May 1 – Salisbury – Spirit Mixer – 99 

Only four runners for this staying handicap, but the time figure suggested the pace was generous throughout and the winner once again proved his liking for the C&D. Scoring with a bit in hand, Andrew Balding’s gelding may improve further granted a even greater test and he looks one to keep on side in similar handicaps in due course.

May 4 – Gowran – Rumbles Of Thunder – 96

Shaping as though in need of the run first time out for new connections at Cork, Paddy Twomey’s filly justified that opinion in pretty stylish fashion at the second time of asking. In what turned out to be a well-run affair at the Co Kenny venue, the daughter of Night Of Thunder stayed on very strongly in the latter stages to pull right away from her rivals and this performance should turn out to be a stepping stone to even greater things.

May 6 – Chester – Solid Stone – 98

A race for which Sir Michael Stoute had a fine record, the Newmarket handler further enhanced his impressive tally with this thoroughly durable and likeable six-year-old. A three-time winner last season, it was noticeable that all his best performances came when there was a strong pace, so the fact there was no hanging around on the Roodee really played into his strengths. Likely to head to the Royal meeting again in a bid to better last year’s third in the Wolferton Stakes, the son of Shamardal is sure to give another solid account.

May 7 – Ascot – Juan De Montalban – 99 

A hugely-competitive race on paper, roughly 6-1 the field in the morning lists, ended up being won in pretty decisive fashion by a horse seemingly revitalised by his new yard. Promising on his first start for Kevin Philippart De Foy, the four-year-old chestnut travelled noticeably well in behind the speed at the Berkshire venue and when asked to go and put the race to bed inside the final two furlongs, he readily pulled clear. Despite a likely stiff hike by the assessor, he will still remain of some interest for the Duke Of Edinburgh back at the Royal meeting.

May 7 – Ascot – Noble Style – 93

Several well-touted juveniles went to post in what is always an informative two-year-old contest and this year’s renewal should prove no different, with the winner taking high rank among his peers based on the speed figure he produced. Tracking the pace towards the nearside, Charlie Appleby’s colt found an impressive turn of foot to wear down the strongly fancied breeze-up horse, Walbank, and with the pair well clear of the experienced Redemption Time, the form looks particularly strong. Likely to have one more run with a view to see whether he requires an extra furlong or not, he will be a force to be reckoned with come the Royal meeting next month whichever race connections choose.

May 7 – Lingfield – United Nations – 99

Similar to last year’s renewal won by subsequent Derby hero Adayar, the speed figure suggests this was a proper trial for Epsom and the front two look leading contenders based on the data. The winner just showed better track craft during the journey and he was also tough as teak under pressure, two qualities that should stand him in good stead come the first Saturday in June. The runner-up, on the other hand, was a little too keen for his own good early and he also didn’t handle the home bend as well as the winner, so to run the race he did, is testimony to his class. Very much a work in progress still, Walk Of Stars probably rates the best value left on offer for the Derby – especially if there was some give in the ground on the day.