AJJAJ (6.50) can kick off the week in style at Windsor by defying his winner’s penalty in the 1m 2f Novice Stakes.
Hugo Palmer’s three-year-old scored on his debut at Ascot in the autumn but was then caught a bit out of his depth when a decent fourth to Mark Johnston’s very smart Elarqam in the Group 3 Somerville Stakes at Newmarket.
That was over 7f and there may be improvement to come over this longer trip. There might need to be as he concedes weight to some well-bred newcomers.
At Pontefract, THREE SAINTS BAY (4.10) sets a reasonable standard in the 6f Novice Stakes.
David O’Meara found him a winning opening at Redcar over an extra furlong but the Class 2 Conditions Stakes he contested at Newcastle next time out was a step too far. Three Saints Bay still emerged with credit in fourth, one place behind a 101-rated horse.
The fly in the ointment could be Mark Johnston’s unraced colt Shatharaat running in the Hamdan Al Maktoum silks. Johnston often sends a smart recruit to Ponte and Shatharaat was also entered at Lingfield and Chelmsford City this week before the decision to stay closer to home in Yorkshire.
Much of the Flat is guesswork at this time of the season and the best guide is usually to watch how the market is developing on Betfair.
UPTOWN FUNK (3.40) could be just the type to relish the extreme 2m 5f test of the Pontefract Marathon.
Keith Dalgleish’s gelding, formerly with John Gosden, has been running well at Musselburgh over the winter. He beat Je Suis Charlie on New Year’s Day, arriving late on the scene and finishing strongly, and wasn’t disgraced when last of the four finishers behind brilliant We Have A Dream on Trials Day.
Uptown Funk fell at the last when staying on in second spot in a 2m 3f handicap and he has had a run on the all-weather at Newcastle, again sticking on into third behind Arcalis over two miles.
On a collateral form line through Arthurs Secret, little separates Uptown Funk and Iain Jardine’s easy Newcastle winner Something Brewing, but this could be Uptown Funk’s day.
Micky Hammond has a good record in this unique event and saddles two at the top and bottom of the weights, Tyrell and Becky The Thatcher, while Wemyss Point beat the rest at Wolverhampton when no match for 111-rated Count Octave and Saroog.
- Windsor 6.50 – Fajjaj (6-4, bet365)
- Pontefract 4.10 – Three Saints Bay (5-2, Ladbrokes)
- Pontefract 3.40 – Uptown Funk (10-3, Paddy Power)
Johnb’s Monday Tips
- Pontefract 3:40 – Uptown Funk 7-2
- Pontefract 4:10 – Super D J 11-2 NB
- Pontefract 5:45 – Starboy 11-2
- Windsor 5:50 – Minor 11-4 skybet NAP