Sunday August 21
Oceane, favourite in some ante-post lists for the Betfred Cesarewitch on October 8 after winning a competitive handicap at last week’s York Ebor meeting, could well run next in the trial for the Newmarket marathon over the same course and distance three weeks earlier.
Alan said this morning:”Oceane is very much ground dependent and punters should be aware of that, and Max (McNeill) and I have taken the view that whenever the ground is fast and a suitable race comes up we should run. The Cesarewitch Trial is worth £50,000 so is a valuable prize in its own right, and if conditions are in our favour at Newmarket on September 17 he will probably run there.
“Oceane did the job well at York and has come back A1, and we still hope to run him in the Cesarewitch as it’s a £250,000 pot and we enjoyed such a fantastic day last year with Grumeti. But it would be pointless on soft ground, so would-be punters would be better off waiting for the day.”
Alan, who will also enter Grumeti for the trial, particularly as he might need to run well enough to go up a few pounds in the ratings so as to ensure that he gets a chance to defend his big-race crown, reports Chocala “absolutely fine” after the gelding’s glorious winning comeback at Chester on Saturday.
He added:”After two years off the course, the team did a brilliant job to get Chocala ready, and I could not have been more delighted. He has been ready to run for a while now, but every time I entered him up the ground would be too firm, so we were patient and it has paid off.”
Alan, who has five runners on the Flat at Newbury on Tuesday, including three two-year-olds in the same juvenile race, was as angry as owner Henry Ponsonby that Hollie Doyle was not allowed to claim her 7lb apprentice allowance on First Mohican at Chester.
He said:”The old boy has run a blinder, being beaten little more than three lengths, but it left us wondering what might have been had Hollie been allowed to claim the 7lb. I have never heard of the rule that apprentices can’t claim in Listed handicaps – she would have been allowed to claim had First Mohican run in the Ebor at York, where we missed the cut by one – and I agree totally with Henry that it’s a ludicrous rule.”