There were 18 Group races in England, Ireland and France to feast on over the weekend, half of them at the highest level.
They are going to take some digesting, although I’ve no desire to watch the Clipper Logistics Boomerang Mile for a second time after backing Sinawann at 20-1.
He was ahead a stride before the line and a stride after. And my first instinct was that he was ahead on the line, too, only for commentator Jerry Hannon to ring alarm bells by insisting “oh that’s tight, that’s tight”. It was tight, and the photo revealed Save Voyage had won.
Hannon was again in fabulous form and always seems to get the balance just right. A mine of information, passion, the odd swift quip and, when it’s demanded, growing excitement.
Listen to Hannon call home all the winners at Leopardstown on Saturday.
“Roll up, roll up” brought a smile to my face a furlong and a half out in the Irish Champion Stakes, while “strap yourselves in” was another belter in the Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse in December just when it seemed Fakir D’Ouudairies and Samcro were about to lock horns.
Jack Kennedy and Samcro promptly ignored his advice and fell seconds later.
It would be interesting to see where Hannon ranks in a poll of commentators. We are blessed with plenty of good ones but he’s just about be my first pick and it would be fascinating to hear him call some British races.
Those on duty on Monday have much more modest fare to relay but I’ll be delighted if they call home any of the three tips below in front.
2.05 Thirsk: Nirodha at 4-1 with Betfair, BetVictor and Paddy Power
The Amy Murphy-trained filly is drawn wider than ideal but she’s the only habitual front-runner in the line-up and I’m hoping Kevin Stott will be able to get over quickly and control matters from an early stage.
Norodha will take some stopping if she is afforded a relatively easy time at the head of affairs because she was an emphatic winner from Grace And Virtue (won next time out) over seven furlongs at Haydock last time and is one of the few in the field who seems in much form.
This will be her first go over a mile but she’s bred to enjoy the trip and the manner in which she surged clear late on at Haydock, having looked vulnerable a furlong out, suggests she may well relish it. Her 5lb rise looks fair enough.
The main threats appear to be Roman Spinner, who has run creditably in her two races this term, and Harvest Day, who seeks to repeat her success of 12 months ago, but the pair of them are among several hold-up performers in the field. I can see them getting in the way of each other while Nirodha, hopefully, is turning the screw.
2.40 Thirsk: Double Salmon at 12-1 with bet365
Not a race for big stakes given most of these are lightly raced and/or making their nursery debuts but I was surprised to see Double Salmon chalked up at 12-1.
She’s got some way to go to catch up with her half-sister, the 100-rated Getchagetchagetcha, but she shaped well when a staying-on third over 5f at Catterick last time and the step up to 6f seems certain to suit.
The winner of the Catterick race has subsequently not been disgraced off a mark of 71, suggesting Double Salmon has potentially got in lightly off 58.
You can read her two-month absence two ways – either she’s had a setback since we last saw her or she’s been given a bit of time after being allotted a mark. Naturally, I’m hoping it’s the latter.
She’s trained by John Quinn, responsible for Safe Voyage, the narrow conqueror of Sinawann. Sometimes these things can balance themselves out.
6.50 Wolverhampton: Final Thought at 13-8 with SkyBet
Saeed Bin Suroor began the year with a flurry of winners at the Dubai Winter Carnival at Meydan but he has not had much to shout about since and languishes 36th in the trainers’ championship.
He will be hoping the dry spell continues into the autumn so that his stable star, Benbatl, can perhaps salvage something for him. Ten of his 25 winners in Britain this year have been achieved on all-weather tracks and Final Thought is an obvious player here stepping up to a trip in keeping with her breeding.
The daughter of Sea The Stars was a big eye-catcher when a staying-on fourth on her debut at Beverley, having been last turning in, and bumped into one last time at Yarmouth when chasing home Indigo Girl. The winner showed what she was all about when subsequently following up in the Group Two May Hill Stakes at Doncaster last Thursday.
Final Thought switches to handicap ranks off a mark of 75 and can win at the main expense of 6-1 chance Farhan, who was a heavily-backed favourite when going close here last time.
Select any odd to add a bet