The first day of the Chester May meeting was run on slow ground - officially soft after the second last. Despite only being beaten a neck in the Listed Cheshire Oaks, I was disappointed Above The Curve couldn't reel in compatriot Thoughts of June having defeated the same rival by nearly three lengths at Leopardstown earlier in the spring. One suspects her rider Shane Crosse felt he had Aidan O'Brien's filly covered turning for home but the winner found more. Perhaps the softer conditions swung it in the winner's favour or Thoughts of June is a stouter stayer. Above The Curve looks a big scopey filly and still feel she has a bright future - time will tell whether she is good enough to win the Oaks.
The betting suggested New London had a straightforward task in the other Classic trial, the Chester Vase, but once again it was Aidan O'Brien who took the spoils with the more experienced Changingoftheguard. Ryan Moore dictated the pace on the 96 rated colt and, in truth, never looked like being headed crossing the line six and a half lengths in front of the Godolphin owned favourite. Having failed to win any of his three races as a juvenile, the son of Galileo looked exposed last term but he has already improved significantly as a three year old. A ready winner at Dundalk on his reappearance early last month, he has earned his place in the Epsom Derby and shouldn't be underestimated. Don't forget ill-fated stablemate Snowfall only won one of her eight races as a two year old but was a different proposition the following season when upped in trip in 2021.
As far as the runner-up is concerned, his lack of experience shone through. William Buick's mount was pushed along before the hometurn but could never land a blow thereafter. A dual winner beforehand, the son of Dubawi looks a stayer and it will be a surprise if he is ready or good enough to win an Epsom Derby. I would be more inclined to look towards the King Edward VII Stakes or even the Queens Vase at Royal Ascot. A more conventational track will be to his liking, too.
While there were a couple of disappointing reversals on the Roodeye, Ahead On The Flat may have unearthed a future star at Longchamp on Wednesday. Epic Poet is featured on page 130 of AOTF under French Classic Contenders. Trained by Jean-Claude Rouget, the son of Lope De Vega was an easy winner of his sole start at the Parisian track (1m 1f) last Autumn in a race which has worked out very well. Returning to action in a conditions event over the same course and distance, he was given a confident ride by Cristian Demuro being held up early on. Pulled out entering the final furlong, he swept passed his five opponents to win hard held by three lengths. Available at 12/1 with Skybet for the Prix du Jockey Club (5th June), he could be a Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe contender later in the year. He looks a high-class colt in the making with a big future.
"We rarely keep a four year old maiden in training but he is a fine, big horse who has more to offer. He is another who has been gelded and is on a good mark of 71," commented William Haggas on page 87 of Ahead On The Flat regarding the lightly raced Substantial. The well bred son of Siyouni duly made a mockery of his opening mark on his handicap debut at Kempton on Wednesday evening. A length and three quarters winner, it will be a surprise if he doesn't win more races this summer.
“Thank you for a very successful and profitable email service. My personal highlight was the win of Aloomomo whose romp round Uttoxeter was a joy. Keep up the good work with all your services, the books and updates, they are simply the best by a very long way.”
“Just want to say thanks for running the service again this year, I have ended up with a nice £756 profit from it so I'm obviously very happy with that so thanks a lot!”
“Thanks for your email Mark would just like to say your selections and insight has been awesome. Keep up the good work sir your service is the best.”
“Thank you for an excellent tipping service throughout the three months. It has been a pleasure and profitable to be a member of your service. Your indepth knowledge and analysis of the race has been excellent. I honestly rate your service as one of the best and most profitable.”
“Thanks very much for the fantastic service you have supplied, I have been involved with racing tipsters for over 30 years and never had as good a strike rate as yourself, out of this world.”
“The email service as usual has been brilliant and this season's OJA seems to continue to unearth amazing insight if you have the time to trust and follow it in detail over a period. Thanks as always for your outstanding value for money publications.”
“Superb information again Mark, I managed to get some 11/4, will certainly pay for Xmas. Different class.”
“Awesome result the magicman strikes again. Won with plenty in hand and not a moments worry great write up spot on again and results speak for themselves best service I've tried, keep up the fantastic work sir. Very happy customer!”
Mark Howard Publications Ltd.
69 Fairgarth Drive