Ahead On The Flat had a good day on Friday with Al Muffrih and Wadilsafa winning and First Eleven (8/1) provided the Handicaps Snips section with another success. Indeed, the last named looks a progressive middle distance three year old who appeared to relish the drying ground at Newbury. In the same event his ill-fated former stablemate and subsequent eight times Grade 1 winning hurdler Nichols Canyon finished runner-up in five years ago, the half-brother to Kingman powered five lengths clear of his rivals off a rating of 77. Set for a hefty rise, he could emerge as a leading contender for the King George V Handicap at Royal Ascot next month.
Five featured horses from AOTF competed in the ten furlongs maiden stakes at the Berkshire track and they finished first, third, fourth, fifth and sixth. The race went the way of Al Muffrih who is held in high regard by William Haggas and has Pattern race aspirations. I urge readers to keep a close eye on those who finished in behind, in particular, Tinsmith. A big strapping colt by Mastercraftsman, he was making his racecourse debut and was his trainer's horse to follow in AOTF. Seemingly unfancied at 40/1, he was slowly away and soon behind. However, the penny dropped late on and the big white faced colt was spotted staying on in taking fashion under Harry Bentley. Beaten over thirteen lengths in sixth, he will have no trouble staying a mile and a half in time. Expect him to improve with racing - he is a fine long-term prospect. As discussed in the Diary in recent days, Roger Charlton has yet to hit full stride but it won't be long before he does.
I had an enjoyable evening at Aintree where the Skelton's cleaned up once again with a treble. Paul Nicholls' former assistant has already sent out 20 winners this season as Virgilio registered his fourth course win. Once returning home, I watched a re run of the races from Cork and was impressed by the performance of Most Gifted (5/2) in the seven furlongs fillies' maiden. Featured in the Unraced Three Year Olds section of AOTF, the daughter of War Front only made her debut a week earlier over a mile at the Curragh finishing a promising third. Dropping back in trip and appreciating the better ground, she took full advantage of a good draw and wasn't hard pressed to score by a length and a half. Aidan O'Brien's three year olds invariably improve with racing and she looks the type to develop into a black type filly sooner rather than latter.
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