April 22 – Pontefract – Bolster – 83

Karl Burke’s team have hit the ground running based on the results in the early part of the new season and this son of Invincible Spirit posted one of the fastest speed figures we have noted during that period. Setting out to make all the running at the Yorkshire venue. he had his rivals fully on the stretch rounding the home bend with two to go and from that juncture he just kept pounding out the fractions to maintain his advantage. Clearly at home on a softer surface, the four-year-old looks capable of taking his game to another level and it would come as no surprise if he were adding some black type to his name under similar conditions further down the track.

April 22 – Windsor – Deira Mile – 78

Only two counted according to the betting for this conditions event over 1m2f but it was soon turned into a procession by a horse boasting some smart form from last season. Not quite up to Group 1 level, he found the drop in class more to his liking and the way he travelled before quickening away from his main market rival was a mark of a horse who could easily take much higher rank this season. A big, scopey sort with a nice turn of foot, Owen Burrows’ new acquisition already looks Royal Ascot material even at this early stage.

April 23 – Yarmouth – Binadham – 71

Not the quickest two-year-old time we have seen so far this season but nevertheless, a race that should pay to follow for the future. A couple in the field has already had a run and set a fair standard but they proved no match for the winner, who quickened well in the latter stages to score with plenty in hand. Considering how keen he was through the first portion of the contest says a lot for his natural ability and Kevin Philippart De Foy’s colt could develop into a useful juvenile as the season progresses. Royal Ascot surely beckons this promising colt.

April 26 – Cork – Birdman – 70

Again, not the best overall figure of the week by any means but a race that should throw up plenty of winners in the future. Good, even fractions were set by Royal Entry through the early exchanges and when he began to wilt turning for home, it was left for the big guns to come to the fore. Showing the best turn of foot to lead just outside the furlong pole, Jessica Harrington’s gelding soon assumed command and just nudged out hands and heels he scored with plenty of swagger. The main feature of this contest was the winner’s last three furlong split of 34.3 compared to the other quality races on the card (Thunder Roll 35.4 and Spoken Truth 35.6) and with the size and scope to do better as time progresses, the son of Free Eagle looks to have a very bright future. Of the rest, both Highbury and Alonzo shaped well and are worth noting next time.

April 26 – Fiddler’s Green – 85

A low grade handicap that produced an extraordinary time figure for the grade and although it might just be worth taking it with a slight pinch of salt given the conditions, a race that is still worth monitoring all the same. The winner had arrived at the Yorkshire track following an easy success and, well supported to follow up, he ultimately did so with quite a bit to spare. In all fairness, he was best placed to land the gamble but at the same time, the overall figure suggests he was chasing down an extremely strong pace so his performance should in no way be underestimated. Due to go up to a rating of 66 in future, he should still have enough in hand to complete the hat trick. Of the rest, the runner-up, Waxing Gibbons, deserves a special mention being the only one to come out of the chasing pack with any great credit and he could pick up a small race next time on better ground.

April 27 – Haydock – Earls – 80

A well-contest early season seven-furlong handicap won by a Irish raider who had shaped well on his previous outing at the Curragh. Settled in behind a decent pace set by Zip, Gavin Cromwell’s arrived on the scene going well at the furlong pole and just nudged out hands and heels from that juncture, he went on to score with a good deal of poise. Knowing how his trainer operates nowadays, it would come as no surprise to see the son of Dream Ahead a regular on the boat over the Irish Sea throughout the season and races such as the Victoria Cup and Buckingham Palace Handicaps could well be on his agenda as well as events at the Curragh and Galway on home soil.