Back to his best, bouncing and loving Newmarket...
14:55 - Gifted Master
Gifted Master makes his handicap debut after 22 career starts, having won £560k in prize-money, which is something of a rarity, but that's where he finds himself. He's got to give weight away which is never an easy thing to do, but like Magical Memory he is the proverbial group horse in a handicap, having been placed in Group 2 races from six furlongs to a mile, and is also a dual Group 3 winner. He also loves Newmarket with five victories at the track, and his owner, Dr Ali, is over this weekend, so it makes a lot of sense to run him in this valuable handicap.
He came back sick from Lingfield on Good Friday, and took a while to get over that, but he's absolutely bouncing now, and his work and the tests we've done suggest he's back to his very best. He's a yard star, and while he's hiding nothing for his handicap debut, he was once rated 115 by the handicapper, so maybe a mark of 109 won't be beyond him.
In-form two-year-old is reading for another outing
16:10 - Barend Boy
Barend Boy has been in very good form, and took his recent debut at Leicester extremely well. It's always a concern, turning out a two-year-old fairly quickly after their first run, but he's showing the right signs at home, and all the evidence suggests that run hasn't left a mark. He should have learnt a great deal from his initial experience, and I expect him to be sharper physically and mentally now.
Unlucky Dukhan set for a big race?
17:20 - Dukhan
He was a little unfortunate not to win at the Craven Meeting, with his keenness through the early stages probably costing him in a very tight finish. Frankie really liked him, but suggested we changed his bit, so we are putting a slightly stronger bit in his mouth for this race, which should help in getting him to drop his head and save a bit for the finish. He's gone up 6lb for that defeat, so he will need to produce another career best, but that's the nature of most handicaps. He's done nothing wrong, and seems in very good form, and hopefully he can settle a little bit better and run a big race.