Forever is the top rated horse in the race, and has the best form, and she should be too good for this field.
History Girl 5.05 Folkestone (Tuesday)
Khor Sheed 3.00 Newmarket (Wednesday)
Ladies are Forever 3.35 Newmarket (Wednesday)