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Monday, 17 December, 2018

Champions Day amuse-bouche: four names to tickle the tastebuds

William Buick returns to the saddle on the warm favourite Blue Point at Ascot
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Buick back just in time

William Buick will make his return from a fractured T12 vertebra, suffered on the sadly ill-fated Permian at Arlington in August, aboard Blue Point in the Group 3 John Guest Bengough Stakes (3.00).

Buick will have to get back into the rhythm quickly, as he has come back just in time for the big dances.

Only a win will count as a successful comeback on Blue Point, who beat Harry Angel here in May and has made the frame in two Group 1 sprints since, the first being the Commonwealth Cup at the royal meeting.

Blue Point's trainer Charlie Appleby, who on Thursday revealed Buick's comeback, said of the son of Shamardal: "Blue Point has come forward since his run at Haydock. He had a break during the summer, when he probably did a bit too well, and got a bit tired in the testing conditions last time out.

"If he can he repeat the form of his previous Ascot performances he is going to take all of the beating."

Blue Point is still entered in the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes back here in a fortnight's time so success could pencil in another big-race ride for Buick soon after his comeback.

Waldgeist out for revenge

Britain and Ireland raided France's piggy bank last weekend, scooping most of the big prizes available at Chantilly's Arc meeting. This week Andre Fabre hopes to redress the balance ever so slightly with hot favourite Waldgeist in the Group 3 Cumberland Lodge Stakes (2.25).

The Cumberland Lodge is often the preserve of those testing the water at Group 3 level and, with the exception of recent Turkish Group 2 winner Secret Number, this year's renewal looks much the same.

Meanwhile, Waldgeist has already won a Group 1, last year's Criterium de Saint-Cloud, and has been mixing it with the best three-year-olds this year. He was beaten a short head by Brametot in the Prix du Jockey Club in June and was last seen finishing fourth behind only Capri, Cracksman and Wings Of Eagles in the Irish Derby.

Fabre said of the Galileo colt: "He is training well and went to Maisons-Laffitte for a gallop ten days ago. Obviously he might need the run on the soft ground but he has freshness and his ability in his favour."

It has been reported that, perhaps surprisingly, this first run since July will be Waldgeist's last of the season. Fabre holds high hopes for him as a four-year-old, which is quite the endorsement from a man who has trained more Arc winners than anyone else.

Besides the big two in the betting, other interesting runners are former Derby favourite Midterm and Cheltenham Festival winner Flying Tiger.

Jim Crowley: out for more sprinting success for boss Hamdan Al Maktoum

The A-team combine on plan B horse

No-one watched Battaash blow the Abbaye field apart and thought 'poor Waady,' but the five-year-old has been more or less permanently relegated to the Shadwell subs bench with the emergence of Charlie Hill's gelding. 

Still, a consistent lower-level Group sprinter is still useful even to big operations and, 16 months after he went off third choice in the King's Stand, the five-year-old goes for a second Listed success in the Hope And Homes For Children Rous Stakes (1.50) under Jim Crowley for John Gosden. 

Gosden said on Friday: "He ran a great race to be fourth in a Group 3 at Newbury the other day and should go well again as he's still a fresh horse."

Among his rivals are the three-year-olds Kyllang Rock and Razzmatazz, who has made just four starts in her career so far for Clive Cox, who holds a stronger hand in the sprinting division than just about any other trainer at the moment.

There could be more good news for Robert Havlin

Havlin booked for more comeback riches?

Robert Havlin made no secret that there had been "a little bit of a plan" to bring him back on a winner aboard Purser on Thursday. The plan might run deeper still as he has a couple of really attractive rides for boss John Gosden on the card.

First there is Johnny Barnes, one of umpteen with sound claims in the totescoop6 Challenge Cup, but in the following totepool British EBF October Stakes (4.10) Eternally pulls even stronger.

She won this very race last year, ridden by Frankie Dettori who instead goes to ride Persuasive in the Sun Chariot at Newmarket. Havlin has been on board for two of her other three wins on turf and, having been second in Group 3s on both starts this year, she avoids a penalty for this Listed heat.

Gosden said: "She won the race last year and has been knocking at the door of late. She won't mind the ground and should be thereabouts again."

Although Enternally is the standout candidate, she is not the only proven Listed-class performer in the line-up who avoids a penalty. Three-year-olds Bletchley and Urban Fox, whose age group have dominated the race in recent times, represent her main dangers.

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He is training well and went to Maisons-Laffitte for a gallop ten days ago
E.W. Terms
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