Ex-Nicholls star Blaine steps out for Barr with repeat Dash the target
Blaine, the last of the David Nicholls big guns to be unveiled for new connections, will make his debut for Brian Barr at Newbury on Friday with the aim of winning at Epsom on Derby day for the second successive year.
Most of former trainer Nicholls' stable stars have already started out for new connections, including Kimbrella and Sovereign Debt, who have won high-profile races for Richard Fahey and Ruth Carr.
The fact Blaine, now in the colours of Hitchins & The Golden Horse Racing Club, has ended up with Dorset-based Barr comes as a little more of a surprise, but the trainer explained on Thursday how it came about.
"He was supposed to go to someone else, but they could not get through their [training] modules in time, so we then bought the horse privately from bloodstock agent Ian Evans, who runs Premium Bloodstock," said Barr.
"We know a lot about him as he's been around for a while. The main aim is to get him back to Epsom for the race he won last year. He tends to take a run or two to come right, and I think Dandy was quite cute in how he did it last year with the headgear. He'll need the run tomorrow."
Blaine will be partnered by Frankie Dettori at Newbury, and Barr added: "It's good to secure Frankie's services and hopefully he'll get a nice sit on the horse and we can take him to Epsom from there.
"He won that race off 87 last year and he's 94 now, but he won by a long way and you'd be fine with him anything like 5lb either side. We know he’s a top handicapper and it's the top sprint handicaps we'll keep him in all year."
Blaine has won five of his 35 starts. He started off with Kevin Ryan, for whom he won the Gimcrack at York, where three of his successes have come. He was also third in the Ayr Gold Cup in 2014.