Four winners yesterday including a 40/1 shot and a 17/2 (backed down from 10s), heralded the beginning of a busy weekend of top quality racing action, both here, Ireland, France and Germany. The 40/1 shot was trained by Nigel Tinkler, whose father Colin effectively rewrote the rules on syndication, with Full Circle, which at one time had 2,500 members. It was also the name of his tipping line, a recorded telephone message service of such duplicity, that you could easily spend a fiver before hearing anything of import. One user once said that Nigel had walked past the window once during recording and Colin had continued taping, while they discussed the first, second and third lots, what the lads had had for breakfast and the transport plans for the next two weeks. Those stupid enough to call his special discreet service, (me), which was only available to a discerning few (everyone), as it had only been advertised in a very few places, (everywhere), were treated to some of the longest monologues in the history of telephony. I remember on one occasion he spoke for at least £10 on the crow that was sitting on the lawn outside his window. It wasn’t doing anything, but Colin went on about the Corvid with a huge amount of “some say…”, “many believe…”, and “I wouldn’t be alone in thinking…” Fortunately, at the time, I was earning enough to occasionally pay for his nonsense, because when he spoke about horses it made sense – the trouble was the intervening gap between Crow and Info. He died aged 89 in October 2015, proof positive that only the good die young because the very clever ones still have a lot to pass onto their equally clever children. He was a good egg and I am delighted that once again the Tinklers will have decent claret for their supper.
The Tuscan Grand Prix takes place this weekend, and the race is being held to celebrate Ferrari’s 1000th entry in the F1 World Championships. The Ferrari cars are all painted in a darker shade of red, mirroring the burgundy colour used by Ferrari’s first F1 car in 1950. The safety car will also carry the red livery, while it is the first time that the Mugello Circuit, which is owned by Ferrari, has hosted an F1 GP. The race will also take place in front of a crowd of some 2,800 fans. On the Richter scale of embarrassment for Ferrari, this celebration will be in the high 9s. Their cars are not working at all well, they have fallen out with a former world champion and even in Friday’s practice, their woes continued with Charles Leclerc spinning off at turn 12, while team-mate Sebastian Vettel ground to a halt out on track at the end of the session with an engine problem.
However, the day was almost as embarrassing for Lando Norris, who put a wheel in the gravel on the exit of turn 3, Poggio Secco, and spun into the wall. Racing Point’s Sergio Perez and Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen, than clashed, with Perez coming out of the pits and failing to see Kimi on a flying lap on his outside, and as the Finn turned into the first corner his right rear wheel clipped the front right of Perez’s car. Perez has been given a one-place grid penalty by the stewards, but the fact that Perez has effectively been sacked by Racing Point, in order to stick Vettel’s bum in his seat, may very well have taken Sergio’s mind off his wing mirror’s view! Sunday may be made all the more memorable as Mick Schumacher will drive his father Michael’s 2004 Ferrari around the Mugello circuit, ahead of the Grand Prix – the very car that gave his father his record seventh and last world title. Mick, is competing in Formula Two and won the feature race at Monza last weekend. I suspect young Mick may very well join Haas next year, whose boss declared last week: “I’m looking for winners”
Talking of which, here are the tips…
1:50 DONCASTER bet365 Champagne Stakes (G2) Cl1 (2yo) 7f 7 run
With a few exceptions this week, when I have confidently felt that the two favourites had it between them, some pocket rocket has appeared out of the clouds in second gear and whistled past. So I am loathe to be too definitive here – and yet I cannot really see past the top two in the market ALBASHEER (Capital P) who hacked up over C&D by 6½l on his debut. CHINDIT has also caught the eye having won twice without really looking as though any of it was troubling to him. He ran in an Ascot Listed race LTO and 2nd and 4th have both won since and another has been placed in a French G3. The apple cart might well be upset by SAINT LAWRENCE who won the Washington Singer Stakes, or perhaps a place might be his fate.
ALBASHEER wins SAINT LAWRENCE e/w
2:05 CHESTER #ChesterRaces Supports The IJF Stand Cup Stakes (Listed) Cl1 (3yo+) 1m4½f 5 run
ALIGNAK had a tough task LTO in the Geoffrey Freer giving weight to some decent youngsters in the Geoffrey Freer at Newbury last time out. I don’t see him reversing places with MORANDO. Spanish Mission won the Doncaster Cup (G2) well on Friday with Selino second. Both met HEREBY in the Listed Chester Stakes LTO and I think that, coupled with his obvious liking for Chester, might be good enough to take victory from ALIGNAK.
