DONCASTER heralds the start of the new turf season tomorrow and the yard has a runner in the first race, the Cammidge Trophy, courtesy of Eirene (pictured on the gallops at home).
This year’s traditional curtain-raiser fixture sees nine going to post for the Listed contest over six furlongs and on official ratings, the 4yo daughter of Declaration Of War has something to find. Six runners are rated higher than her 102 official rating while her best form has been on soft going and with the going likely to be Good, conditions will not be to her best advantage.
However, Town Moor has been kind to Eirene and in her three starts at Doncaster, she has recorded a win (on her second ever outing), a second and a third. Robert Winston has been aboard on eleven of her fourteen starts, including the win and a second at Doncaster and he is reunited with her tomorrow.
She has some good form in the book, including a third in the Group 3 Nell Gwyn last year at Headquarters. This was after a 200-day break, so we know she goes well fresh. The market leaders, Equilateral, Invincible Army and Arbalet are clearly some of the principal dangers but Eirene has always been a talented filly and hopefully six furlongs at her favourite track will see her run well.
Whatever Eirene does, it is great to see the return of the turf. Where did those four months go? Harper Lodge Farm begins the new grass season with a full yard of 55 horses in training. Traditionally the stable has done better with its older horses and currently we have over half the string aged four or over. Stable stalwart sprinters Tropics, Lancelot Du Lac and Librisa Breeze are all still rated 100+ while Flaming Spear and tomorrow’s runner Eirene are also members of the Hundred Club.
A quarter of the yard are three-year-olds and there should be some improvers among them while the two-year-olds, although maybe smaller in number than in previous years, comprise some talented individuals, including Solario Racing’s Garswood colt.