Mark Howard Publications Ltd

Weekend Review

30-April-2018 19:05
in General
by Admin

Cracksman made a dream start to 2018 with a four lengths victory in the Group 1 Prix Ganay at Longchamp on Sunday. Last season's Champion Stakes winner quickened up impressively approaching the final furlong before bounding clear to register an emphatic victory. John Gosden suggested the four year old may contest the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh next month before a tilt at the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot. Having looked a strong stayer over twelve furlongs last term, Cracksman appears to have got quicker with racing producing his best two performances over a mile and a quarter. Proven on quick and slow surfaces, he looks set for another big year and could be one of the stars of the season.

Crystal Ocean was another top-class three year old last year winning the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood before being outstayed in the St Leger at Doncaster. Sir Michael Stoute's colt returned over ten furlongs in the Group 3 Gordon Richards Stakes at Sandown on Friday. A narrow winner from Fabricate, it was an encouraging start to his four year old career given the fact the runner-up had a fitness advantage, plus the trip is shy of his best. It will be interesting to see where the son of Sea The Stars heads next. One would imagine the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot will be one of his main summer targets with one run beforehand.

Stablemate Crystal Hope (14/1), who is featured in the Maidens In Waiting section of Ahead On The Flat, hails from the same family and she left her juvenile form behind with a taking success in the ten furlongs novice stakes at the Esher track. A daughter of Nathaniel, she relished the step up to ten furlongs and won going away by three lengths. While she doesn't hold any fancy entries at this stage, it will be a surprise if she isn't tried in an Oaks trial next time. Given her breeding, there is no reason why she won't stay a mile and a half later on.

The Talking Trainers section in AOTF has been churning out the winners. David O'Meara's horses, in particular, have struck form with Black Isle Boy (16/1), Conversant (8/1), Highland Bobby (5/1) and Stonific (13/2) all scoring in the last three days. Hugo Palmer is another in-form trainer with Mootasadir (4/5), Rashdan (7/2) and Stage Name (12/1) winning during the same time period. Roger Charlton's team have been slower to strike form but the Beckhampton trainer introduced a smart looking prospect in Aspetar in the ten furlongs maiden at Windsor on Monday. A colt by Al Kazeem, Roger gave him a favourable mention on page 62 of AOTF. He looks very much one to follow in the coming weeks and months.

The curtain came down on the National Hunt season on Saturday with Willie Mullins steamrolling Gordon Elliott at the Punchestown Festival. Ireland's champion trainer sent out no less than 18 winners over the five days, earning £1,485,789 in prize-money in the process. It was a staggering performance. The biggest frustration of the week was seeing the previously unbeaten Samcro hit the deck at the third last in the Champion Hurdle on Friday. Thankfully, the Festival winner lives to fight another day and it will be interesting to see which route he takes next winter. Personally, I hope Gigginstown and Gordon Elliott elect to send him chasing. I will be working out the final statistics for One Jump Ahead in the next couple of days and will post them on here.


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