May 1 – Curragh – Honey Girl – 96

Joseph O’Brien’s filly took a big step forward from landing a maiden to capturing this Group 3 and the time figure suggested it was a decent performance from a horse very much going in the right direction. Like all top class horses, here ability to travel strongly off a fast pace is a weapon not to be underestimated and under similar soft ground conditions, she should continue to be a force against her own sex.

May 3 – Ascot – Coltrane – 102

Despite conceding race fitness to Trueshan, Andrew Balding’s gelding ran out a most impressive winner of this early season guide towards the best staying contests and even at this stage, he looks one of the main players for the Ascot Cup Gold in June. The way he quickened off solid fractions in the closing stages was a sign that he may have taken his game to another level and, having proven he stays 2m4f well with his victory in the Ascot Stakes last season, the combination of those two weapons should stand him in good stead over all marathon trips for the rest of the campaign.

May 5 – Newmarket – Outbreak – 99

One of several handicaps at the Guineas meeting worth noting for its excellent speed figure – the one won by Probe being the other of note – and this victory for Charlie Johnston’s inmate, unexpected though it was, confirmed he is just as effective on grass as he is on the all-weather. The way he sauntered his way through this competitive mile handicap before staying on best of all late on suggests he is going to be a force in similar contests throughout the remainder of the campaign and something like the Royal Hunt Cup would seem his next logical target.

May 6 – Newmarket – Vadream – 98

For the second time this season, Charlie Fellows’ mare has made her way onto the pages of the column and even though she didn’t quite hit the heady heights of her 107 at Doncaster, her performance nonetheless was still one of the highest level. As it did on Town Moor, the rain came just in the nick of time for the five-year-old and with many seemingly struggling in the conditions, her ability to travel and quicken on soft ground stood her out from the crowd. Likely to be tackling all the big sprint races on home soil and on the continent, the daughter of Brazen Beau will be difficult to beat when everything is in her favour.

May 6 – Thirsk – Northern Express – 101

A typically competitive renewal of this sought-after northern prize and it went the way of a horse who has threatened to land a big pot for several seasons. Noted travelling well just off the speed turning or home, Michael Dods’ inmate assumed command with a nice turn of foot approaching the final furlong and from that point onwards, he was always holding all the aces. A horse who thrives on fast ground, he should continue to pay his way when such conditions arise and it would come as no surprise if he were to do well again at York this season, a track where he has often gone well in the past.

May 7 – Newmarket – Via Sistina – 101

There were some big performances on the clock over the three-days of the Guineas meeting, but the standout display was by George Boughey’s mare who simply blew away the opposition in this Group 2 contest. There was clearly plenty of confidence behind here beforehand, as she was sent off a well-backed 5-2 favourite, but not even those who got involved in the gamble could have foreseen such a victory. Never out of third gear, the daughter of Fastnet Rock not only posted a very fast speed figure, her final three furlongs of 36.7 was superior to the likes of Adayar (37.8), Running Lion (37.7) and Mawj (37.5), and considering she achieved that feat being eased down is testimony to how good this effort reads. Clearly a top class mare on soft ground, she should be played accordingly when similar conditions arise in the future.