She has the pedigree – she is by Galileo out of a mare who won at up to Group 2 level over 6f, and who handled soft ground well – and hopefully she can put up a good performance on her debut and give us something to build on. A mile certainly looks a good starting point for her on pedigree, but she will probably be better next year over a longer trip.
Obviously, the 3lb penalty that he picked up for winning the Bahrain Trophy earlier in the season isn’t ideal but that is just about where the negatives end. Okay, maybe ideally he would want better ground, but he did well to win at Ascot last time under a 5lb penalty – he was always going to get the race in the stewards’ enquiry after getting a bump close home there – and his earlier form stacks up very well. He has finished second in all three of his starts at this course, but hopefully he can go one better here. I do think he would want better ground, as he has got pacier throughout the season, but I generally don’t think horses get the credit for winning conditions races under a penalty, as he did at Ascot. It’s tough to do that. However, Frontiersman undoubtedly sets the form standard and is unpenalised, and this race does have a fair bit of strength and depth to it for a Group 3, but my horse is honest and straightforward and goes there with a decent chance.
She changed hands for 55,000 euros at the sales last month and she looks a shrewd purchase judged on her nursery win off a mark of 86 at Naas a fortnight ago. The Birdcatcher is always a valuable and competitive nursery, so she did well to win there. She is now rated 95, which should already make her competitive in this company, and she clearly handles soft ground well. And the extra furlong shouldn’t be a problem on run-style and pedigree. I do know that Ger thinks she is a very much a filly for next year as she matures physically, but hopefully she can still be competitive here.
Walk On Walter
I’m sure everyone saw his run at Kempton last time, where he probably would have won, and won well, had he kept straight. But he didn’t, and, as I told the stewards, he was virtually unrideable there as he hung and drifted left up the straight. Hopefully there will be no such repeat here – and we put a hood on him here to help – and at least Kempton showed us that he definitely has the ability to be winning a race of this nature if he behaves himself.
This is the first time I have ridden him but he comes here after a good run at Pontefract in the soft over a mile, and a mark of 71 looks okay for him. And David [Simcock] clearly thinks cheekpieces will help him, too. He steps down to 7f for the first time, having been tried over much further, but it looks worth trying on the evidence of Pontefract.
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