I spent much of the winter convinced Albigna would win the Qipco 1000 Guineas but she would have had her work cut out at Newmarket because Love turned the race into an exhibition.
Albigna will not have her to contend with her in the Tattersalls-sponsored Irish equivalent at the Curragh this evening and is definitely the one to beat, but I’m not telling you anything you probably don’t already know and the best price of 2-1 is not a gift given that Fancy Blue and New York Girl were taking winners in the autumn and slot into the “could be anything” category.
There’s plenty of competitive domestic action to get our teeth into, especially at Sandown where I’m hoping a couple of runners will show the benefit of a recent run against rivals who, mostly, will be returning from lengthy lay-offs on rain-softened ground.
Lyndon B trailed home last in a 7f handicap at Newmarket last week when having his first start for Jamie Osborne, but the bare facts are misleading because he swept through from last to first, out wide, in the second half of the race before that effort inevitably took its toll. He was racing on the wrong part of the track, too, and his rider quickly accepted the situation.
He should be sharper this time and the return to a mile, plus a 2lb drop in the weights, will also help his cause. He is only 3lb higher than when scoring over course and distance last summer plus I have a hunch he will also enjoy getting on some easier ground. In addition, his jockey, Dougie Costello has been among the winners since racing resumed and went close on a similar type for the stable (Cliffs Of Capri) on the Rowley Mile.
Osborne has resisted reaching for the headgear that Lyndon B wore for his former yard and perhaps he will review that if he hints at awkwardness. That was not evident at Newmarket, though, and the 25-1 on offer is worth a second look.
Tomfre appeals in the 7f Sutton Handicap after a creditable return at Lingfield last week, on his all-weather debut, when beaten less than two lengths. He would phave gone even closer had he not raced so freely but, hopefully, he will be less exuberant with that outing behind him.
Last year, he showed a good attitude to win four races and he was 2-2 in handicaps, on the latter occasion having Ascension about three lengths back in fourth when scoring at Newmarket. He is weighted to confirm that form and yet he’s available at 8-1, whereas Ascension, who has since been absent eight months, is no bigger than 11-4. Go figure.
My other fancy on the card is Leoncavallo, who is awarded the "nap" in the first division of the 1m6f Oxshott Handicap.
The eight-year-old has moved to his fifth different trainer in the shape of David Pipe since we last saw him in action and he will be having his first run on the Flat since the autumn of 2016, when he was in the care of Charlie Appleby.
He’s proved difficult to win with over hurdles in the intervening 1349 days (just one success at Ludlow) but merely been a victim of his own consistency. Rated 143 in that sphere, he reverts to the level on a mark of 73 and if able to translate the form he is capable of over jumps then he will be well ahead of the handicapper.
Pipe has given him a wind op and is equipping him with a first-time tongue tie. Seaborn heads the market, but he rose 22lb in the ratings after a prolific time last year and could be vulnerable.
Dr Richard Newland, one of Leoncavallo’s former trainers, can click with Employer in the 1m2f handicap sponsored by Mansionbet at Newbury.
Th five-year-old failed to get his head in front for Jim Goldie last year and has not always looked the most resolute but, on the plus side, he went close on several occasions and has slipped to a mark 11lb lower than at the start of last campaign
Newland has got the best out of similar types on numerous occasions and it will not be lost him that Employer has always gone well fresh, including first time up last year when runner-up at Doncaster at 40-1.
He is not such fancy odds this time but he’s slipped into a 0-70 for the first time, is running over his optimum trip and the excellent Andrea Atzeni, fresh from riding a treble at Newbury on Thursday, will be on his back.
Finally, I cannot resist having a small punt on Presidential at a general 9-1 in the Betway Casino Handicap at Doncaster.
He proved something of a tease last season but he goes well fresh and has run some of his best races at Town Moor. Roger Fell’s six-year-old is back down to his last winning mark and Ben Curtis knows him well.
How To Bet £20 on Saturday:
1.15 Newbury: Employer £4 win at 5-1 with William Hill
2.05 Sandown: Tomfre £3 win at 8-1 with SkyBet
2.15 Doncaster: Presidential £2 win at ageneral 9-1
3.15 Sandown: Lyndon B £2 each-way at 25-1 with Betfair and Paddy Power
4.20 Sandown: Leoncavallo £6 win at 5-1 with William Hill
Plus a £1 win double on Employer (5-1) and Leoncavallo (5-1) with William Hill
£2 Win Patent
1.15 Newbury: Employer
2.05 Sandown: Tomfre
4.20 Sandown: Leoncavallo
Above trio in a 20p Win Super Yankee and 40p each-way accumulator with
2.15 Doncaster: Presidential
3.15 Sandown: Lyndon B
Select any odd to add a bet