THE flat is gradually easing itself into the spotlight and all the top jockeys, trainers and stables are gradually coming to the boil with good recent winners for the Varian, Morrison, Dunlop, Gosden and Quinn yards and the likes of Cecil, Stoute and Al Zarooni yet to play their hands.
We are at Catterick and Nottingham on Wednesday. Classier horses are on show at Nottingham, with a £30,000 Listed race and a 5f conditions event the highlights. That conditions race has DINKUM DIAMOND running for Henry Candy. Dinkum Diamond was a very consistent sprinter last year, placed in Listed and Group Company. He has a good record fresh, including a third in a listed race behind subsequent group winner Genki. Although giving weight to the decent Jonny Mudball and Triple Aspect he has the best form in the book and should appreciate the drop in grade.
The Barry Hills Further Flight Listed Stakes is a contest over 14 furlongs and is a race that has provided pointers towards the staying division with previous winner The Betchworth Kid going on to run with credit in the Ascot Gold Cup. Connections will hope to use this en route to that race with ETERNAL HEART, who was very impressive when winning at Doncaster two weeks ago for Mark Johnston and Joe Fanning.
Needing every inch of the trip, he beat two good horses in John Gosden’s King of Wands and Tom Dascombe’s Junoob, both Listed winners. Eternal Heart looked as game as a pebble on his return, and has fair form behind Fame and Glory and Namibian last year. The opposition looks strong, with the likes of Blue Bajan, Parlour Games, and the most obvious danger; Dandino, all looking interesting challengers.
The Michael Dods yard are generally strong early in the season and look to have a good prospect in VIKING WARRIOR, a five year old gelded son of Halling. His best form has come over Catterick’s seven furlong trip. He ran three times over the course and distance last season, with a first, second and a third to go along with his second the previous season. He looks to be the safest option on a track which is often difficult for inexperienced horses to handle. That said, dangers come in the form of horses from the Nicholls (Rio Cobolla), Johnston (Copperwood) and Dalgleish (Chookie Avon) stables.
A horse that looks to be open to improvement on Wednesday is RENEGOTIATE for trainer Andrew Balding and jockey David Probert. He wasn’t asked many questions over inadequate trips last season and, stepped up to 10 furlongs looks to be on a workable handicap mark (67) He looks to have been found a very good opportunity by a stable notorious for handicap plots.
DISPOL GRAND has been an eye catcher in his two runs this season at Wolverhampton, running well at big prices. He was a two lengths sixth of eleven runners at 25/1 and then a three lengths fifth of nine at 12/1, showing signs of rustiness when front running and tiring late on. He should have come on for those two all weather run outs and with a young apprentice who takes 3lb off should give a good account now back on turf, the surface all of his six career wins have come on.
2.40 (Nottingham) Dinkum Diamond (Nap)
3.40 (Nottingham) Eternal Heart
4.40 (Nottingham) Renegotiate
2.30 (Catterick) Viking Warrior (Nb)
5.00 (Catterick) Dispol Grand