Luke Morris: Via Via has been working very well
Even in the absence of Magic Memory, this looks a very hot Listed race, with a whole host of 100+ horses lining up. Visionary is not one of those, so he has his work cut out at these weights, but Robert has his horses in great form and hopefully a gelding operation since we last saw him has brought about the necessary improvement, as might the first-time cheek pieces here. He showed that he handles these conditions when winning over 6f in the soft at Newbury last season, so hopefully he can run a nice race. He does need to progress a fair bit to be winning this, though, and it is no surprise that he is one of the outsiders.
Olly [Murphy] has obviously made a brilliant start to his training career and I’ve been lucky enough to ride a few winners for him. This horse has joined him after over 18 months off the track, but fitness is rarely a concern with runners from this yard, and he was progressive when we last saw him. He did his most recent winning over 6f but he stays this trip well – indeed he has won over 1m2f – and has winning form in the ground. There are plenty of positives about him, and hopefully another one of those will be the first-time hood.
He has very few miles on the clock for a 6yo, so hopefully there is more to come from him, and his work this spring certainly gives you hope on that score. He has been working very well in the lead-up to this race. He has obviously had his issues down the years but he is a very talented horse when on song, and one that goes well when fresh, as befits a horse with his profile. He didn’t run up to his best when I rode him at Kempton last time but his form claims here rest on his earlier, excellent, third to Bravo Zolo and Lord Glitters at Newmarket. I think he is fairly handicapped on that run and he could well have improved over the winter. Furthermore, I think he will love this soft ground, and the flat, straight track should suit this Newcastle winner. I think he has an excellent each-way chance. I rode Big Country to win the trial at Wolverhampton recently and he did it really well for me there. This race could well suit him, he fully deserves his 5lb penalty he picked up there, and he should go well if handling conditions. I do like my draw, too, as it gives me options if there is a potential bias.
I don’t know a great deal about him to be honest. He’s a Swiss Spirit and there seems to be plenty of speed in his pedigree, so here is hoping that he can go a bit, too. And obviously it has to be a positive that the stable has won this race three times in recent years, including for this owner with He’s So Cool in 2011, I believe. Hopefully, he will be ready for this.
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