Juliette's Weekly Frolic
Connoisseurs of well-born thoroughbreds will be in their element at Newbury this Saturday. The clash between the Dewhurst and Royal Lodge winners, Lunchtime and Adios, in the Greenham Stakes merely serves as an appetiser for the Rheingold/Steel Pulse/Knockroe show an hour later, the two races being separated by the Spring Cup, of which it would take a brave punter to pick the winner. Something to unstick the two ' Greenham ' hotpots, is more in my line. After all, Sharp Edge failed to pay tribute to Adios last Tuesday, while in his Racehorses of 1972, Phil Bull is not exactly bowled over by the credentials of Lunchtime. All of which could leave the way open for The Prof. A failed favourite for the Gimcrack and Champagne Stakes, he may not have beaten much at Doncaster on the opening day of the season, but his fitness at least is not in question.
No classic trial at Ayr this Saturday, but a splendid mixed menu kicking off with round two of the ' Roll-up ' and moving on to the Scottish versions of the Grand National and the Champion Hurdle. This time contestants for the Tote race are required to cover ten furlongs, but the fact that Goodison — alloted a mere 8.1 in the Thirsk Spring Cup the same afternoon — heads the weights at 9.3 indicates that quality has taken a dive. In company, I fear, with the bookmakers I must bow to the superior talents of Damastown. His three wins last year were interspersed with some dismal displays, but John Sutcliffe had a rotten time with the virus and this, not inconsistency, could well have been the problem.
With the added money now topping the £8,000 mark the Scottish Grand National must surely be the most valuable 'chase untouched by sponsorship, and, not surprisingly, has attracted a large and splendid field. Of the top weights I like The Spaniard, who has had a ten-week layoff since falling at Warwick, and in the mid-division, Bountiful Charles, who has achieved some remarkable feats for a novice (Red Rum has been among his more notable victims). But I am tempted by the outsider, King's Lure. He has acquired a habit of dropping himself right out in his races only to come on the scene too late — tactics which could pay off over this extended four miles.
Assets: £79.08 (five to follow, £14.52). Outlay: £3 to win Damastown, £2 to win The Prof and E2 ew King's Lure.