Had the innovative agenda of Racing For Change animated the debate over its switch from Wednesday to Saturday in 1995, perhaps the Investec Derby would now have found its optimal niche at an evening meeting instead. As things stand, tonight's Blue Square card at Sandown remains the best of the year for thirsty Londoners on a summer night.
It would not be at all surprising should they see a winner competent to follow up at Royal Ascot next month. Given the depth of juvenile resources already established by Richard Hannon, for instance, Cape To Rio will be expected to extend his stable's fine record in the National Stakes.
And the Gold Cup at Ascot looks a guaranteed target for the winner of the Henry II Stakes. Opinion Poll strolled home by 10 lengths on his comeback at Nottingham, but the ground will be much quicker tonight and only the discouraging form of Saeed Bin Suroor's stable tempers interest in Darley Sun. Stand by, meanwhile, for dramatic improvement from Saptapadi now that he steps up in distance.
His connections provide a strong fancy for the Brigadier Gerard Stakes in Glass Harmonium, who is emulating many of their previous models by thriving with maturity.
His trainer, Sir Michael Stoute, yesterday confirmed his intention to persevere towards the Derby with Workforce after taking the colt for a gallop over the all-weather track at Lingfield. An arresting winner of his debut at Goodwood last autumn, Workforce looked green and awkward on the firm ground in the Dante Stakes and clearly remains entitled to major progress at Epsom.
Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to Prince Khaled Abdulla, confirmed that his patron would probably be represented by both Workforce and Bullet Train, winner of the Lingfield Derby Trial for Henry Cecil. "Workforce travelled very smoothly in between two lead horses, quickened up nicely to go between them, and went on with the other horse to finish nicely on the bridle," Grimthorpe said. "The whole idea was just to give him a bit more racecourse experience, really. He's only had two starts. I have to speak to the prince just to confirm he's happy [but] Sir Michael was very positive and I would say it would be all systems go."
Leonid Glow (8.40 Newcastle) Is in the form of her life for a flourishing stable, always going well to win at Thirsk and then beaten only by a well-treated rival at Doncaster last time.
Fallen Idol (8.20 Sandown) Perhaps more style than substance to his reappearance win over course and distance, but unmistakably exudes class and every right to build on an immaculate start to his career.
One to watch
Brushing (M H Tompkins) Confirmed that she is handicapped to win soon when storming up the hill after a troubled run at Sandown the other day, looking ready for 10f.
Where the money's going
Remember When, still a maiden but an excellent fourth in the Irish 1,000 Guineas on Sunday, is 8-1 from 12-1 with Coral for the Investec Oaks.Reuse content