Tonight the Champions League Final is expected to have more worldwide viewers than the Superbowl, but I will be tuned into Stratford’s card on ATR – well I will be flicking between channels anyhow!
I kept a watching brief on the afternoon’s Channel Four races, without getting involved financially, like to try to keep powder dry with the flat and stick to the jumps. Though the road to Hell is paved with good intentions and all that, and don’t mind betting on the flat when there isn’t any National Hunt action.
At Haydock it was as nice to see The Cheka come good in the John of Gaunt Stakes after playing the bridesmaid on a few occasions, congrats to Eve Johnson Houghton who follows in her Dad’s shoes and recorded a first group stakes win. Seem to recall from A-Level history that The Cheka was the secret police in Russia?
Earlier on in the Pinnacle Stakes the winner Ferdoos showed a good turn of foot in bettering Vita Nova, but hung quite badly before regaining composure having done similarly the time before when racing in a listed race for previous trainer Michael Jarvis.
The horse was trained to victory by Roger Varian who acknowledges her as a bit babyish, but it may pay to take her on if put in at a short price for likely target the Lancashire Oaks (also entered in a Group race over Irish sea).
Anyhow my attention has been mainly focused on Stratford this evening. The going is good-firm (not ideal) and the card is a little hard to penetrate (such is summer jumps racing!), but I really like the look of Kilburn, who caught my eye when hacking up at Plumpton. The horse was no mug on the flat, being rated 82, and recording three wins on turf, and three on artificial surfaces.
In the lucky last Peter Bowen’s Forever My Friend looks a penalty kick (what price any at Wembley during race?) in the 9:00 Bumper. The four year old conducted himself well in much better company at Aintree on his debut, and is comfortably expected to get off the mark here, take the 11/10 with William Hill.
The Racing Post’s spotlight columnist highlighted the trainer’s record of 0/14 in NHF races at the venue, but am not overly fussed, he’s no mug and is ticking along at 6/33 in the campaign so far.
2 pts Kilburn, 8:30 Stratford, 5/2 with Sportingbet
3 pts Forever My Friend, 9:00 Stratford, 11/10 with William Hill