Turf Talk: Gronkowski connections gearing up to touch down in America

New England Patriots' tight end Rob Gronkowski after whom trainer Jeremy Noseda's 'Road to the Kentucky Derby' charge is named.  PIC: Mark Humphrey/AP Photo
New England Patriots' tight end Rob Gronkowski after whom trainer Jeremy Noseda's 'Road to the Kentucky Derby' charge is named. PIC: Mark Humphrey/AP Photo
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Connections of Gronkowski have indicated an American campaign could be on the horizon, so perhaps the title of the “Road To The Kentucky Derby” Conditions Stakes at Kempton gives some indication of the ultimate aim.

Named after New England Patriots player Rob Gronkowski, Jeremy Noseda’s charge has made quite an impression in winning two of his four starts to date.

While he was beaten in two turf outings towards the back end of last year, it was no surprise to see this son of Lonhro hit his stride when switched to the all-weather, finding plenty to claim a novice event at Chelmsford in November. Given a three-month break after that run, Gronkowski made short work of a 7lb penalty and two lesser rivals to win by six lengths over a mile at Newcastle at the start of February. He sticks to that mile trip here and while he has a bit to find with top-rated Fortune’s Pearl, Gronkowski is clearly progressing at a rate of knots and a Classic entry in Ireland perhaps indicates the regard in which he is held.

Arsenio Lupin appeared to have felt the full benefit of a wind operation when powering home on his return from a long lay-off at this track in mid-February.

He had hit the bar a couple of times in six previous outings but coming back from a 211-day break, Arsenio Lupin picked up strongly in the straight over a mile to win by a handy length and three-quarters.

The 32Red Handicap represents a little step up in class, but he will once again be partnered by 7lb claimer Harry Burns and that allowance is another positive in his favour.

White Desert was last seen when disappointing at Goodwood back in August, but it is worth keeping the faith as he returns in the 32Red Casino Novice Stakes.

A half-brother to the admirable Red Cadeaux, White Desert did well to win a 10-furlong Newbury maiden last July.

But he just never looked quite the same when only fifth over a mile and a half at Goodwood.

He never looked totally happy on the Sussex track and a more conventional test here might suit.

Made Of Honour is the choice in Newcastle’s 32Red Casino Fillies’ Handicap.

Karl Burke drops back to seven furlongs with his charge here after seeing her scrape home by half a length over a mile at Lingfield on her most recent outing.

The four-year-old found plenty at the finish that day to win by half a length, but the pace was nothing special which probably counted in Made Of Honour’s favour.

Previously a winner over six and a half furlongs in France, Made Of Honour is clearly quite versatile and a 3lb rise may not be enough to slow her progress.

Cadeau Magnifique can kick off a double for Richard Fahey and Paul Hanagan in the Betway Handicap.

The six-year-old ran with immense credit to finish fourth on his return from just short of a year off the track over a mile at this venue.

He was beaten just under three lengths that day but should improve for both the run and this step up to 10 furlongs.

Right Action can then add to the stable tally in the sunbets.co.uk Handicap.

Beaten three-quarters of a length by the prolific Spare Parts at Wolverhampton last time out, a repeat of that kind of level should see him in the mix here.

SOBOT’S SELECTIONS

KEMPTON: 5.55 Section Onesixsix, 6.30 New Rich, 7.00 White Desert (treble), 7.30 GRONKOWSKI (NAP), 8.00 Arsenio Lupin (next best), 8.30 Mister Freeze, 9.00 Viola Park.

NEWCASTLE: 1.50 Katie Gale, 2.20 Desert Ruler, 2.55 Yabass, 3.30 Cadeau Magnifique, 4.05 Made Of Honour, 4.40 Right Action, 5.15 Rosina.