By Rachel Candelora
Most likely a short price favorite to start off with today but Gabr looks a winner waiting to happen after his excellent runner-up effort in the Convivial Maiden Stakes at York. Traditionally, that contest at the York Ebor meeting is one of the strongest maidens of the year and this season's renewal already looks up to scratch with the third, Laugh A Minute, winning the valuable sales race at Doncaster last week and the fourth, Dubai Empire, winning at Musselburgh last Saturday. Gabr is up in trip and his pedigree - his dam was a dual Group Two winner over a mile and his sire won the French Derby - suggests it will suit.
Saint-Cloud 4.05 - Limited Edition
The Listed Prix Coronation, for three-year-old fillies who have not won a Group race during the season, is always one of the weaker of the Listed races in France and is also a race in which favourites have a pretty poor record. The likely market leader here is the Andre Fabre-trained Esquisse, who is penalized for her Listed win earlier in the season, but at the weights she is likely to struggle to reverse form with the Ellie Lellouche-trained Limited Edition who finished ahead of her last time, off level weights, at Deauville. Connections still have her entered at Chantilly over Arc weekend and her rider Tony Piccone is enjoying a good season.
Although there are one or two likely improvers in the field, Hats Off To Larry represents consistently solid form and rates the one to beat. Mick Channon has a good record over the years with his rare runners at Pontefract and, in what could become an attritional race given the likely ground conditions, this son of Sixties Icon (significantly out of a Norse Dancer mare) may be able to outstay his rivals.
This problem prone four-year-old has not seen a lot of action on the track but when Regal Gait is able to get to the races he does not disappoint. On Thursday he is coming off the back of a five-month break but his best runs have always been fresh and a return to his beloved Chelmsford should suit as he is 2-3 there. Also, he has the services of the in form Hector Crouch, who takes a valuable 3lb off his back.
Rachel’s top tips for Thursday:
Saint-Cloud 4.05: Limited Edition
Pontefract 5.05: Hats Off To Larry ata general 13-8
Chelmsford 6.15: Regal Gait at a general 3-1