Trainer Donald McCain is hopeful that the improving Goobinator can build on a game victory at York last month by going close in the MansionBet Beaten By A Head Colwick Cup Handicap, staged over two miles and highlight of the seven-race programme at Nottingham tomorrow (Friday 13th August).
The five-year-old is a useful dual-purpose performer and built on a good effort to finish third at Carlisle in May when staying on well over this trip to score at York last month. McCain is hopeful that the Tim Leslie-owned son of Noble Mission can run well again tomorrow.
McCain said: “He was supposed to go to the Sunday Series meeting that was abandoned at Haydock (Sunday 8th August), so he’s ready to go. We were delighted with his run at York and hopefully, he can build on that.
“He lost his confidence a bit over hurdles but we’ve always thought a bit of him and it was nice to get him back on track last time out. On the Flat, we’re still learning a bit with him but he’s still a big young horse that can keep improving.”
This is the first time that the Colwick Cup will be run over two miles since being established in 2015 and an interesting nine-strong field includes the classy Coeur De Lion, who represents the Alan King team.
The eight-year-old last tasted success in the Ascot Stakes at Royal Ascot in June of last year and has been holding his own in some good contests so far this summer. His trainer is hopeful that this drop-in class can see him go close.
King said: “It’s only a couple of weeks since Goodwood, so we’ll see. I think he is plenty high enough in the handicap and I wouldn’t want the ground to dry up too much but he’s been holding his own in some nice races this summer.
“Georgia (King) takes some useful weight off his back. She rides him most of the time at home and we were a bit stuck for jockeys so the owners (The Barbury Boys) have very kindly agreed that she can ride him, which is lovely.”
Another horse with plenty of strong staying form under his belt is the Phil Kirby-trained Stargazer, who was last seen finishing down the field in the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle on 26th June.
The eight-year-old is perhaps better known for his exploits on the All-Weather scene in recent months but Kirby is hopeful that he can take advantage of his lower turf mark tomorrow by putting in a good display.
Kirby commented: “He has been grand. He was a bit disappointing in the Northumberland Plate and we thought he’d probably run a bit better, but he’s been out with the ground since and hopefully, we get back on the road with him.
“He’s in good form and the ground drying out will help him a little bit. His lower turf mark gives him a chance and Joe (Williamson) rides him plenty at home, he’s my jump conditional really but he can do the top weights on the Flat so it gives him another opportunity.”
A runner who arrives here in good form is the Ed de Giles-trained Roar, who returned to winning ways in remarkable fashion when taking an amateur riders’ handicap at Ffos Las earlier this month, despite giving away 10 lengths at the start.
Tomorrow’s contest is more competitive, but his trainer felt he was worthy of his place in the line-up. He said: “He’s clearly in good form at the moment and I don’t think the trip is a problem. There was probably an easier option for him at Bath but we thought why not.
“He’s won on both the Flat and over hurdles this year so he’s a consistent and good fun horse. It’s a step up in class but it’s worth having a go, though we’d like the ground to tighten up for him.”
Also due to take his chance is the lightly-raced Vis A Vis, who caught the eye on his return from a lengthy break when finishing a close-up sixth over a mile and three-quarters at Ascot last month.
The seven-year-old has had his issues over the years, but his trainer Neil Mulholland revealed that he was happy with where he is at the moment. He said: “We were very happy with his return at Ascot, he seems in great form and, fingers crossed, he can run a really good race. He’s had his issues but he seems in good heart at present and I’d be happy with where he is at present, so fingers crossed he can build on a good run last time here.”
Friday’s seven-race card is a competitive one and includes the MansionBet Watch And Bet Handicap over five furlongs. A trainer who holds good claims in the race is Oakham-based Mick Appleby, who sends out the useful performer Fantasy Master.
The three-year-old has yet to win in six starts this campaign but he was a dual Nottingham winner in 2020 and Appleby is hopeful that a return to Colwick Park can see him produce a good performance.
He said: “He’s come back fine from Goodwood and we’ll get a bit more rain for him hopefully. He seems to go well on the track at Nottingham so hopefully, he can run well now returned there.”
Appleby also sends out the interesting debutant Pearl’s A Swinger, a daughter of Equiano, in the extended mile MansionBet Best Odds Guaranteed Maiden Stakes.
He commented: “She’s going well at home and obviously she’s going to need that education of a first run but she’s a nice filly. We had her dam Lulu The Zulu, so she’s got a future and we’ll see how she gets on.”
Appleby can boast an impressive 19% strike rate from his 42 runners at Nottingham so far this year and he also sends out Mahanakhon Power in the concluding AJA Novice Flat Amateur Jockeys' Handicap.
The four-year-old has been on the premises on each of his three runs since getting off the mark at Yarmouth in June and Appleby was hopeful that he could put everything together under his young rider Bradley Roberts.
He said: “He’s been running well and he’s just a bit frustrating really, he’s got ability but probably holds a bit back for himself.
“He’s always there or thereabouts though and hopefully he can get his nose in front. It’s Bradley Roberts’ first ride for us, so fingers crossed he can run well.”