Our racing expert likes the look of three Windsor runners.
Windsor has its usual Monday evening slot and the following three horses all look to have solid chances at the Berkshire venue.
The feature race on the night is the Sky Bet Royal Windsor Stakes, a Listed contest over an extended mile, and David Simcock’s LIGHTNING SPEAR should be up to beating his four inferior-rated rivals. The winner of his first four starts (a maiden and three handicaps) when with the now retired Olly Stevens, he ran some excellent races in defeat when stepped up into Group company, including when finishing in a Group 1 at Deauville last August. The five-year-old son of Pivotal is making his stable / seasonal debut this evening and his in-form trainer is hoping this race can be a stepping stone to greater things later this season.
He wrote in a recent Stable Tour: ‘A lovely acquisition for the yard and, on what we’ve seen so far, he’s pretty talented. He’ll be campaigned in the majority of the top mile races and the Queen Anne [Group 1, Royal Ascot] will be the first big target. As a starting point we’ll look at the Royal Windsor Stakes on Monday. He’s showing up well and could be very good.’
Richard Hannon has his string ticking over nicely and his NISSER could be the answer to the 6f Sky Bet Royal Windsor Sprint Series Handicap over 6f. The three-year-old is the least experienced runner having had just three starts, but that also means the handicapper has had less evidence to go on and he may have let the son of Dream Ahead in lightly on a mark of 85. Having caught the eye when third behind Shalaa (a multiple Group 1 winner since) at Newmarket on his racecourse debut, he was impressive when beating Dream Destination (now rated 95) by nearly four lengths in a 5f maiden here last July, before being put away for the season.
Hannon is hopeful of a more success in 2016, writing in a recent Stable: ‘He’s a good-looking horse we thought an awful lot of as two-year-old. He won his maiden in the end, but he had an easy year and he’s quite unexposed coming into the new season. He’s one who could prove a better than he’s shown so far.’
The Sky Bet Handicap run over 1m2f earlier on the card looks ultra competitive but the Charlie Hills-trained GRAPEVINE looks to have as good a chance as any. He showed only modest form in three 7f maidens as a juvenile last term and as a result was given an initial handicap rating of 74, off which he finished a close third on his seasonal reappearance at Doncaster 17 days ago. That was a cracking effort given his 175-day absence and he was perhaps unlucky not to hold on, having led well over one furlong out before fitness told close home. Out of a 1m2f winner, he looks sure to win races this term and 3lb claimer Michael Murphy, who gave a fine ride on Town Moor, is back on board.