Roger Varian has his string in tremendous shape with his runners at the three day Craven meeting at Newmarket producing form figures of 6112114. The head of Carlburg Stables trained the first two home in the Group 3 Nell Gwyn Stakes on Tuesday and Zabeel Prince was an emphatic winner of the Group 3 Earl of Sefton Stakes on Thursday. Tackling nine furlongs for the first time, the six year old came from the rear to win going away by nearly three lengths. Beforehand, the fast ground was a concern but it proved no obstacle for Andrea Atzeni's mount as he powered away inside the final furlong. It will be interesting to see if he steps up to ten furlongs at some stage with something like the Group 3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown (23rd May), although he will be forced to carry a penalty if heading to the Esher track. The gelded son of Lope De Vega is very good fresh and has run his best races following a lengthy break.
Ripon staged their first meeting of the season and one horse who caught the eye was the Anythingtoday in the ten furlongs handicap. Previously handled by Hugo Palmer, he joined David O'Meara at the end of 2017 having been purchased for 100,000gns. Restricted to four outings last term, he dropped seven pounds during the course of 2018. Reappearing at the 'Garden Racecourse,' he was held up early on by Danny Tudhope before making his move with three to run. The five year old held every chance before his effort flattened out before eventually finishing fourth. Beaten three and a quarter of lengths, he looks well worth a try over a shorter trip even though he hasn't raced over a mile since his two year old days. It wouldn't be a surprise to see the Zoffany gelding lining up in either the Thirsk Hunt Cup (4th May) or the Hambleton Stakes at York (16th May). There is a decent handicap to be won with Anythingtoday.
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