Jeremy Noseda admits that Grandeur’s wide draw in stall 14 is far from ideal in the coral.co.uk Winter Derby at Lingfield today.
However, the Newmarket handler believes jockey Ryan Moore is the right man to follow up the partnership’s success in the Winter Derby Trial over course and distance four weeks ago.
Grandeur brings some top-class international form to the table, having performed with great credit in the Arlington Million and the Hong Kong Cup and the trainer told his website: “The draw is not one that you want with the short run into the first bend. But, having said that, the horse is in great nick and definitely will have improved for that first run. In Ryan Moore, we’ve also got the right jockey to get him in position to counteract any problems that the draw might make.”
Noseda feels that the tight nature of Lingfield’s track perfectly suits Grandeur’s running style. It’s a surface we think is 100 per cent right,” he added.
Godolphin are usually preoccupied with the Dubai Carnival at this time of year so the fact they have sent Windhoek back to Britain early may well be significant. Trainer Saeed bin Suroor said: “Windhoek’s final pieces of work in Dubai went nicely and he has done very well over the winter. He has improved a great deal since he came out to Dubai and he looks a better horse as a four-year-old. This is the right distance for him and he handled an artificial surface out in Dubai. I hope that he can run very well at Lingfield Park.”
Farraaj twice disappointed after winning this race last year and Roger Varian admits it looks a stronger renewal “I’m really pleased with his training, his work has been good and he looks ready for it,” said the Newmarket handler. “He’s a bit delicate, which is why he hasn’t been over-raced, As we won the race last year we thought we should get him back in and fit and ready to try to win it again. It looks a stronger race than the one he won last year. He will probably have to perform 2lb or 3lb better in it to win but he’s in good form and can go well fresh so we’re looking forward to seeing him.
At Kelso, Malcolm Jefferson is looking forward to big runs from three runners today when The Panama Kid spearheads his team in the second race, which is live on Channel 4. The ten-year-old, like his stable companions ridden by Brian Hughes, faces eight rivals in the £25,000 Liz Adam Memorial Handicap Chase. Jefferson said: “He has gone well at Kelso in the past but he has been creeping back up the weights since winning at Doncaster and Catterick. But his form at the track a few years ago reads well and he won a couple of nice races in the autumn of 2011. He’s getting weight from a few others on Saturday and it all helps.”
Among those facing The Panama Kid are top weight Gullinbursti, a rare runner at the borders venue for Emma Lavelle and Donald McCain’s Sydney Paget.
Next up for Jefferson is Our Boy Ben in the Jedforest Deer Park Handicap Hurdle. The Malton trainer added: “He’s coming back after a short break. He won a novice race at Hexham in November on heavy but he could improve for this better ground. He’s working nicely and looking well at the moment. This will be his first handclap but I think his mark of 110 is quite harsh and he may also need the run.”
Newcomer Major Ivan completes the trio of Jefferson runners in a competitive-looking Kelso Races A Great Day Out Standard Open NH Flat Race.
The second race at Kelso is another valuable event as the Bentley Homes Handicap Hurdle carries £25,000 in prize money.
Lucinda Russell’s Lie Forrit, a late withdrawal at Cheltenham last week, concedes weight all round to his eight opponents.