Turf Talk: Hareem Queen eyeing hat-trick on Southwell return
Hareem Queen has taken a liking to Southwell and can demonstrate her affection for the Fibresand again in the Betway Heed Your Hunch Handicap.
Karl Burke’s filly bagged a 9lb hike in the ratings for her ready course-and-distance success on handicap debut last month.
But there was a convincing manner to her authority then, as in her maiden victory here in October, and it will be no surprise at all to see her repeat the dose.
On her previous visit, Hareem Queen accounted for Free Love – a vastly more experienced fellow three-year-old who is a four-time winner and has acquitted herself well on this surface but was brushed aside with ease.
There is every reason to anticipate the hat-trick.
Half-an-hour later, Noble Behest is another handicapper with good prospects of completing the same winning sequence.
Ian Williams’ five-year-old will be bidding to do so over a significantly longer trip than Hareem Queen, in the marathon Betway Casino Handicap.
Noble Behest will be making his course debut as well as trying an extended two and a quarter miles for the first time.
If those two factors raise understandable alarms, though, they are offset by the evident stamina he displayed over an extended two miles to win at Wolverhampton last time.
That success, hard-fought as at Chelmsford previously, suggested the extra distance could be right up his street.
Earlier on the card, Makambe could very well get back into winning ways in the Bombardier “March On Your Own Drum” Handicap.
Joey Haynes and Chelsea Banham struck twice with the grey in the autumn, including over this course and distance at the start of October.
Two subsequent visits have resulted in creditable performances, in fourth and second – the latter incurring another 2lb rise.
There was nonetheless enough encouragement to interest punters as well as handicappers, and the four-year-old should continue his upward curve.
At Wolverhampton, Steal The Scene is another on the hat-trick trail in the opening Bombardier ‘March To Your Own Drum’ Handicap.
But in his case, the limelight may fall this time on a better-treated rival.
The King’s Steed is still 3lb well in under his penalty for his all-the-way win over a mile at Chelmsford last week.
He is back down a furlong and has eight lengths to find with Steal The Scene on their running here a month ago.
That was at level weights – and although a 5lb pull should not theoretically bridge the gap, Shaun Lycett’s gelding has since strongly indicated he is in the mood to do further damage off this mark.
Holy Eleanor may be able to break her duck at last in the Ladbrokes Football Acca Boosty Nursery Handicap.
Record-breaking Hollie Doyle has twice narrowly failed to get Archie Watson’s filly off the mark this month.
There was merit on both occasions in their runner-up spots, though, and it falls to Luke Morris to try to get the job done in the saddle this time.
Savalas has a cheeky shot at the Betway Handicap off bottom weight.
Robert Cowell wasted no time returning the four-year-old to the all-weather, following his arrival from Kevin Ryan last month.
It looks a canny move – because, despite starting slowly on both attempts, Savalas has since outrun big odds to finish a close fifth at Newcastle and was then beaten only a head at Chelmsford.
The grey had a three-figure rating less than a year ago, and is a course-and-distance winner on his only previous visit.
Ascot hosts a good jumps card, on which recent winning course form speaks in favour of Master Debonair in the Grade Two Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices’ Hurdle.
Three promising rivals will doubtless be well-supported, but there was no doubting Master Debonair’s superiority – and ability to handle soft ground – here last month.
That performance may well prove to have been under-estimated, as he too could be in the market.
Soaring Glory is another who can be expected to confirm recent course form, in the closing Isobel Championship Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race.
Like Master Debonair, Jonjo O’Neill’s four-year-old was a winner over the same distance last month.
He took care of the re-opposing Kid Commando and Bravemansgame that day – and although those two were well-touted and will be expected to improve, Soaring Glory was emphatically in charge last time.
ASCOT: 12.45 Angels Breath, 1.20 It Sure Is, 1.55 Debuchet, 2.30 Master Debonair, 3.05 Fortunate George, 3.40 Soaring Glory.
SOUTHWELL: 1.35 Private Matter, 2.10 Irish Minister, 2.45 Makambe, 3.20 HAREEM QUEEN (NAP), 3.50 Noble Behest, 4.20 Disruptor, 4.50 Motahassen.
UTTOXETER: 12.05 Kilcaragh Boy, 12.35 Emphatic Qualm, 1.10 Barrowlands, 1.45 One Style, 2.20 Dharma Rain, 2.55 Storm Wizard, 3.30 Adrimel.
WOLVERHAMPTON: 5.00 The King’s Steed, 5.30 Brodick, 6.00 Holy Eleanor (next best), 6.30 Batchelor Boy, 7.00 Dance To Paris, 7.30 Savalas, 8.00 Harry’s Ridge, 8.30 Levanter.