MADNESS TO IGNORE O’MEARA STAR
David O’Meara’s MYTHICAL MADNESS can take another step closer to the big Middle Distance prizes in the New Year with victory in the feature Betway Handicap (3.45) at Wolverhampton on Boxing Day.
This bargain buy – snapped up out of a Dunstall Park claimer in November – looked a smart prospect for the big prizes when scything through a similar field to win a course and distance handicap earlier this month.
The five-year-old son of Dubawi swerved last weekend’s Listed Quebec Stakes at Lingfield in favour of this assignment and can defy a mark of 97 en route to a step up in class and a likely crack at the Listed Winter Derby Trial in February.
Danny Tudhope’s mount is drawn wide in stall 10 but was dropped in from a better berth last time and has the speed and acceleration to pick up the pacemakers up the home stretch.
Our Channel, another interesting new recruit to the Jamie Osborne stable, won the Listed Magnolia Stakes at Kempton on his last All-Weather start in March but will have to be pretty straight on his return from a lengthy break to give 6lb and a beating to my selection.
Another contender is Stuart Williams’s Examiner, who came from a long way back to chase home Mythical Madness over the same track and trip last time. A 3lb pull may not be enough to bridge the gap against an improving rival but that form certainly entitles him to be in the thick of things.
MYTHMAKER LOOKS THE SMART CHOICE
Bryan Smart has few peers when it comes to training sprinters and the Thirsk handler has another potential star on his hands in MYTHMAKER, who has strong claims in the 6f Betway Sprint Conditions Stakes (4.10) at Wolverhampton on Boxing Day.
The speedy four-year-old took his already smart All-Weather form to another level at Lingfield in November when he put a quality field to the sword in the Listed Golden Rose Stakes, only to be worn down by the classy Lord Of The Land.
That form looks rock solid. Fourth that day was Gracious John, who followed up his subsequent Lingfield win with a placed effort in strong company at Newcastle, while seventh-placed Realize landed a £45,000 handicap at Chelmsford on Thursday.
Prior to that, Mythmaker took a decent Thirsk handicap over Monday’s trip following a string of creditable efforts – including a Class 3 success – at Lingfield last winter. This improving son of Major Cadeaux has been raised 8lb for his latest exploits but has a leading chance at the weights off his revised rating of 105 if he can repeat his latest performance.
Mythmaker is drawn widest of all in stall six but whilst he will almost certainly attempt to go forward from there, he doesn’t have to lead, so I expect Connor Beasley will be happy to track the abundance of early pace to his inside.
Lightscameraction, a Good Friday Champion, will almost certainly blaze a trail from gate four but might just prove vulnerable to a stronger finisher under his 3lb penalty. A bigger threat could be Paul d’Arcy’s All-Weather specialist Spring Loaded, who made rapid progress last winter but was left a win short of making the cut in the Sprint Final.
He tuned up with a satisfactory second at Kempton last month and, with a record of seven wins from 12 starts on synthetics, including form over course and distance, remains open to improvement. Spring Loaded is, however, 6lb wrong with Mythmaker on Boxing Day’s terms.
The admirable Dougan, himself six from nine on sand, could also shape up into a Sprint Final contender come Easter. He ran well in defeat from a wide position in a course and distance handicap last week and can turn the tables on runner-up Gentleman, but needs to raise his game in this company.
Paul Midgley’s connections splashed out 260,000gns for Final Venture, presumably with a Dubai campaign in mind, and this progressive All-Weather debutant adds more festive spice to a cracking sprint. He produced his best form on stiff tracks on turf and faces a very different test around this sharp circuit following a break.
WOLVES BOXING DAY SELECTIONS
3.45 MYTHICAL MADNESS (Nap)
STRONG RAIDING CHALLENGE IN FRENCH QUALIFIER
Last season’s Distaff Queen VOLUNTEER POINT heads a strong British contingent in the entries for the Listed Prix Miss Satamixa at Deauville on Wednesday – a fast track qualifier for Good Friday’s £150,000 Fillies’ and Mares’ Final.
Mick Channon’s filly bounced back to form with a convincing win in another Fast Track feature at Wolverhampton at the end of November and bids to improve on her fourth in this 7.5f race last year.
Realtra, winner of the Group 3 Secptre Stakes at Doncaster’s St Leger Festival for Roger Varian, could make her All-Weather debut off a lofty mark of 109, while Sir Mark Prescott’s Seychelloise, who has won four times on sand and has progressed to a mark of 93, looks set to head to France on the back of a decent effort behind Alfred Hutchinson at Lingfield.
Havre De Paix, a close fourth in Listed company at Chantilly in October for David Menuisier, is another probable runner along with Charlie McBride’s Squash and Gay Kelleway’s Yeah Baby Yeah, who both finished behind Volunteer Point at Wolverhampton.
Last year’s winner Caointiorn didn’t take up her invitation on Good Friday but has run well in Pattern company in France since that success. Also spearheading the home challenge is former James Tate inmate Mukaabra, a multiple winner on the All-Weather in Britain who changed hands for 175,000gns at the Autumn Sales.
Don’t miss my preview of the big race from Tuesday morning.