A good start will be as important as a good finish for Grandeur, favourite for the Winter Derby at Lingfield.
From a draw on the wide outside and with less than a furlong to the first bend, even this classy grey is likely to find the race beyond him if he is not out of the blocks smartly.
His backers will be comforted that Ryan Moore is in the saddle, but they will start to breathe more easily only if he gets the first bit right.
It’s by no means mission impossible. Two years ago, Premio Loco (a standing dish in this race) came out of stall 11 to beat horses drawn 13 and 12. A quick start was the key; once a good early position was secured the rest was straightforward.
Grandeur (3.50 Lingfield) has been keeping much better company around the world and should win with a bit to spare, all things being equal. Cheekpieces have been fitted to keep his mind on the job if and when he hits the front, but if the start’s good, the finish should take care of itself.
An attractive each-way alternative is the well-drawn Rebellious Guest, not in Grandeur’s league on form, but a late developer who improved again when stepped up to this trip.
Ertijaal (3.15, Lingfield), a live outsider for the 2,000 Guineas, has also been drawn out with the washing in the Spring Cup, although if he is as good as he looked last year, he will probably win anyway.
Tim Easterby enjoyed a productive Cheltenham Festival and could have the answer to the wide-open Hurdle Finale with Run Ructions Run (2.55 Newbury), while Balzaccio (2.20 Newbury) is down to a winning mark in the handicap chase.
Jump jockey Joe Tizzard, 34, best known for his association with top chaser Cue Card, announced his immediate retirement yesterday.
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