Weekend eye-catchers (All Saturday)

1.55 Ascot

Not getting any younger at the age of seven, but the old boy Zero Money is still showing plenty of early pace, and I mean plenty. He shot out of the stalls in this handicap and was leading his side a merry dance early. He was so far clear he was basically racing on his own before hanging to the stand side and eventually going down by two lengths. It wasn’t a tip top handicap for the grade and a slight ease in class, coupled with returning to an easier track, over five can see him run well again. He’s won at Goodwood, Haydock and Newmarket before so they may be suitable destinations if a race can be found. Formerly with Roger Charlton but now in the care of the young, up-and-coming Hugo Palmer he has a nice race in him on current form.

2.05 Newmarket

Not exactly an eye-catcher, but Prince’s Trust was selected on this blog to run well on Saturday and things didn’t materialise – he ran an absolute shocker to finish a well beaten second last. I was confident of a big run and even more so when I saw Richard Hughes dictating his own, slow fractions after breaking smartly from the stalls. After seeing him get the run of the race I was shocked that he trailed 11 lengths in behind the winner. He was weak in the market before the off, nothing of note though and said to move poorly to post so maybe the writing was on the wall beforehand. It was his first run back off a two month break and may be all the above just found him out. A return to easier ground and may be a step up to ten furlongs can help. It was too poor to be true and he’s worth keeping an eye on for later. Softer ground may be the key.

2.30 Ascot

Two horses caught my eye here, the second and third; Mull Of Killough and Guest Of Honour respectively. The former, I felt, didn’t receive the best of rides although the jockey’s hand may have been dealt with his widest draw. Usually he sits just off the pace, but he couldn’t get near the early lead and had to sit and suffer widest of all, with no cover throughout. It was encouraging to see him run so well, responding to William Buick’s every call and finish second. He’s not getting any younger, but at seven he still seems to be improving. Tactically versatile I’m not sure where he’ll go next, but over a mile/nine furlongs, on good or softer he can win a Group Three, maybe a Group Two.

Guest Of Honour is a well-bred sort in the capable hands of Marco Botti. This son of Cape Cross from the family of Rakti is improving with each and every run and was a shade unlucky not to finish closer to the eventual winner. Having travelled with great ease throughout his path was blocked repeatedly at the business end of the race. He got up for third in the end, staying on nicely when properly let down. His ability to travel so kindly will be a great asset and granted a good draw, and he goes of course, I can see him going very close at the speedier track of Goodwood in the Betfair Summer Mile. It’s a while to wait for connections, but hopefully he doesn’t go to Goodwood for the Sussex Stakes as I don’t think he’s up to that level yet.

5.35 Newmarket

The first three home in Havana Cooler, Pether’s Moon and Cat O’Mountain will probably all go into notebooks, but given the circumstances I felt like Cat O’Mountain went like the best horse. He was very reluctant pre-race and played up a bit, but still managed to run soundly. I felt he was given a strange ride as he was kept well away from the rest of the field and raced markedly wider. While Newmarket is a predominately straight course there is a slight bend and at a point and I felt he gave away significant ground compared to the first two home. He also raced quite freely and with no lead or company he very much did all his own donkey work. This took its toll late on as he finished quite tired. Not before seemingly showing an ability to quicken where he looked to have made a race winning move. He couldn’t sustain it however and finished third, pulling nicely clear of the fourth horse. A drop to ten, around a bend, with a lead in a solid gallop around a track like Ascot (did you get all that?) would be perfect right now I feel. This is unlikely to play out, but I hope you get my drift? He looks a nice horse with a future, as do the first two home so hopefully he can prove it as the season goes on.

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