Regal Realm to hold sway in Nell Gwyn

 

After such a miserable experience at Aintree, it will come as a profound relief for the Turf community to turn its gaze today upon a featureless Suffolk plain. Not that the Rowley Mile is entirely flat. In fact, it is precisely the opportunity to acquaint potential Classic candidates with the Dip – even as a race enters its decisive phase – that gives the Craven meeting its purpose. That is most obviously true of those whose rehearsals qualify them to return in barely a fortnight, for the Guineas, but will also apply to some whose target is instead the Investec Derby over the rollercoaster at Epsom.

Both are represented today, albeit the main focus of the meeting remains the reappearance of Most Improved on tomorrow's card. The heavily backed second favourite for the Qipco 2,000 Guineas will have his trial over the full course and distance, whereas the fillies, who today test their 1,000 Guineas potential in the Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes, must wait for an eighth furlong. That will doubtless leave straws for some to clutch afterwards, but it looks a highly competitive race regardless.

With so many good fillies in his care, and back from Dubai a good deal earlier this time round, Mahmood Al Zarooni seeks a new Blue Bunting. Frankie Dettori rides Pimpernel, who got closest to a smart prospect in Wading over course and distance last autumn. She did not build on that over the synthetic track at Meydan, however, and Mickael Barzalona could well beat Godolphin's senior rider on Minidress. But while she was most impressive on her debut last summer, she looked more of a middle-distance prospect when fourth over this same stretch on her only subsequent start.

Russelliana also looks the sort to come into her own over farther, so it is auspicious that she could chase home Gamilati – Al Zarooni's top Guineas hope, until a setback last month – over just six furlongs on the July Course last year. Clearly not herself at Ascot thereafter, she was not seen again but a top team has plainly got her up and running with the Guineas in mind.

Starscope remains totally unexposed, after a winning debut over the course last autumn, but meets experienced rivals in what may prove a congested finish. Of these, none has more scope for progress than Regal Realm, who repeatedly suggested herself capable of better after beating Gamilati and Samitar on her debut. Picking up late in sprint finishes on her next two starts, she may not have absorbed a recent race when apparently exposing her limitations at Doncaster, and looked clearly over the top after that. Evidently, she has not grown much over the winter, but she hardly has a precocious pedigree and represents a stable with three three-year-old winners from four starters so far.

The road to Epsom, meanwhile, starts in the Blue Square Feilden Stakes, albeit the race contains so many improvers that a watching brief seems prudent. Jungle Beat, for instance, was well backed when beating a useful rival at Newbury last summer, but was not seen again. At this time of year, moreover, it remains perfectly feasible to discover an even better Derby prospect in the 10-furlong maiden that follows.

A less satisfying anomaly sees lucrative sales races continue to undermine the Pattern. Samitar would have been among the favourites for the Nell Gwyn, but once again pursues cash over kudos in the Tattersalls Millions Sprint.

Regardless, it must be hoped that the resumption of high-class Flat racing helps the sport retrieve its bearings after the anguish of Aintree. David Pipe yesterday added his voice to those counselling against a hasty reaction to the loss of two horses in the National. "It's very sad for all concerned, as these horses become a part of your extended family," the trainer said. "However, I urge that we do not make some kind of unfounded, knee-jerk reaction to these losses. As with all competitive sport, there is an element of risk – and Aintree have been at pains to improve safety for many years now. They will review the race as they always do, and make the appropriate improvements."

He added that Junior, who fell at the second, could be turned out in the Scottish version at Ayr on Saturday.

Turf account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Amazing Storm (5.55 Newmarket) Always a hot race, but he can make his experience and fitness count, finally reverting to sprinting after again racing freely on his comeback.

Next best

Zumbi (3.35 Newmarket) Has real scope for improvement, having disappeared after hastening into Group company three weeks after a rare debut win for his stable.

One to watch

On His Own (Willie Mullins) Took to Aintree well, closing into third when caught out by Becher's second time on Saturday. Still lightly raced, he is already shortlisted for next year.

Where the money's going

Lie Forrit is 12-1 from 16-1 with the sponsors for the Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr on Saturday, while another Borders runner, Abbeybraney, is 25-1 from 40-1.

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Life and Style
Sony Computer Entertainment President and Group CEO Andrew House, executive in charge of Sony Network Entertainment, introduces PlayStation Now
tech
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Catherine (Sarah Lancashire) in Happy Valley ((C) Red Productions/Ben Blackall)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Sport
Robin van Persie is blocked by Hugo Lloris
footballTottenham vs Manchester United match report
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Assistant

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Maintenance Assistant is requ...

Recruitment Genius: Business Manager

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?