Concerto out to call the tune for Stoute in competitive opener
Spring Lodge Handicap | Class 2 l 3yo+ | 1m1f l ITV/RUK
Sir Michael Stoute likes to have a smart runner in the Qipco Guineas meeting curtain-raiser and fields Doncaster Spring Mile winner Ballet Concerto, who missed the cut for the Lincoln by just one.
The Freemason Lodge trainer and Ryan Moore teamed up to win this in 2009 with the useful Confront and many observers thought that Town Moor consolation race was as strong as the Lincoln itself this year.
By contrast, Saeed Bin Suroor does not often have a representative in the race formerly known as the Suffolk Stakes, but he provides the main local opposition in the shape of Next Stage, who bids to back up an impressive success at the Craven meeting last month.
Punters in peril
Punters eager to get off to a flying start to the two-day fixture have been out of luck as no favourite has won this since Kew Green (9-2) in 2005.
What they say
Roger Varian, trainer of Central Square
Central Square is in good form and this is a nice starting point to his year. He'll probably come forward for the run and he's back a furlong in trip, so I imagine he'll be doing all his best work late on.
Mick Quinn, trainer of Great Hall
I think he posted a career best in the City and Suburban when trying to give 17lb to the winner. We bought him with an eye to running him in the Cambridgeshire, so we hope the trip and ground will suit him.
Bruce Raymond, racing manager to Saeed Suhail, owner of Ballet Concerto
He won the consolation Lincoln at Doncaster but I reckon he could have won the Lincoln itself, as his race looked stronger. He's been working nicely since then and we expect another good showing.
Richard Fahey, trainer of Dolphin Vista
He’s definitely a better horse on slower ground but ran well in the Lincoln. He’s stepping up in trip here, which will suit, but we’ll monitor the weather with the owner as he’s definitely better with a bit of cut.
Jim Crowley, rider of Next Stage
He won very well at the Craven meeting, likes quick ground, and he'd have a really good chance hopefully.
Gary Coffey, racing manager to Newsells Park Stud, owners of Playful Sound
Sir Michael Stoute has been pleased with her preparation and this looks like a good starting point for her season. The plan would be to get some black type this year.