Bolshoi Ballet had the wow factor when surging clear in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown Sunday and it is going to take something very special at York this week to dislodge him as favourite for next month’s Cazoo Derby.
Monday’s fare provides a pause in sifting through clues for Epsom but does feature Listed action at Windsor plus an intriguing Grade Three Chase on day two of Killarney's may meeting, featuring two-time Cheltenham Festival winner Samcro plus the classy but clumsy Cilaos Emery.
I was tempted to put up Easy Game but he seems best on decent ground and the times on Sunday suggested the going was quite slow, with more rain a possibility. Given the uncertainty, I’ll just be an interested observer. That race is on Racing TV at 6.40pm.
4.25 Windsor: Galactic Glow at a general 28-1
This is trappy but the general 28-1 on offer about Galactic Glow is impossible to resist. The Luke Dace-trained four-year-old has yet to win a race but he remains low mileage and everything looks in place for him to outrun his odds.
He finished behind Hawridge Storm and Leroy Leroy, who he meets again, in a similar handicap over course and distance last month but the bare form may be misleading as, unlike that pair, he was exposed to a brisk pace (after being a little keen early on) and that was compounded when he was driven to the front two out.
A 3lb drop in the weights looks generous and Galactic Glow’s form in the autumn of last year, when he went close at Yarmouth and Newmarket off higher marks, also points to the slower ground being a plus. David Egan has never previously ridden for the trainer and is an eye-catching jockey booking, too.
4.45 Lingfield: Zikany at a general 7-2
Sir Michael Stoute has won with nine of his 22 runners on the all-weather at Lingfield since 2020 and Zikany looks a fair bet to improve that strike-rate. He’s not achieved much in three starts but I fancy his connections have just been scratching the surface and the exploits of a couple of siblings, Soffika and Dubka, also trained by Stoute, point to an initial handicap mark of 69 being lenient. Both were placed in Group company, with the latter rated 102.
Zikany had no chance of getting involved from off the pace in a useful but slow-run novice event at Windsor on his return last month, and before that his keeping-on fourth behind Emperor Spirit and Inigo Jones under considerate handling at Wolverhampton, was not without merit. The first two home that day now boast ratings of 89 and 96.
The regally bred Spirit Mixer, by Frankel out of Arabian Dream, is bound to be popular after an eye-catching fourth at Wolverhampton last time, but he carried his head a little awkwardly and the fact he’s already been gelded also tells you something.
5.00 Catterick: The Great Heir at 12-1 with bet365
It’s probably slipped your mind (it had mine) that The Great Heir won a £300,000 Sales’ race at York as a two-year-old at Doncaster in 2018. That was his third success of a productive campaign for Kevin Ryan but 19 subsequent runs have failed to yield another success plus led to a change of trainer, with Adrian Nicholls now guiding his career.
The Great Heir has tumbled 16lb in the ratings during his barren spell but three near-misses at Newcastle during the winter indicate he is far from a lost cause. He also shaped nicely on his first start for Nicholls in an 18-runner contest at Doncaster last month when beaten little more than five lengths having been last with three furlongs to run.
The five-year-old was not given a hard time and would have finished closer but for running into some traffic problems. Moreover, the cheekpieces he usually wears were left off that day but are back on this time.
Seven furlongs is his optimum trip and he is versatile regards the ground, while the experienced Laura Coughlan (this race is exclusively for apprentices) rode a winner for the yard on Saturday and Timeform suggest an impressive 75 per cent of the horses she’s been riding have been running to form.
Nicholls is also 6-25 with his runners at Catterick. If you’d backed him blind at the track and put £1 on each, you would be showing a £21.75 profit. Etikaal and Nordic Five are feared most.
6.30 Windsor: Brentford Hope at 7-2 with William Hill
The official ratings suggest Brentford Hope is the weakest link in this six-runner Listed contest but, unlike his rivals, we simply don’t know just how good he might be and I’m happy to take a punt on him improving past them.
It’s been far from plain sailing with him since his taking debut win at Newmarket in the autumn of 2019, which led to Derby chatter, but he again looked a most exciting prospect when, dropped to a mile, he won a handicap in the mud at Haydock in October without coming off the bridle. He looked all over a pattern performer that day, albeit perhaps one who needs plenty of give underfoot to be seen to maximum advantage.
There should be enough juice underfoot after the weekend rain, and his near seven-month absence is not a great concern given he had been teed up for the Lincoln in late March – only to miss that contest because of the quickish going. He was also declared at Chester last week, but missed that engagement as well.
Tactically, it could get messy with no habitual front-runners in the field, but Jamie Spencer rode Brentford Hope forward with no cover at Haydock and I wouldn’t be surprised if let his partner bowl along at the head of the field. He may just end up be gifted an easy lead.
Oh This Is Us has gone close in the past two renewals of this race and had Solid Stone and Qaysar behind when springing a 66-1 surprise at Ascot last time. It could be that Solid Stone, 3lb better off and straighter of the run, turns the tables and provides the greatest threat.
Select any odd to add a bet