Turf Talk: Wolverhampton marks first step in a big month for Marco Botti’s Felix
There are big plans afoot for Felix this month, and he can stay on course with victory in the Betway Handicap at Wolverhampton.
Marco Botti’s four-year-old, a course-and-distance winner on Boxing Day, holds a high-profile entry in the Winter Derby at Lingfield.
He has put such lofty targets on the agenda by winning all three starts since being gelded last summer, including both for his current trainer.
Felix has risen more than a stone in the ratings since September, but is improving rapidly on the basis of his smart 10-furlong win over Singing Sheriff at Lingfield last month. He is back just half a furlong here, having found this trip and track very much to his liking over Christmas – and there is no reason to expect his latest 5lb rise will halt progress.
Earlier at Dunstall Park, Yellow Tiger can put the cat among the pigeons in the Betway Casino Handicap.
David Loughnane’s new inmate is significantly up in trip on his stable debut.
He has nonetheless hinted more than once that a marathon distance could be his bag - and new connections are wasting no time before finding out.
Yellow Tiger ran up to his best – following his autumn gelding operation – on his final start for Ian Williams just after Christmas, when a slightly one-paced two-length fourth at Lingfield.
He has, of course, incurred no rise for that performance and has therefore been given an opportunity off his current mark to show what he is made of at just his second attempt on Tapeta and first beyond 12 furlongs.
Sound Mixer is still waiting for her maiden success, after five career starts over the past four months. But there is no doubt she is getting much closer, despite being a narrowly beaten favourite the last twice, and is fancied in the Ladbrokes “Play 1-2-Free” On Football Handicap.
William Haggas’ filly, owned by the Queen, moves up a furlong for her third handicap and Wolverhampton debut – and there has to be a good chance it will all fall into place this time.
Plumpton provides the jumps action, and it is worth noting David Bridgwater has picked the Crystal Services Commercial And Domestic Cleaning Handicap Chase from Wenceslaus’ two five-day options at the track.
The in-form eight-year-old has fine prospects of completing his hat-trick, because he has looked increasingly progressive of late.
He is already a three-time course winner and should enjoy testing conditions again.
Fraser Island let down favourite backers last time, but can make amends in the That Friday-Ad Feeling Novices’ Hurdle.
The four-year-old had made an impressive start for Nicky Henderson when winning by 11 lengths at Newbury on his debut in December, but he could not build on that at Kempton next time.
Beaten just under three lengths by Goa Lil, it certainly was not a bad run – considering he was conceding 6lb to the winner – and a similar effort would put him in the mix again.
PLUMPTON: 2.15 Fraser Island, 2.45 Colorado Doc, 3.15 Hawthorn Cottage, 3.45 Wenceslaus, 4.15 Age Of Wisdom, 4.45 Lady Chartreuse.
WOLVERHAMPTON: 4.35 Distant Goddess, 5.05 Sound Mixer (next best), 5.40 Double Kodiac, 6.10 Yellow Tiger, 6.40 Windsorlot, 7.10 Beau Geste, 7.40 FELIX (NAP), 8.10 Jorvik Prince.