April 16 – Newmarket – Tees Spirit – 79

Now the jumps season is coming to its conclusion, we are going to be predominately concentrating on the Flat and the first race that comes into focus this week was the five furlong sprint handicap on the first day of the Craven meeting. As expected, a big field went to post but it was totally dominated by a horse who showed blistering speed throughout and arguably had the advantage of racing over on the far side rail. Clearly a very fast horse with a natural bias towards speed-favouring tracks, Adrian Nicholls’ inmate deserves to be kept on side in races of that nature.

April 17 – Newmarket – Jayarebe – 84

Traditionally a race that often pays to keep on side and this season’s renewal looks no different based on the speed figure. Although the place to be at Newmarket during the three days was the front, going hard at the head of affair as he did took some doing and the fact he managed to stay on in the manner he did once meeting the rising ground, suggested Brian Meehan’s inmate has a fair engine. Not yet entered in any of the fancy races, he might be supplemented for The French Derby and if he does take his chance at Chantilly, he deserves the utmost respect.

April 18 – Newmarket – Poet Master – 81

Again, another race dominated by prominent racers and it was won in style by a horse seemingly happy to be back on a sound surface. The way he strode out late on suggested there could be even brighter days ahead and it would come as no surprise if Karl Burke’s gelding was tackling pattern races sooner rather than later. Of those who were held up, Misty Grey deserves a special mention and although he is getting on in age, this performance suggests he isn’t quite finished just yet.

April 19 – Newbury – Star Style – 80

Easily one of the most impressive maiden winners so far this season and she should turn out to have a really bright future. Picking up the running from the start, Richard Hannon’s filly took the field along at decent fractions and once kicking for home over two furlongs out, she steadily drew right away to record a facile success. Posting the fastest time on the card – which isn’t easy being the last race of the day – she left the impression she could easily be Group class and it would come as little surprise if connections campaigned her accordingly in the future.

April 20 – Newbury – Metal Merchant – 80

As always, a hugely competitive field assembled for this traditional early season mile handicap and it went the way of a horse who benefitted from a gelding operation in the off season. Midfield at halfway, Jack Channon’s inmate made smooth progress to lead over a furlong out and from that juncture he was always doing enough to fend off his rivals. Up to a rating of 96 since reassessed, the son of Make Believe has room for at least another one of these big handicaps.

April 20 – Thirsk – Shartash – 77

Just a small field went to post for this conditions event but the pace was very good and it produced a wide margin winner who could turn out to be very useful. Having his first outing for new connections, Archie Watson’s new recruit bounded to the front  two furlongs from home and with the minimum of fuss, he put daylight between himself and several useful opponents. Clocking a smart time figure despite being eased down, he looks full value for the 150k purchase price and he will be an interesting contender in whatever race connections’ choose for him at York next month.