Catching Pigeons: Main event
Our Catching Pigeons feature is back with all the whispers and gossip ahead of the main weekend action.
By Catching Pigeons
Last Updated: 10/05/13 2:58pm
Last year's Investec Derby runner-up Main Sequence makes his seasonal reappearance in Saturday's Buckhounds Stakes at Ascot and there will be many a long face in the David Lanigan yard if he's beaten.
He's been gelded over the winter and his recent work suggests he's ready to making a winning start to his four-year-old campaign, especially with the yard beginning to click into gear. It isn't a straightforward task though with Thomas Chippendale's recent work with First Mohican suggesting he's made significant progress from his reappearance.
It's a decent card at the Berkshire track and Langavat is the subject of a big message going into the opening Betfred Mobile Maiden Stakes. He's been working with the better Richard Hannon two-year-olds and has already been pencilled in for a return to the track for the Royal Meeting.
Jazz shaped well on his Newbury debut and rates a threat but the feeling is he could benefit from an extra furlong even at this early stage.
Richard Hughes is an interesting booking for William Haggas' Westwiththenight who is expected to bring a halt to Sharp And Smart's winning run in the Bovis Homes Fiillies' Handicap.
The strongest word at Lingfield is for Ralph Beckett's Secret Gesture in the Betfred The Bonus King Oaks Trial. This is the race the trainer likes to target his leading Epsom hopes with and this filly is rated superior to Pretty Polly heroine Talent at home and carries maximum stable confidence.
Luca Cumani's team seem more forward than usual and Greatwood's recent work has been very encouraging ahead of the Betfred Derby Trial. He should win although there are plenty of people prepared to give Another Cocktail a second chance after he failed to handle Epsom last time. The step up in trip will suit him.
Tom Eaves heads to Nottingham for one ride on Saturday afternoon, newcomer Duke Cosimo for the in-form Sir Michael Stoute team. He's a nice type who's been found a good opening in the Odds On Favourite DG Taxis 01159 500500 Maiden Stakes.
It may seem strange to devote a chunk of the column to Nicky Henderson but he's confident of landing the feature Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle (formerly the Swinton Hurdle) with Forgotten Voice. This has looked an ideal target for the former Royal Hunt Cup winner all season but connections are casting an anxious eye to the sky as any further rain is very much not in his favour.
Stablemate Tour D'Argent endured no luck at all last season but would have a solid chance in the Pertemps Network Intermediate Handicap Chase although it is a very competitive heat.
There are fewer concerns about the ground at Kempton on Sunday and that has persuaded Henderson to run one of his more promising bumper types, In Fairness, in the finale. He shows smart form at home, Barry Geraghty hangs around to ride, and is expected to win.
The same combination should be on the scoresheet earlier on the card with Black Spirit in the Download The Coral App Novices' Hurdle. He was a good sort on the Flat, shaped encouragingly on his hurdling debut, and seems on particularly good terms with himself right now.
It's the big Dante Meeting at York next week and Liber Nauticus continued her preparations for the Musidora with a spin on the Round Gallop under Ryan Moore. She's a very athletic type who seems to be progressing well.
Roger Varian's team are a little out of-sorts on the track at the moment but continue to look fantastic in themselves in Newmarket and work well. Aljamaheer was one of his team to catch the eye this week.
There's a positive bulletin too for Joyeuse, the two-year-old Oasis Dream half-sister to Frankel, who is showing all the right signs in her early work for Sir Henry Cecil in Newmarket.
At the other end of the spectrum Purple Moon warmed up for a date performing in front of the Queen at the Royal Windsor Horse Show, with a trip to the seaside with several other former Luca Cumani stalwarts including Swop.