Apologies for the lack of updates re the Diary during the last fortnight, it has been a busy spell recently. I was working for Racing TV at Redcar on Bank Holiday Monday and I am heading north of the border to Hamilton on Wednesday and Wetherby on Thursday. The highlight at the Cleveland track on Monday was Al Muffrih's victory in the Zetland Gold Cup for William Haggas and Danny Tudhope. The highly regarded four year old had raced too keenly on his reappearance in the nine furlongs Suffolk Handicap at Newmarket's Guineas meeting and was fitted with a hood for the first time. The gelded son of Sea The Stars settled much better and was given a fine ride. Making the most of a gap on the far rail, he stayed on well to beat the three year old Leroy Leroy by a head. Scoring off a mark of 91, he is likely to step up to a mile and a half for the first time in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes at Royal Ascot next month. Lightly raced, Al Muffrih is open to further improvement.
Talking of progressive four year olds, Ian Williams appears to have a useful type in Ship of The Fen (2/1). Featured in the Significant Sales section of Ahead On The Flat, the gelded son of Champs Elysees was bought out of Martyn Meade's yard for 65,000gns last Autumn. Having his first run for his new connections at Salisbury on Saturday evening, Jason Watson's mount relished the step up to a mile and six for the first time and powered away to win by four and a half lengths off a mark of 82. Only raised five pounds since, he remains a well handicapped horse and very much one to follow. I will be surprised if he doesn't win more races and looks capable of bagging a good prize this year.
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