Turf Talk: Alpha Delphini to take on Battaah in Nunthorpe

Trainer Bryan Smart on the gallops near Hambleton House, Sutton Bank. PIC: Gary Longbottom
Trainer Bryan Smart on the gallops near Hambleton House, Sutton Bank. PIC: Gary Longbottom
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CONNECTIONS of Alpha Delphini have not been scared off by Battaash and will take him on in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York later this month.

Narrowly beaten last time on the Knavesmire in a Listed race, Hambleton trainer Bryan Smart does not think there is much between the rest of the sprinting division – Battaash excepted.

Just like his half-brother Tangerine Trees, whom Smart trained to win the Prix de l’Abbaye, Alpha Delphini is seemingly getting quicker with age and has been beaten less than a length on all four starts this season.

“I think we’ll have a crack at the Nunthorpe,” said Smart. “He likes it at York and there’s a hell of a lot of prize-money on offer.

“I know Battaash looked unbeatable at Goodwood, but he boiled over at York last year and you can never be afraid of one. Behind him at Goodwood, the rest were in a heap. We’ve beaten the second (Take Cover) already this year, so if we’d run there, we’d have been in that group.”

Smart is also weighing up options at Doncaster for his unbeaten juvenile Antagonize.

A winner at Newcastle on debut, he then followed up at Redcar under a penalty.

Smart now needs to decide whether to step up to Group Two company in the Howcroft Industrial Supplies Champagne Stakes or run in the Weatherbys Racing Bank £300,000 2-Y-O Stakes off a low weight.

“He’s still a big baby, really, so it wouldn’t bother me if we had just one more run and then put him away for next year,” said Smart.

“When he hit the front at Newcastle on debut, he clearly didn’t know what he was doing, but everything comes so easily to him.

“Graham (Lee) has given him two lovely educational rides and he’s a very exciting horse for the future. I’d say he’d be more likely to run in the sales race, because he’s only down to carry 8st 9lb and it’s worth a hell of a lot more than the Champagne.”

SOBOT’S SELECTIONS

BRIGHTON: 2.00 King Crimson, 2.30 Time Medicean, 3.00 Rosamour, 3.30 Ashington, 4.00 Affina, 4.30 Johni Boxit, 5.00 Baltic Prince.

HAYDOCK: 2.10 Maroc, 2.40 Captain Combat, 3.10 Strategic, 3.40 Berlios, 4.10 ZIP ALONG (NAP), 4.40 Medalla De Oro, 5.10 Poppy Love.

NEWCASTLE: 5.15 Idea Angel, 5.45 Kilbarchan, 6.20 Kroy, 6.50 Polyphony, 7.25 Gaslight, 7.55 Chantresse, 8.30 Majorette, 9.00 Paco Escostar.

SANDOWN: 5.30 Biotic, 6.05 Mutawaffer, 6.35 Too Darn Hot (treble), 7.10 Mister Ambassador (next best), 7.40 Winklemann, 8.15 Whitehall.

YARMOUTH: 1.50 Kraka, 2.20 Stakeholder, 2.50 Black Lotus, 3.20 Oakley Mimosa, 3.50 Moretti, 4.20 Fondest, 4.50 De Vegas Kid.