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Five horses to follow on Sky Sports Racing on Monday at Windsor including a Royal runner! | Racing News

Sky Sports Racing’s Elliot David has five runners to note on Monday’s card at Windsor, live from 6:20pm.


6.20 Play With The Finest Bookmaker, Fitzdares Nursery Handicap (Class 4)

It might sound a bit of a cliché when you hear it but the adage of backing horses at the top of the weights in a nursery often rings true, they’re the best horses after all…at least in theory.

There’s been 15 Nursery Handicaps in Britain so far in 2023, with 10 going to horses in the top 3 of the weights. From 43 total qualifiers there’s been 10 winners and a further 13 filling either 2nd or 3rd. That’s a 23 per cent win strike rate and a level stakes profit of £7.53. Evidently there’s some substance to the theory.

Despite the relatively small six-runner field there looks set to be some decent pace on show here with both Politico & Mullins Beach in particular having shown a liking for flashing early speed while Jane Chapple Hyam’s Flag Of St George raced prominently when getting off the mark at Newmarket.

The Charlie Johnston-trained runner didn’t look leniently treated when 5th of 9 on nursery handicap debut at Haydock on July 8, a race which also included Je Ne Sais Quoi (2nd), Notta Nother (8th) and Mullins Beach (9th). Having ran a similarly quiet race in the Coventry to that of the Chapple-Hyam runner, I’d have doubts about both from their current ratings and perhaps the Haggas filly is the key contender from that bunch.

Ralph Beckett’s Matters Most looks a horse that could have more to give having found Sandown’s Listed National Stakes a bit too hot on his last start. He had previously shown good progress from his debut run to win comfortably on rain softened ground at Salisbury and ought to be at ease with any hint of soft ground here. Out of Squash he’s a half-brother to two above average sprinters in Motorious & Haymaker, the latter a course winner, and he’ll hopefully be sitting just off the early pace under Rossa Ryan to come through late on. He tops the weights but to my mind it’s for good reason, let’s see if the theory rings true.


6.50 Giles Irwin Celebration EBF Fillies’ Restricted Novice Stakes

As is often the case with these Band B, C and D restricted races, the runners with experience have largely run to a similar rating thus far. However, I think there was plenty of encouragement to be taken from both runs of Michael Bell’s daughter of Soldier’s Call who now drops down to 6f having shown good speed over further.

Her Class 3 debut third at Beverley came in what could turn out a strong form race, with fourth Carolina Reaper bolting up at Newmarket on Saturday and reportedly having Group targets on her agenda. Bell’s filly didn’t have things easy, breaking from a comparatively wide stall in 8 and ducking left out of the gates before being rushed up to challenge for the lead. Despite travelling best of the bunch approaching the 2f pole, she just didn’t quite see out the extended 7f here. It was no surprise to see her sent off 11/8 favourite next time out, but she bumped into a beautifully bred fully of Kevin Ryan’s that day having again led past the 2f pole.

Dropped down to 6f, I’m hoping William Buick can get her out and prominent early on and make use of her ability to get the 7f to outstay her rivals. Ground softer than good would be an unknown, but she makes by far the most appeal.


7.20 Follow Fitzdares On Instagram & Twitter Now Maiden Stakes

With a handful of the 15-runner Maiden field likely to be seen in better light once entering handicaps, there’s possibly only a small number of these capable of troubling the scorers at this stage. Chief among those are the 77-rated pair of Mythical Guest & Paternoster Square, of which the latter would seem to make most appeal on the bare form which includes a course 2nd over 1m in June. It’s important to note neither have shown worthwhile form on ground softer than good and softening conditions would be a step into something of an unknown.

Ralph Beckett’s Albany is one that could well be suited by such conditions being by Lope De Vega out of a soft ground winner for owner breeder Kirsten Rausing in Alyssa. She took a big step forward from her debut when stepped up to 1m3f at Kempton recently and though she shapes like needing a stern test of stamina, could be suited to making the running here.

Three late-debuting horses provide alternative interest, with the Charltons’ Dunes King a nicely bred son of Shamardal out of a half-sister to Guineas winner Galileo Gold a notable inclusion.

It’s therefore a tricky race in which to pin one down and it seems likely the market will give some strong indications as to the likely outcome, but in Albany there’s a filly with experience who looks to set a good standard and could be suited to conditions enough to make the frame.


7.50 Fitzdares Sprint Series Handicap

This looks a fiercely competitive instalment of the excellent Windsor Sprint Series and, as is typically the case, will be one where you can make cases for a fair few on their best form.

The pace setup looks a good place to start and with prominent racers in Airshow, Lady Dreamer, Count Otto & She’s Centimental all engaged here, we don’t look short of it! While the latter arrives notably out of form, each of the others boasts recent form to suggest they can be competitive here.

However, at what is likely to be a decent each-way price I think Clive Cox’s Heroism, could be lurking on a workable mark of 78 having shown glimmers of promise in a new tongue-tie at Bath on July 5.

It would be fair to say the three-year-old had somewhat disappointed following his comfortable winning debut, but the green shoots of life were definitely on show when running on from the rear for a never nearer 4th having been trapped for a clear run and given an understanding ride. Now of course he needs to back it up here but if the addition of the tongue-tie has had a galvanising effect, he’s one that’ll be suited by a strong gallop up front.

I’d make note of the role the ground could play in deciding this contest as there’s precious little soft ground form of note among the field. In the event of truly soft ground, Ed Walker’s Sassy Belle has shown best with some cut and would be a key danger.

The Royal silks will be on show on Monday


8.20 British EBF Premier Fillies’ Handicap

Having evidently needed her debut run over 7f, a trip she’s not bred to excel over, this daughter of Galileo marked herself out as a horse to follow when winning comfortably at Lingfield in late November, travelling strongly and putting the race to bed with a minimum of fuss. Unfortunately we’ve only seen her once since, when never sighted in Goodwood’s Listed Height Of Fashion Stakes, but that simply looked a bridge too far as this early stage of her career.

Given her breeding, by super sire Galileo out of Group 1-placed mare Nathra, connections would surely be a shade disappointed should she not be capable of rating higher than 86 in future. It’s notable that Nathra herself was well at home with some cut in the ground, with each of her wins on softer than good and with rain around this week a first encounter with such going could unlock her daughter’s potential.

With that in mind, she rates a nice alternative to likely favourite Zarga, who is somehow still a maiden after five starts to date. Sir Michael Stoute’s filly has often found herself too far back before coming with a late run. With her lesser effort at Nottingham on May 2 coming on soft ground she wouldn’t want to be too far off the leaders entering the straight here.

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