Talking Horses: Blue Point's success adds to Churchill reputation

Chris Cook
The Guardian
<span class="element-image__caption">Blue Point showed plenty of speed on his way to Ascot success on Wednesday.</span> <span class="element-image__credit">Photograph: Adam Davy/PA</span>
Blue Point showed plenty of speed on his way to Ascot success on Wednesday. Photograph: Adam Davy/PA

Today’s best bets, by Chris Cook 

When you invite a trainer to offer an excuse for a horse, they generally do so with alacrity. So it was interesting that Charlie Appleby turned down the opportunity at Ascot yesterday after Blue Point got back in the winner’s enclosure for the first time since the Gimcrack. 

I asked him if, with the benefit of six months to reflect on it, he could offer any more insights into Blue Point’s third place in the Dewhurst. “He might just have met one or two too good,” was the response. 

The Dewhurst was won by Churchill, with his pacemaker hanging on for second place. Appleby predicted, correctly, that Churchill’s odds for Saturday’s 2,000 Guineas would shorten in the wake of Blue Point’s reappearance win. 

Churchill hasn’t run since but other Dewhurst runners have shown that form to be strong. Lancaster Bomber, the runner-up, was second again at the Breeders’ Cup. Thunder Snow, fourth, has won all three starts since, including the UAE Derby, and will have a crack at the Kentucky Derby on Saturday night. Rivet, fifth, won the Racing Post Trophy next time. 

Other Guineas contenders have pressed the case for themselves more recently than Churchill. But that piece of autumn form looks the gold standard at this stage.

Apprentice handicaps at Catterick are not usually as strong as the Dewhurst but one such race from last week seems to hold the answer to tonight’s closer at Musselburgh. Tanawar (8.40) got back to winning ways for the first time since 2015 and is unpenalised as he attempts to follow up. 

The main worry on these occasions is often whether the horse will be able to run to a similar level just a week later. In Tanawar’s case, we know that he can because he did that very thing in September 2015. Having won a Redcar apprentice handicap, he won unpenalised seven days later at Carlisle under Jimmy Sullivan, who has the ride again tonight. So this is a trick that Ruth Carr has turned before and I imagine she’ll be able to do so again, with her string in such fine form. Tanawar is 6-4. 

An hour earlier, Cosmic Tigress (7.40) appeals at 7-2. Two from two at Musselburgh, including a hurdle race, she scored at Wolves two runs ago and may not have liked the Fibresand when stuffed last time. Sebastian’s Wish is more obvious but his last-time win was more than three months ago and his stable seems out of sorts just now. 

Also a 7-2 shot is Pearly Prince (5.10) in the last at, ugh, Lingfield. Nothing went right for him when he was fifth there on his reappearance in March and now Silvestre De Sousa takes to the saddle. This is a maiden from a low-profile yard so maximum confidence is not warranted but he should go well. 

Thursday racing tips

Our Little Pony 2.30 Bella Alissa 3.00 Daira Bridge 3.30 Manatee Bay 4.00 Snookered 4.30 Gilgamesh 5.00 Rita’s Man
Pillar Of Society 2.40 Flowers On Venus 3.10 Author’s Dream 3.40 Synodic 4.10 Endless Charm 4.40 Welsh Rose 5.10 Pearly Prince (nb)
Mister Showman 2.50 Sam Red 3.20 Shrubland 3.50 Adarenna 4.20 Kayla 4.50 Brown Bear 5.25 Rose Tree
Dubai Celebrity 6.00 Banny’s Lad 6.30 Mitcd 7.00 Gambol 7.30 I’m Still Waiting 8.00 Scorpion Star 8.30 Brecon Hill
Longroom 6.40 Benjamin Thomas 7.10 Vizier 7.40 Cosmic Tigress 8.10 Desert Ace 8.40 Tanawar (nap)

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