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Norfolk: Quick ‘returners’ good enough?
by Franco Raimondi ( / Globeform ()
Last update: 2007-06-20 12:48:35 (First published: 2007-06-20 08:59:50 )

Royal Ascot Thursday: The first two home in the Windsor Castle Stakes (LR) on Tuesday turn out again in the Norfolk Stakes (G2).

Like the Chesham, this is a 5-furlong dash for juveniles, and it is not an easy race to predict. Drawnfromthepast just held on from the debutant Kingsgate Native on opening day, and they are supposed to face a step up in class here.

Man of the moment, Aidan O’Brien runs Warsaw, a colt coming here with a tall reputation, but there is one small problem; his Curragh form is not working out. Peter Chapple-Hyam saddles the impressive debutant winner Winker Watson but, again, the form of his race has taken more than one knock since. Could these ‘returners’ prove to be the best again?

Perhaps we will see one of the two best in the Chesham win the Norfolk. It was a very solid performance by both colts, not least by Kingsgate Native, who was making his racecourse debut. This 20,000 guineas yearling, a son of Mujadil from the same family as 1,000 Guineas (G1) winner Las Meninas, must have a good chance of turning the tables. Unless the race on Tuesday has left its mark. There is no doubt that both colts had a hard race. Drawnfromthepast, a son of Tagula, was making his third career start. He was a very easy 6-length winner at Brighton just over two weeks ago. He is a classy runner but has also shown a bit of temperament (withdrawn at the start once).

The most interesting formline to take out of the Chesham is the one via Hatta Fort, who was third. He had beaten Swiss Franc on his previous start, and that colt went on to run a good third behind Henrythenavigator in the Coventry Stakes (G2). The Coventry is traditionally the best juvenile race of the meeting. It may not have been particularly strong this year but Swiss Franc’s run there was still a nice boost to Hatta Fort’s form.

Warsaw may be the favourite, coming here with two wins from two runs. The 250,000 guineas yearling, by Danehill Dancer, won a Listed event at Leopardstown in May, beating the filly The Loan Express by 1 ˝ lengths, with Silver Guest third and Inzone fourth.

The Loan Express was fifth in a G3 next time out update: but a good third in the Queen Mary (G3) here on Wednesday.

Silver Guest went down to Declaration Of War at Newmarket on his next start, while Inzon was well beaten behind Pencil Hill in a Listed race on his next start. Pencil Hill (fourth) and Declaration Of War (eighth) both ran respectably in the Coventry.

But they were both well beaten by Swiss Franc, who had been beaten by Hatta Fort, who was beaten by Drawnfromthepast and Kingsgate Native on Tuesday.

Winker Watson was visually impressive as he won a maiden at Newbury on his debut. It was an easy win, by a colt who was clearly well forward and knew his job well. He won with authority, beating Legendary Guest. Was it a good field? Probably not. The runner-up was well beaten in a maiden next time, the third placed Party In the Park was beaten 5 lengths by Achilles Of Troy next time, the fourth placed Harlech Castle was seventh of nine in a maiden next time, and the fifth placed Manisli was third behind Achilles of troy and Party in The Park next time. Achilles Of troy was then beaten by Pencil Hill in Ireland, and finished 14th here on Tuesday. Behind… you guessed it; Drawfromthepast.

You may not agree that juveniles should be allowed to run twice within a week, never mind two days, but do not believe that the Chesham Stakes was a sub-standard affair. It was not, it was quite a good race. And if the two who dominated can reproduce, or even better, the form they will be right up there again.

Spirit Of Sharjah is unbeaten in two runs and has also looked well above average. A son of Invincible Spirit, arguably going better as a sire than he did as a racehorse, this colt impressed when beating Dark Angel (good winner since, but only 11th in the Chesham) at Newmarket, before picking up a soft Listed race at Goodwood. He is probably good enough to have a say here.

Dream Eater is a possible longshot. He was staying on well at the end to take fourth behind Drwanfromthe past on Tuesday and had previously been third to Lindoro at Goodwood and second to Cee Bargara at Kempton. The latter was sixth in the Coventry, where Lindoro ran too bad to be true (beat just one).



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