The Wetherbys Super Sprint at Newbury will be gone in rather less than 60 seconds, but once the race is run the winning connections will know that they have a horse with a big future. Bryan Smart, the trainer of Titus Alone, is in the box seat. The winner of the Windsor Castle Stakes at the Royal meeting at York is said by Smart to be the fastest horse he has trained.
These words from the mouth of a canny trainer not given to hype would normally be sufficient to prompt a large cash withdrawal and a trip down the M4. But there is one problem with Titus Alone – he is a he. The fairer sex has won nine of the last 12 Super Sprints. The females are not necessarily superior, it’s just that the poor chaps have to lump an extra seven pounds.
The record of fillies merits attention, as does the form of trainer Richard Hannon. He has won this race five times since 1991. The best of his entries could be Gamble In Gold. The form of her short-head second to Bow Bridge in a listed race at York on her penultimate start is gilt-edged. Salut D’Amour, fourth that day, was a neck second in group company at Newmarket’s July meeting.
If the Wetherbys Super Sprint is a Richard Hannon benefit, the card’s big handicap, the ladbrokes.com Stakes over a mile has the look of bookies’ benefit. In a maximum field there are bound to be plenty of hard luck stories. Ace of Hearts is the likely favourite and the manner of his win in a similar contest at Sandown last time suggests he can shrug off a four-lbs rise in the weights. However, at 20/1, top-weight Mukafeh looks an each-way steal. He is lightly raced and very well regarded at home.
2:50 – Mukafeh (each-way)
3:25 – Gamble In Gold (win)