He is a horse for romantics; and also for fools, as the form book can encourage only the bookmakers who are making him favourite at about 7-1 this morning. Last year's success was from a stone lower in the handicap, and at eight years of age he is surely a little old to show such improvement. His length success at Ascot 10 days ago proves nothing - the favourite ran poorly and the rest were second-rate.
If this afternoon's race is to follow a pattern, it will be a more subtle one. Rambo's Hall tried his luck overseas before returning home so successfully last year, and the winner today should be another ex-British handicapper whose path has taken him abroad.
LOKI (nap 3.40) raced for Geoff Lewis until earlier this year when he joined Dermot Weld in Ireland to pursue a campaign in minor European Pattern races. Most recently he finished just 1 1/2 lengths behind Lucky Guest at Baden- Baden, which implies that he should be carrying about half a stone extra on today's return to handicapping. The sponsors, Hills, may regret offering 25-1 this morning.
Finding winners at Newmarket has an extra urgency today thanks to an almost irresistible carry-over of pounds 440,990.94 in the Tote Jackpot pool. Rambo's Hall may let many backers down, but Further Flight (4.15) has a more straightforward task as he attempts a hat-trick in the Jockey Club Stakes. Prenonamoss (1.55) has claims in another daunting handicap, while Andromaque (2.25) is also worth including.
Runners are thinner on the ground at Chepstow, where the cameras will focus on jumpers for the first time this season. Albemine (next best 3.10) has convincing credentials in the Free Handicap Hurdle, while Dakyns Boy (2.35) may suprise the dual Whitbread winner Topsham Bay in the big chase.
At Longchamp, Francois Boutin should take the Grand Criterium with either Psychobabble (2.50) or Zindari. The former has the assistance of Cash Asmussen, and no one rides Longchamp better. Less steering is required in the five-furlong Prix de l'Abbaye tomorrow, in which Tropical (5.20) is strongly fancied by connections.Reuse content