Punter's Diary by Malcolm Heyhoe

[this month's diary]

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punter's diary
Updated: 1st May 2013 -

May Blossoms

The month of May can only mean the moment when the Flat turf season steps up to the plate and really gets into full swing. These days, last month's Craven meeting at Newmarket merely serves as an appetiser for the season's main course and the first proper turf Flat action takes place at Newmarket for the Guineas meeting on the first weekend of the month.

Dawn Approach
© Caroline Norris

Dawn Approach

The Qipco 2,000 Guineas is the feature race on May 4, the meeting's opening day and not surprisingly the first colts' Classic is currently dominated by the Jim Bolger-trained Dawn Approach, a juvenile of rare promise after his decisive success from a good field in last autumn's Dewhurst Stakes. With credible rivals from the trial races thin on the ground except of course for Toronado, Bolger holds a strong hand with a colt of power and seeming durability, and Dawn Approach looks the one to beat at Newmarket.

May 5 brings the Qipco 1,000 Guineas into focus and once again a veteran member of the training fraternity holds a potential ace in the hand courtesy of Sir Henry Cecil and his authoritative Nell Gwyn winner, Hot Snap. Immensely talented but still rough around the edges, she looks a worthy favourite for the fillies' classic.

Just The Judge
© Racehorse Photos

Just The Judge
Throw into the pot a pair of cracking domestic-trained fillies in Sky Lantern and Just The Judge, add a sprinkling of Gallic flair in the guise of What A Name and an Irish dark horse in Moth, and the scene is set for a pulsating fillies' Classic. It will be a major surprise if the winner does not hail from the aforementioned quartet.

May's racing caravan moves onto Chester for three knuckle-whitening days of racing on the Roodee and on May 8, the meeting's opening day, the staying handicappers will be action in the Chester Cup with David Simcock's Montsaser looking a key challenger while on May 9 the Chester Vase and Huxley Stakes take centre stage, and on May 10, the final day, the Dee and Ormonde Stakes holds everyone's attention.

At the end of Chester week Haydock holds its mixed jumps and Flat card on May 11 with the valuable Swinton Hurdle taking pride of place on an innovative programme. Nicky Henderson has won the last two of the last three runnings of this ultra-competitive handicap hurdle may well try and land a third consecutive success courtesy of Forgotten Hero, who looks an ideal type for the 2m race while Flaming Arrow and Fair Trade are two others being aimed at the valuable prize.

Over at Ascot they stage the Victoria Cup over the tricky seven furlong trip on the same day and perhaps the Brian Ellison-trained Global Village can go close to landing the spoils for a second year in succession while over at Lingfield it is the time for Classic clues courtesy of the Lingfield Derby Trial Stakes and the Oaks Trial. It is far too early to say which colts and fillies are likely to contest these two key races but they seem sure to be well-subscribed.

Hoof It
© Racehorse Photos

Hoof It

York's tremendous three-day Dante meeting opens on May 15 with the Musidora and Duke of York Stakes, and in the latter contest veteran handler Mick Easterby will be hoping to resurrect the sprinting career of Hoof It, who returns to the fray after drawing a blank in an abbreviated campaign last year.

On May 16 it's the turn of the Classic colts to strut their stuff in the Dante Stakes and all eyes will be upon Sir Michael Stoute's Telescope if he lines-up on the Kanvesmire in the 1m 2f contest while on May 17, the meeting's closing day, the stayers take centre stage in the Yorkshire Cup and this 1m 6f race looks the perfect medium for the Luca Cumani-trained Mount Athos to step up in class.

The month's fine action continues with Newbury's Lockinge Stakes on May 18 which should be a wonderful opportunity for a race-fit Declaration Of War and the following weekend it is the turn of the sprinters to go like the wind in Haydock's Temple Stakes on May 25 while over in Ireland on that same day the Irish 2,000 Guineas takes place at the Curragh and the Aidan O'Brien-trained Mars looks a leading contender.

Malcolm Heyhoe writes weekly horse racing articles for GG.COM-Horse racing betting, information, news, results and free daily tips

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