Catching Pigeons: Have some Front
Can the immaculately-bred Frontiersman strike for our Catching Pigeons column in a competitive Group Three at Newbury?
Frontiersman is all a blur as he wins at Newmarket – can he successfully step up in grade at Newbury?
Godolphin's private Newmarket trainers may have mustered barely a runner between them on the Champions Day card last weekend, but both are ending the form in characteristically good form and Frontiersman is fancied to strike in a remarkably-competitive renewal of the Group Three Worthington's OCSL St Simon Stakes.
A pattern-race success for this well-bred three-year-old ought to set him up nicely for a good season in 2017 and victory here would help to further promote their premier league sire Dubawi – although the dam's side of his pedigree is not half-bad either as Frontiersman is out of the brilliant Ouija Board and therefore a half-brother to Coolmore's outstanding dual Derby winner Australia.
Only lightly raced so far, he has won two of his four starts, and put a slightly disappointing debut effort in a handicap well and truly behind him with an impressive win over this trip at Newmarket on his latest start. On a rapid upward curve now, he shapes as if he is up to stepping up to this level.
Imperial Aviator ran a sound race when third to Scarlet Dragon in a valuable event over course and distance last month, and he is fancied to add to his London Gold Cup win here in May in the Bathwick Tyres Handicap.
This looks a slightly easier race and connections believe he is starting to get his confidence back after a bad experience in the French Derby where he stumbled and hurt himself.
He will have to be on his mettle to confirm the form with old rival What About Carlo, who did well to finish fourth, and is a little better off at the weights, but may well be able to find the greater improvement of the pair on Saturday.At a much bigger price, it might also be worth chancing a few shekels on another Charlie Appleby runner, Bay Of Poets, in the feature Racing Post Trophy up at Doncaster. He travelled nicely enough at Newmarket last time only to fall to pieces in the Dip, but has worked well since and could be worth a second chance.
Huge Future is another likely contender for Godolphin in the Bet Through the Racing Post App Handicap up at Doncaster. Successful on two of his three starts so far, he found the ground too quick when outpointed by Saunter on his latest attempt at Newmarket. Underfoot conditions will be more suitable here and he has caught the eye on a couple of his excursions on to the public gallops at Headquarters. However, if his price allows, preference is for UAE Prince from Roger Varian's stable.
Originally considered a Derby contender in the spring, things didn't quite pan out back then, but he's older and wiser now and should be up to defying the mark handed him for his handicap debut.
Castle Harbour is an interesting runner on his first start since the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot. Trainer John Gosden has been keen to bring him back for more experience before considering futue oprtions and he gets his chance on the tail-end of the Doncaster card in the Join Racing Post Members Club Conditions Stakes. He can make up for lost time by beating some more-experienced rivals, although stablemate Fannaan appears no mug judged on recent work.
Racing at Chelmsford seems to be bedding in in more ways than one now, with decent-sized fields for their eight-race card on Saturday night. Quite a few of the bigger yards are represented and positive words have been received for Valley Of Fire, equipped with blinkers for the first time, and Sir Michael Stoute's Transmitting, who has worked like a better horse than he has shown so far.
Brother Tedd can beat a small but select field in the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars Novices' Chase at Cheltenham.
A smart performer over hurdles, Brother Tedd just looked in need of the race on his debut effort over fences at Newton Abbot 15 days ago and was readily seen off over the final two fences by Virgilio. Plenty of improvement can be anticipated from that performance and he may just prove too sharp for the very promising Shantou Village, who may just need the run after his two-month break.
Neil Mullholland, trainer of Shantou Village, should go close with Fox Norton in the Randox Health Handicap Chase. There were few more consistent novice chasers around last season than this hardy six year old, who has yet to finish out of the first three in eight races over the larger obstacles. Three of his very best performances came over these fences and if he runs up to anything like his third to Douvan at the Arkle at the Festival, he will want plenty of beating, particularly if the rain stays away.
River Wylde can start his second season with Nicky Henderson with a victory in the White Christmas Parties National Hunt Flat race. A good actioned ex-Irish pointer, he is typical of the type of youngster Nicky Henderson buys and will be seen to best advantage on decent ground.
The heavy rain that fell before his debut effort at Haydock last season may have cost him victory, but he made no mistake at Warwick on his only subsequent start, coming home 23 lengths clear. Although he has already schooled well over timber, connections are taking in another bumper and hopes are high he can make it two from three.
Ben Pauling has attracted an increased number of young horses after a lucrative 2015-16 campaign and Smoking Dixie looks worth an each-way interest in the opening Maiden Hurdle at Aintree on Sunday.
He was the subject of plenty of chat during his first season with Pauling, and he showed plenty of promise on his only outing at Ludlow, despite running a little too exuberantly in the early stages. He will have learnt plenty from that outing, and he will be a much stronger individual with another summer behind him.
Big Robin, bought at the boutique Aintree Sale during the Grand National meeting, makes her racecourse bow on her return to the course for the 188Bet Bumper. The plan is to go novice hurdling, but this winning pointer has shown enough to suggest she can give Lambourn-trained rival Ilovemints plenty to think about without the distraction of having obstacles in the way.