It was disappointing to see Zaajirah only finish third on her handicap debut at Kempton on Wednesday evening. Roger Varian's filly had impressed when winning on her racecourse at the same track last backend. Indeed, she reappeared in the Group 3 Fred Darling Stakes at Newbury this spring but was well held. Given a break since, the daughter of Shamardal returned to action at the Sunbury track off an opening mark of 85 and was heavily supported to regain the winning thread. Drawn on the inside, Jim Crowley's mount was travelling well turning for home and it looked a case of how far with the second favourite Renaissance Rose being pushed along. However, the Shadwell owned filly met trouble in running and soon came off the bridle. Staying on at the death, she couldn't quicken and was beaten less than a length in third behind the Godolphin owned winner. The Sandringham Handicap at Royal Ascot had been the plan for Zaajirah and it may still be on the agenda but one wonders whether she may be better off dropped back to seven furlongs.
There was a very good card at the Curragh with plenty of Royal Ascot pointers on offer. There were a couple of smart juvenile performances from Point Lonsdale and Dr Zempf. The former is a half-brother to stablemate and Group 2 winner Broome and the son of Australia stretched clear to win the seven furlongs maiden by five and a half lengths. The Chesham Stakes at Ascot will be his next port of call and it will take a smart one to beat him. Half an hour later, Dr Zempf also made a winning start to his career when taking the six furlongs conditions stakes by two and a quarter lengths. A colt by Dark Angel who cost 420,000gns as a yearling, he was given a patient ride before quickening up well to win going away. The Railway Stakes at the same track was mooted as a possible target but Ger Lyons' charge wouldn't look out of place in the Coventry Stakes later this month.
Talking of Royal Ascot, I am currently working on the Update for the five day meeting - it will be emailed to clients on Sunday 13th June. If you haven't ordered a copy, please go to the Publications section of the site. The Royal Ascot Update is £10.00.
Switching codes, Cartmel staged a three day meeting over the Bank Holiday period and local trainer Jimmy Moffatt stole the headlines with 4 winners from 8 runners. While it doesn't quite match Willie Mullins achievements at the Cheltenham Festival or Dermot Weld at the Galway Festival, it is still an excellent effort by a small yard. The Cumbrian based handler has been busy at the sales during the twelve months making a couple of expensive purchases - recent Aintree winner Burbank was acquired for £62,000 last September, while he purchased ex-Godolphin horse Moonlight Spirit for £75,000 last month. The latter was fourth in the Queens Vase at Royal Ascot a couple of years ago and also runner-up at Group 2 level in France. Bought to go hurdling, I hope he proves a good addition to the yard.
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