Having anticipated last week for so long, some Cheltenham diehards will be appalled to discover that a new Flat season opens at Doncaster on Friday. Others, however, will recognise that so rich a banquet can only really be followed by a total change of taste – even if Town Moor is set to provide conditions better suited to steeplechasing.
Soft going at Doncaster may only delay a flying start to the campaign for a young trainer literally going places in 2013. Marco Botti, who has just moved across Newmarket to purpose-built premises, stressed yesterday that Solar Deity – “in fabulous order” after winning four times on the all-weather during the winter – would need better ground for the William Hill Lincoln Handicap on Saturday.
The following weekend, however, Botti will find himself in a very different environment when Planteur has another crack at the Dubai World Cup. Third in the race last year, on his first start for Botti, the French export only had a light campaign back in Europe and was returning from a long break when winning a listed race on the all-weather last month.
“I was very pleased with him at Lingfield,” Botti said. “I knew he’d need it a lot. Adam [Kirby, his rider] felt he had a lot in hand, and he never wins very far. We made the running that day.
“The Dubai World Cup can be slowly run, so we know we can lead if we have to,” he added. “When he comes back, we will go carefully through the summer, pick his races, but hopefully he will end up in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He would probably take to the dirt.”
Botti, who has shown such enterprise in launching his career on the international stage, will be duly grateful for the latest concessions to overseas raiders announced by organisers of the Breeders’ Cup. As well as continuing to make entry less prohibitive, in both eligibility and fees, they have now added a $40,000 (£26,500) travel bursary.
Dandino, a new recruit, is heading in a different direction, having been bought with the Melbourne Cup in mind. But perhaps Botti’s top ambition from his new stable is to win a maiden Group One in Britain – with Moohaajim first up in the Qipco 2,000 Guineas, after rounding off his first season with an excellent second in the Middle Park. He will have his rehearsal in the Greenham at Newbury.
Chris McGrath’s Nap: Miako (4.20 Southwell)
Dirt pedigree and made due improvement when introduced to this surface last time, looking more than equal to his revised mark today.
Next best: All The Winds (4.40 Wolverhampton)
Back to form here last time, and well treated even before taking his talented young rider’s claim into account.
One to watch: Kid Cassidy (Nicky Henderson) pulled clear of the third in the Grand Annual at Cheltenham on Friday and might have done better still produced with more patience.