Skiffle (5/1), featured in the Unraced Three Year Olds section of Ahead On The Flat, confirmed the promise of her racecourse debut at Ascot by capturing the Listed Height of Fashion Stakes at Goodwood. The Charlie Appleby trained filly was very slowly away on her first start before finishing strongly behind a couple of potentially smart opponents. Stepped up in grade, she was much more streetwise and displayed a willing attitude to wear down the well supported favourite The Black Princess close home. A length winner, the pair finished seven lengths clear of the third. The Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot is likely to be Skiffle’s next port of call and she is expected to relish the extra couple of furlongs. The runner-up ran a cracker and there were no excuses. However, the fact she started the season off a mark of 74 and is now likely to be rated in the higher 90s, as a result of this performance, and still hasn’t won a race in 2016 is extremely frustrating (was beaten a nose by Mirsaalah at Nottingham in April and yet beat James Tate’s filly by eighteen lengths here).
Alsvinder provided the Top 40 Prospects with a winner at Newcastle’s first all-weather meeting on Tuesday. All the rage on his debut at Thirsk last month, he fluffed his lines at the North Yorkshire track when only finishing third, having raced too keenly. However, David O’Meara’s expensive breeze-up purchase was a different proposition at Gosforth Park and he proved too good for his opponents to win with a bit in hand. It will be interesting to see what rating he is granted by the assessor. The handicapper can’t go mad. While the course’s inaugural meeting appeared to meet with plenty of people’s approval, I still feel it is a crying shame that one of the North’s best and fairest turf Flat tracks has been ripped up and replaced with an artificial surface. The fact the races are restricted to 14 runners is hardly ideal – the Northumberland Plate will probably head in the same direction as something like the Queen’s Prize at Kempton, in terms of prestige. Tuesday’s racing did get me wondering – why didn’t the racecourse’s authorities go the whole hog and rename the track Sandcastle?
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