Catching Pigeons: Chief Wigham

Our Catching Pigeons column has the essential news from training centres around the country ahead of the weekend.

There'll be many a long face in Newmarket if the trophy for the Appletiser Stakes at Ascot doesn't return to Headquarters.

Dal Harraild remains firmly on the upgrade for William Haggas, Jeremy Noseda's Sixties Grove (now a non-runner) went well on the Al Bahatri in his final prep but preference is for Sir Michael Stotue's Stargazer.

He looked a little unlucky not to win at Glorious Goodwood last time and all the evidence at home suggests he has thrived since.

There could even be a topical double on the card as Firmament looks sure to take a bit of beating in the Albert Bartlett Handicap but Von Blucher showed plenty of zip in a solo spin on the Al Bahatri this week and gets the vote for the John Gosden team.

Mustallib keeps on improving and he is fancied to pass his toughest test to date in the Bibendum Wine Ltd Handicap at Ascot. Charlie Hills has been delighted with his build up to this competitive event, and is more than hopeful he can add to his his two wins at the height of the Summer.

At a more speculative price it could pay to keep a close eye on Foxy Forever in the closing Redcentric Handicap. Michael Wigham has his team in outstanding form right now and this six-year-old is slipping back down towards an attractive mark.

Over at Haydock it's the 32Red Sprint Cup and Dancing Star has not stopped improving all season. She can give some battle-hardened sprinters a real fright in the Group One feature.

Andrew Balding's three-year-old was always travelling strongly before quickening clear to win the Stewards' Cup, and it is significant that connections are now taking a first step into top company. The Kingsclere trainer could not be in better form at present and Dancing Star should make the most of her age and sex allowances in what looks a very open race.

Mitchum Swagger can show his appreciation for a return to the turf with a deserved first win of the season in the Group 3 32Red Mile.

An unlucky third in the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot, he found the seven furlongs on the Chelmsford all weather a tad too sharp on his only subsequent start, though it should be stated that his conqueror Buckstay is a smart performer on his day.

This long straight should suit David Lanigan's charge much better, and he can some out best in a race where a number of his opponents have something to prove.

Koropick is well regarded by the Hugo Palmer team and is fancied to emphasise the point with victory in the Group 3 totequadpot Sirenia Stakes at Kempton on Saturday.

The Newmarket trainer has assembled another very talented juvenile team to back up the 2015 high-flyers, and Koropick's recent work suggests there is plenty more to come from him as the most prestigious group 1 races for his generation now appear on the horizon.

Although he lacks the experience of some of his rivals, there was plenty to like about his debut win at Thirsk, where he travelled well and quickened in the manner of a very exciting prospect. He has come on plenty for the run.

Supporters of the David Elsworth emporium were all smiles after Sir Dancealot justified plenty of stable support over course and distance 17 days ago and this highly rated son of Sir Prancealot is fancied to follow up in the opening toteplacepot Conditions Stakes.

Murad Khan looks the answer to Thirsk's Personal Touches Handicap while Jeremy Noseda's First Up can be another Newmarket raider to strike gold in Yorkshire this weekend.

He runs in the opening Judith Marshall Memorial EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes at York on Sunday and went into many-a-notebook when fifth in a valuable maiden at the course's Ebor Meeting.

Zainhom will win a race soon for the Stoute team but First Up looks set to provide Silvestre de Sousa with a winner in his title bid.

It could be a much-needed one too as rival Jim Crowley has picked up two good spares at Brighton in Monday, Rouge Noir for the Noseda team and Lucy Wadham's Bueto Bai.

The British Stallion Studs Apollo EBF Maiden Stakes at Leicester on Tuesday already looks a very warm heat with a host of promising juveniles in the mix at this stage.

Elucidation has already been mentioned in this column and looked a winner waiting to happen when third on debut at Newmarket last time. However, put his stablemate Adamant in your My Stable trackers too. It may be this time next year that you reap your rewards but the grey son of Dalakhani looks a really good long-term prospect.

Finally we have three unraced two-year-olds to watch out for in the coming weeks.

Luca Cumani has a very exciting prospect on his hands in God Given, a half-sister to Postponed who left the trainer's care last autumn. This daughter of Nathaniel continues to give all the right signs at home, shining in her latest piece of work on the watered gallop under Andrea Atzeni. This Rockfel and Fillies' Mile entry is very much a name to note.

So is Eminent, a son of Frankel, who is in the care of Martyn Meade. He pleased connections with a spin on the Limekilns on Wednesday.

Finally Hugo Palmer has an impressive team to go to war with through the autumn and Jean Harlow has shown enough at home to suggest she's going to be above average when she steps out onto the racecourse.

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