Flat trainer: Saeed bin Suroor
Following a slight lull in early-summer, the Saeed bin Suroor string has really hit top form in recent weeks – they are currently operating at a 31% strike rate (5/16) in the month of July – and, with the future in mind, the Godolphin trainer is likely to have been particularly encouraged by the performance of Last Look. A sister to bin Suroor’s best horse of recent years, Farhh, she identified herself as a filly to follow in her own right when making an emphatic winning debut at Chelmsford last week, and the likelihood is that we’ll be seeing her in a higher grade sooner rather than later.
The big question is whether the yard’s hot streak can be continued in the coming days, and, in the shape of Volcanic Sky, they look to have a horse who can help them do just that. Entered at Hamilton on Thursday, he produced a career best when third on his most recent outing at Carlisle, travelling with his typical gusto and keeping on well at the finish to be beaten just a neck. He certainly showed enough to suggest that a 1 lb higher mark won’t prove beyond him another day, and this looks a good opportunity for him to record a second career success, with the return to further sure to suit.
Others to note include Making History and Reaction Time, both of whom are engaged at Leicester on Thursday. The former ran his best race at Windsor last time and should have even more to offer as his stamina is further drawn out, starting out in handicaps from what looks a fair mark. Meanwhile, Reaction Time is bred to be smart – by Dubawi and out of a half-sister to the top-class Raven’s Pass – and he looks one to note on his return from 13 months off the track, having shaped with considerable promise when fourth on his sole appearance to date at Sandown.
Jumps trainer: Dr Richard Newland
Dr Richard Newland has his team in good form at present, with Samson one of several from the yard who is clearly thriving. Bought cheaply from Sophie Leech since his previous start seven months earlier, the eight-year-old showed much improved form to open his chasing account at Worcester last time, winning by two lengths with plenty seemingly in hand – he is clearly a different proposition for these new connections and could well run up a sequence from here, starting next week when he holds entries at Southwell on Tuesday and Uttoxeter on Wednesday.
Nordican Bleue is another last-time-out winner who could be in action on that Uttoxeter card on Wednesday. She proved better than ever to get off the mark at Southwell last time, leading on the bridle on the approach to the last and quickly forging clear thereafter. Most importantly of all, she settled much better on that occasion than she had previously, and with the prospect of even more to come, it would take a brave man to bet against her in her follow-up bid.
Also worth a mention is Show And Go, who shaped encouragingly on his stable debut at Uttoxeter recently, still in contention at the second last, only to weaken as his lack of a recent outing began to tell close home. In good hands, there is every reason to suggest that he’ll go the right way from that – though he did show flashes of temperament towards the end of his stint with previous connections – and he certainly showed enough to suggest that a BHA mark of 109 is one his new yard will be able to exploit before long (potentially at Southwell on Tuesday).
Under the radar: Paul Cole
Paul Cole is another trainer who is enjoying a rewarding spell, with his four winners from his last 13 runners (at the time of writing) headlined by the success of Duke of Hazzard, who showed much improved form in first-time blinkers to win a listed heat at Newmarket on Thursday. Whether the headgear has quite the same effect next time remains to be seen, but the manner of his success suggests that he is fully deserving of his smart rating, and he shouldn’t be underestimated if lining up in the Lennox Stakes at Goodwood later this month.
River Dawn also contributed to his trainer’s tally when winning in ready fashion at Brighton last Tuesday, and there is no reason why he shouldn’t give another good account if making the quick turnaround at Epsom on Thursday. Admittedly, the son of Dawn Approach probably didn’t need to improve to shed his maiden tag on that occasion, but he remains unexposed after only two starts in handicaps and looks the type who could stay ahead of the handicapper for a while longer yet.
Others to look out for in the coming days include Cool Reflection and Zoraya. The latter wasn’t seen to best effect at Windsor last time (made her effort widest of all in the straight), and a legitimate form case can be made for her if dropping into a seller at Catterick on Wednesday. Cool Reflection, on the other hand, holds a choice of engagements next week and will be of interest wherever he lines up, having produced his best effort to date when second (beaten just a short head) in first-time cheekpieces at Bath earlier this month.