I was at Chelmsford when Gracious John got beaten and nearly ran off the track. I had a chat with jockey John Egan and he said to put a line through the run. He raced on the wrong leg for most of the left-handed turn into the straight.
He looked me straight in the eye and said – he’ll win on Good Friday, March 25 in the sprint at Lingfield.
Looking at him in the parade ring beforehand, he’s head & shoulders the best three-year-old sprinter about on the dirt right now.
But we’ve some business to take care of first tonight.
La Asomada, Wolverhampton, 5f, 5.20pm
Just the three starts last year for David Barron’s filly and she starts handicapping on a very workable mark. Her best start last year was up at Mussleburgh when beaten only three parts of a length by Searanger. Needs to prove she is as effective around here but Graham Gibbons is probably the best sprint-jockey around.
Bayan Kasirga, Wolverhampton, 1m 4f 5.50pm
The seven-time winner had a nightmare run round last time over course and distance. But was still only beaten four lengths into sixth despite being hampered early and getting checked quite badly two furlongs out. Still managed to keep going but could not reach the leaders. On form, Richard Fahey’s filly has the beating of the top weight Celestial Bay on her Boxing Day win here and has won around the track twice before.
Shalaman, Dundalk, 2m, 7.05pm
David Marnane’s runner is surprisingly untested runner over the two-mile trip but has excellent form over 10 furlongs, including when beating Parish Hall here nearly 12 months ago. His 1m 4f form indicates that he’s been able to close off a strong pace and stay on very well, but get out-paced when there’s no gallop. A step up to 2m looks perfect to me.
Turbine, Dundalk, 7f, 7:35pm
The Mark Johnston juggernaut rolls into town at the Co Louth track and this looks a perfect opportunity to get qualified for all-weather Championships on Good Friday at Lingfield. Turbine made short work of a fair maiden field at Wolverhampton before going to Lingfield for a fast-track qualifier and running fourth behind the much more experienced Race Day.
The runner-up in the race Special Season went on to win a pretty good novice stakes race at Lingfield. There’s also three rivals on Friday night and Johnston is coming to get the euros.
Tom Dooley, Dundalk, 1m, 8.35pm
Hopefully, we’ll be able to get the money back tonight as he was an expensive failure at Wolverhampton seven days ago.
He looked a little rusty in the UK after 100 days off the track, but has dropped to a very attractive mark. His second try for a shrewd outfit should be more productive and while stall 13 isn’t ideal, Tom Dooley will have time to get sorted over this one mile trip.