1.15 Newbury – KATABATIKA
The selection is a daughter of Shirocco who is closely related to Listed-placed 8-12f winner Duretto (by Manduro) and a half sister to Listed-placed 11.5-14f winner Nabatean and 1m 3yo Flat/2m hurdle/dual 2m chase winner Hallings Comet, out of a Group 3-placed Italian 9-12f winner (including at Listed level) who was the daughter of a German 7-9.5f winning half sister to high-class 11-12f winner (including at Group 1 level) Hollywood Dream. This filly is trained by Hughie Morrison and makes a fair amount of appeal on paper, her pedigree more about middle distances but her close relation Duretto and half brother Hallings Comet both filling second position on debut at this meeting over course and distance as two-year-olds. The fact she also starts out in this particular maiden is interesting, her stable landing this contest twice in recent seasons including with subsequent Oaks runner-up Shirocco Star in 2011 (also won it last year with Last Tango Inparis); for all the vast majority of its youngsters improve for a run, it isn’t unknown for them to have debut winners here and no surprise to see this filly go well.
3.15 Doncaster – TO BE WILD (nap)
The selection, trained by Hugo Palmer, is a nicely-bred son of Big Bad Bob who shaped really well on his sole outing at two in a 1m maiden at Newmarket last September (33/1 chance), pulling hard in rear and pushed along in last place passing halfway, getting the idea inside the two furlong marker and staying on well throughout the final furlong to take fifth behind Mustajeer (beaten 8½ lengths). He made a winning return to action in a 12f maiden at Ffos Las in July (4/6 favourite), disputing the lead until taking over still going well at the three furlong marker, shaken up two furlongs out and, despite edging right inside the final furlong, always in control as he saw off Sir Valentine by 1¾ lengths. It was no mean feat for this colt to brush aside both a 10-month absence and a pair of next-time-out winners, and, for all an opening mark of 93 can hardly be termed lenient, the fact he was under consideration for races such as the Great Voltigeur and St Leger says plenty. He remains open to significant improvement after just two career starts and, with champion apprentice Josephine Gordon taking 3lbs off, it would be something of a disappointment if this son of Big Bad Bob couldn’t take this en route to bigger and better things.
4.15 Kelso – BIG RIVER (nb)
The selection, trained by Lucinda Russell, is a son of Milan who shaped really well on debut in what proved to be a strong bumper at Newcastle won by Brain Power in February 2015, and he duly went one better in a bumper here a month later, prominent from the outset and showing a very likeable attitude to fend off Gully’s Edge by a neck. He made a winning start over obstacles when landing a maiden hurdle over this course and distance on this very card 12 months ago (13/8 favourite), travelling powerfully in behind the leaders and moving closer after three out, ridden to challenge at the last and staying on well on the flat to score 2 lengths from Just Georgie. That proved to be his one and only outing of the campaign, presumably suffering a setback, but he makes his return to action in a handicap from what appeals as an attractive opening mark of 115 given the form he’s achieved already. He boasts significantly more potential than his more exposed rivals and has already proven he can go well fresh, whilst he’s shown himself effective around here; it’d be rather disappointing if he couldn’t make a winning return to action.