HEREBY e/w – SFC ALIGNAK to beat HEREBY
2:25 DONCASTER bet365 Portland Handicap Cl2 (3yo+) 5½f 22 run
The shortlist produced by the trends gives me SOLDIERS MINUTE – MOUNTAIN PEAK – JAWWAAL – ARECIBO – STONE OF DESTINY
Of those SOLDIERS MINUTE ran well at York LTO, and he might have been much nearer considering he raced on the wing of the group up the centre from his low draw. He’s a really useful sprinter on his day. MOUNTAIN PEAK may not have reached the bottom of his handicap mark, and with Atzeni in the plate, he is 2w 2p from 4 runs. ARECIBO has been in the grip of the handicapper but is now 7lbs lower than when 4th in this last year and only 2lbs wrong of his last winning mark. I just wonder whether his heart is in it. JAWWAAL should be given another chance, as he missed all chance when having a bad break LTO and was ridden for position and handicap mark. However, he is up almost a stone for the season and I suspect he might be anchored. I am probably making a mistake in ignoring STONE OF DESTINY who is 2lbs better than his last winning mark – but just seems impossible to win with. If I was going to pick one away from the trends and the high draw, it would be MERAAS who Mark Johnston has been running on Soft ground but has winning good ground form.
MOUNTAIN PEAK e/w – MERAAS e/w
2:40 CHESTER Racing Together How Sport Helps Others Handicap Cl2 (4yo+ 0-105) 1m2½f 7 run
With MAYDANNY a disappointing NR, I suggest staying with the favourite PREJUDICE who has a good draw and should take this easily – providing the jockey keeps up with the pace. If he doesn’t he might gift this to LAWN RANGER.
3:00 DONCASTER bet365 Park Stakes (G2) Cl1 (3yo+) 7f 8 run
Unlucky to run into Safe Voyage in the City of York Stakes LTO, ONE MASTER was the perfectly reasonable favourite, having run a blinder at Goodwood in a G3. I hope she’ll win this and then bid for a hat trick in the Prix de la Foret next month. Unlike LIMATO and WICHITA, she is a proven G1 performer.
ONE MASTER win
3:10 LEOPARDSTOWN Coolmore America ‘Justify’ Matron Stakes (G1) (Fillies & Mares) (Breeders’ Cup Challenge Race) (3yo+) 1m 11 run
FANCY BLUE is an understandable favourite, but I ahve always thought that CHAMPERS ELYSEES would get a mile. She has bloomed this season, destroying a Listed field at the Galway festival LTO and my only concern will be the ground drying out too much.
CHAMPERS ELYSEES e/w
3:35 DONCASTER Pertemps St Leger Stakes (G1) (British Champions Series) Cl1 (3yo) 1m6½f 11 run
The last Classic of this strangest of years and it is a tricky one. The Leger would appear to rest entirely in the grip of the three at the head of the market. Except that in the last 48 hours, there has been a steady gamble on GALILEO CHROME, who has an impressive hat-trick racked up already this season. His latest success was over 13f in a Listed Navan race by 5l and he was, don’t forget Joseph O’Brien’s Derby horse, but for a bruised foot. I suspect his 110 rating is an understatement. Winner of the Irish Derby, SANTIAGO stays well, his stamina is already a gimme, having won over this trip at Royal Ascot, and while he wasn’t quite up to taking on Stradivarius at Goodwood back against his own age group, he can show himself to be the next King of the Stayers. He meets the Great Voltigeur winner PYLEDRIVER, the fairytale horse who nobody lived in the auction ring, and who is now worth shed-loads but is he really a G1 horse? there’s the fast-improver HUKUM who won at Newbury in the G3 Geoffrey Freer. He has only the four races under his belt and is still improving, and he has won at very close-to-the Leger distance. But he too might just be a G3 horse. Then – and isn’t this always the way of the Classics, the press room divides itself between “a Classic year” and “a weak renewal”, so they start looking for the big shock, the Serpentine surprise. I suspect the truth is that only BERKSHIRE ROCCO who chased home Santiago at Royal Ascot in June and stayed on behind Pyledriver at York, is any kind of a challenger, benefitting by a return to a preferred distance and a Leger winning jockey on board.
SANTIAGO wins – BERKSHIRE ROCCO e/w
16:05 DONCASTER Matthew Clark Nursery 8 run C2 1m
TIME INTERVAL win
4:10 LEOPARDSTOWN Irish Champion Stakes (G1) (Breeders’ Cup Challenge Race) (3yo+) 1m2f 6 run