The frustrating start to the season for the Top 40 Prospects in Ahead On The Flat continued on Friday with King's Lynn failing to reel in the front running El Astronaute in the five furlongs conditions stakes at Chester. Andrew Balding's four year old had run well behind Came From The Dark at Newbury on his reappearance and was strongly supported beforehand. However, the Queen's gelding was unable to through down a serious challenge and, although he stayed on well, the winning post was always coming too soon. There is no doubt he is a useful sprinter but he doesn't strike me as an out and out five furlongs horse. A return to further will suit him in due course.
There were a couple of noteworthy performances at Ascot including from Aldaary who looked well ahead of his opening mark of 93 in the seven furlongs three year old handicap. Unbeaten in two starts as a juvenile, the son of Territories underwent a wind operation during the 'off season' and he had no trouble extending his winning run to three when scoring by three and a quarter lengths. Held up by Jim Crowley, he only had to be nudged out to win with plenty to spare. All three of his career starts have been with cut in the ground and it is possible he will always want some ease underfoot. It will be interesting to see where he goes next - the Group 3 Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot (19th June) would represent a big rise in class but, granted suitable ground conditions, William Haggas' colt is unlikely to look out of place in such company. The same yard have Sacred lined up for that seven furlongs event though.
I am working at Haydock Park on Saturday and keep my fingers crossed the selection for the Swinton Hurdle (included in the Aintree Update) goes well. The forecast rain would be an advantage but otherwise he appears to have a lot going for him. I will be back to update the Diary on Sunday.
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