Andrew Balding: We've lots of runners on a busy Saturday
The new Betway ambassador assesses his chances at Haydock, Newmarket and Chelmsford on Saturday, and gives his thoughts on an up-and-down Epsom.
Haydock Saturday runners
Paradise Boy has his first start on turf in the Betway Heed Your Hunch Handicap (13:45) after being very consistent on the all-weather.
I'd hope he will handle the ground as he is related to some horses who ran well on soft ground, and he's improving. We've been pleased with his work and he should go there with every chance.
There are only six runners but it's a competitive race and any one of the six could win it.
Indomitable runs in the closing 7f Betway Handicap (17:20). He won his maiden on soft ground, so conditions shouldn't be a problem, although I wouldn't want it to get too soft.
He needed his run at Ascot more than I thought he would, but he's worked nicely since and hopefully he will run well.
Newmarket Saturday runners
We were a bit disappointed with Flashcard at Goodwood, but in fairness to the horse he was a bit keen on his first run back.
We've been happy with him since and I think the Bentley Cambridge Handicap (14:10) will suit him. It looks a tight, competitive affair, which is what you'd expect for the prize money.
He seems quite versatile ground-wise. He's by Fast Company whose offspring tend to be better with some give, but this fellow won on quick ground last year. It would be lovely to see him get back on track as we rated him highly last year and he is one to look forward to for the future.
Lissitzky won on the Rowley Mile at Newmarket last month and takes his chance in the Bernard Sunley Memorial Handicap (14:45).
It was a good staying performance last time and I think he's still reasonably well-treated. We have decided to stick a pair of cheekpieces on him as he didn't travel that well last time and you can't afford to do that in races like this.
I'm hoping they will sharpen him up a bit and make Martin's [Dwyer] life easier. There is a big field and, with the track at its narrowest to protect the ground, there could be some traffic problems. We will need some luck but he's equipped to go well.
Peggy McKay makes her seasonal reappearance in the fillies' novice at 16:30. She's had a long time off and is entitled to come on for the run but it's a nice starting point.
We will know more after the race but she might well appreciate stepping up in trip in time.
Chelmsford Saturday runners
Bacacarat was pretty tough when winning at the Kempton the other day and he will take his chance in an open-looking mile handicap (15:40).
He likes the polytrack, all seems fine with him at home and we hope he'll run well.
Gallatin is a well-bred filly and will make her debut in the 1m2f maiden (17:25).
She is coming along well at home but this is her first day at school and the draw in stall 14 makes life tough.
It will be nice to get some experience into her and she is one to follow further down the line.
Bangkok's run in the Investec Derby was obviously desperately disappointing. Silvestre [de Sousa] said he felt he didn't handle the track, but I'm loathe to make excuses. He was beat at the top of the hill. His homework had been so strong but at least the horse seems to have come out of it fine.
We're now considering Royal Ascot where his options are either the King Edward VII or the Hampton Court. We'll see how he is nearer the time and then make a decision.
Raise You ran in the French Derby at Chantilly on Sunday but the ground had dried up dramatically. The first four home all broke the track record which gives you an indication of the level of the race and the ground.
He ran a reasonable race, he was just a little jaded in the last quarter mile. He'll definitely improve, though, and we've got the rest of the season to look forward to with him.
It was good experience for him and the first time he'd had to race in among horses. He's learning all the time and it will stand him in good stead.
Rest of Epsom
It was a smashing performance by Le Don De Vie in the opening handicap on Derby day. He was strong at the end of the race and it was really encouraging for the future.
He's an improving horse and you can get offers for horses like this from all over the world. The owners now have a conundrum and will have to decide what they want to do. We have no plans for him at the moment.
Bye Bye Hong Kong ran fairly well against older horses in the Diomed Stakes, he wasn't beaten far and it was a track record. We had hopes he might win it but it was still a good effort and I'd be quite keen to step him up in trip.
We will look at our options at Ascot. The Hampton Court is a possible and he's in the St James's Palace Stakes, although that might be a bit too tough an ask. We'll leave him in everything, we don't need to decide yet.
Shadn at Kempton
We were very pleased with Shadn in the fillies' maiden at Kempton on Wednesday evening. She is by No Nay Never who is doing very well as a stallion.
The manner of the victory was authoritative and she'll have to come into consideration for Royal Ascot after that. I wouldn't be afraid to drop her back to 5f, so we have the option of the Queen Mary or the Albany.
Pleased with form of the yard
Apart from the big one, everything has run pretty well this week and it was nice to pick up a few winners. We're up to around the 60 mark for the year which is ahead of where we envisaged being at this point.
The challenge is now to keep the momentum up in the most important part of the season. We're not even at half-time yet, the first quarter report is strong but there's a long way to go.
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