THE Falmer trainer, Sheena, West has been working her magic again recently and after giving a five-month break to Alfraamsey, he has repaid her by winning twice in seven days.
oth victories came on the flat at Lingfield, one on turf and the other on the all weather, and mean that he has now won five times for the yard since joining Sheena in July of last year.
Alfraamsey has always really appreciated some decent ground and he has an entry at Stratford tomorrow evening back over hurdles. The course is suited to front runners such as he and although the test he potentially faces is not straightforward, when a relatively young horse appears to be flourishing it often pays to keep a close eye on them.
The same team have a formerly promising young hurdler of theirs in the shape of Screaming Brave, entered at Fontwell on Sunday. If Sheena can produce more of her magic with him after a year off it could pay to follow him during the summer – and Sunday will tell us a lot.
n HER Majesty The Queen will begin a long weekend of Diamond Jubilee celebrations by attending the 232nd running of The Derby on the Epsom Downs tomorrow, and a crowd of 125,000 is expected to join her in witnessing the latest renewal of the world’s most prestigious horse race.
The global opera star and mezzo soprano Katherine Jenkins will be leading the singing of the National Anthem, and that is certain to stimulate the atmosphere and boost the sense of anticipation prior to what is always a great spectacle.
Our reigning monarch has never won the great race in 10 attempts and the nearest she has come was back in 1953 when her brilliant colt Aureole was narrowly defeated. Unfortunately, there will be no representative in the race for the Queen tomorrow and it looks highly likely that the majority of the £1.25million in prize money on offer will be heading across the Irish Sea to the powerful Ballydoyle organisation, which is fronted by the exceptional trainer Aidan O’Brien.
He is responsible for five of the potential protagonists and they include the hot favourite, Camelot, who earlier this season became the first horse since High Top in 1972 to win both the Group One Racing Post Trophy and the first Classic, the 2000 Guineas. There have never been any doubts expressed by O’Brien about Camelot’s ability to get the mile and a half that constitutes The Derby trip and a glance at his pedigree helps to tell you why. Indeed, the principal concern prior to his victory in the 2000 Guineas was if he had the basic speed to win at the highest level over just a mile – and although the emphasis was placed on stamina by the testing ground conditions that prevailed, the soft going was also a real worry for his connections as they believe the colt to be much more effective on quick ground.
Try as I might, I can find nothing else in The Derby field that comes anywhere near close to matching the credentials of this potential middle distance three-year-old star. That view is strengthened still further when considering one of O’Brien’s comments after the Guineas: “This horse has an incredibly special amount of class,” and believe me O’Brien knows what class looks like.
Hayley Turner will become only the second lady rider to compete in The Derby should the Marcus Tregoning-trained Cavaleiro make it to post.
He is currently the lowest rated horse in the event but does have progression in him and hopefully can improve on the finishing position of Hayley’s predecessor, Alex Greaves, who came home last in 1996.