The new Flat season steps up a gear with Newbury’s Greenham Stakes fixture on Saturday and next week’s Newmarket Craven Meeting. Everyone is looking for an early tip or two to get them off to a good start. Thus, this is the time when all the Flat season guides appear. The Racing Post and the Racing & Football Outlook guides for 2019 are already out, as are ‘100 Winners: Horses to Follow’, ‘Well Handicapped Three-Year-Olds’ and Mark Howard’s ‘Ahead on the Flat’. Take your pick.
The Racing Post’s Royal Ascot Guide is due out on 24 May. Well, here’s an early tip for Royal Ascot, six weeks before that guide appears.
The horse’s name is Lady Pauline. She’s trained by Wesley Ward and is a sister to Lady Aurelia, winner of the Queen Mary Stakes and the Prix Morny at two and the King’s Stand Stakes at three. Lady Pauline made her debut in a 4½ furlong race at Keeneland last Friday. She broke fast, set a good pace, then drew clear in the straight and won as she liked. Ward has a great record with his Royal Ascot two-year-olds. If this one isn’t in the field for the Queen Mary Stakes, I’ll eat my hat. On her debut run she looks nailed on.
An early tip for Cheltenham
Cheltenham 2020 is still 11 months away but here’s an early tip for the Dawn Run Mares’ Hurdle. Her name is Gypsy Island. She won a Listed mares’ bumper at Fairyhouse last Sunday. Ridden by Derek O’Connor, she left them for dead in the final furlong. She’d have been right in the mix for the Grade 1 bumper at Punchestown in three weeks’ time. However, the fact that she has already run in a hurdle bars her from taking part in that race.
She is trained by Peter Fahey for JP McManus. He bought her after she’d won on her debut at Ballinrobe in August. She then finished second, beaten a length, in a Navan maiden hurdle. She won a Naas bumper in March before her latest romp on Sunday. She’ll no doubt go back hurdling next season and she looks a good early tip for next year’s Cheltenham Festival.