Acklam Express adds Group 1 stardust to cracking Listed sprint
British Stallion Studs EBF Westow Stakes (Listed) | 5f | 3yo | ITV4/RTV
It’s not often you see genuine Group 1 performers line up in Listed races, but Acklam Express brings top-level form into this courtesy of his third in the Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan last time.
Whether Acklam Express will develop into a bona fide Group 1 sprinter in time is questionable, but this looks a good stepping stone on his way to another go at that class.
Acklam Express stayed on the far side of the course with only two other rivals at Meydan, while the main bulk of the field came stands’ side, and it’s hard to know whether that proved an advantage or disadvantage, but given he was 40-1 some may argue that he was flattered.
Even if that is the case, his previous highest Racing Post Rating of 110, again achieved at Meydan, is still the second best RPR on offer and it would have been good enough to have won six of the last nine runnings of this race. Acklam Express appears to have a class edge.
Furthermore, since the start of 2016 there have been 12 horses who ran in Listed races over short of 7f after finishing in the first three in a Group 1 on their previous outing, and four won.
Winter Power won the Group 3 Cornwallis Stakes at Newmarket in October and also drops in class. Since the start of 2016, 11 horses raced in Listed races over shorter than 7f after winning a Group 3 on their previous start and three were successful. That’s another healthy strike-rate.
Trainer Tim Easterby adds a first-time tongue-tie but is only 5-41 with runners wearing that aid for the first time since the start of 2016, albeit a £1 bet on them all yielded a profit of £27.
Kevin Ryan saddles the unexposed Dexter Belle, who bolted up last time at Pontefract and has run only twice. But Ryan is 0-4 in this race in the last ten years, with only one placed.
Race analysis by Graeme Rodway
All aboard the Express
Acklam Express drops in class for his first domestic appearance of the season having already had a lucrative 2021 after collecting more than £110,000 from three starts in Dubai.
The Nigel Tinkler-trained sprinter competed on both the Super Saturday and World Cup night cards at Meydan, most recently when posting a career-best third in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint behind US raider Extravagant Kid.
Rider Rowan Scott has formed a great partnership with Acklam Express, who capped a hat-trick of wins last summer over this course and distance in the Listed Roses Stakes in August.
Tinkler said: “Acklam Express is in good form and we're looking forward to the race. He’s won on this sort of ground before but would prefer it a bit drier.”
Looking ahead to the rest of the season, Tinkler added: “We’ll see how he gets on before we make any plans, but he stayed six furlongs in Dubai so could go up in trip, although he can’t run in the Commonwealth Cup as he’s a gelding.”
What they say
Marco Botti, trainer of Atalis Bay
It's been the plan to go for this race ever since he won on his seasonal comeback at Nottingham, although that was on fast ground. He should like the track, but I hope the ground dries out a bit.
Paul Midgley, trainer of Burning Cash
He underperformed at Hamilton last time which was probably my fault as he’s run like that there before. He’s come out of it in great shape and this fast five should suit. There looks to be two to beat, but hopefully we can pick up the pieces.
Richard Fahey, trainer of Internationaldream
Acklam Express might take a bit of beating, but our fellow is very tough and ran well on his return at Pontefract. It’s just whether he’s fully effective at five furlongs. I’d imagine six is going to be his trip.
Philip Makin, trainer of Muker
He was probably better with some ease in the ground last year so the rain will help, as will getting back on a flatter track. It’s a tough race.
Silvestre de Sousa, rider of Winter Power
I saw her a couple of weeks ago when I went up to the yard and she has done well over the winter. She won well on soft ground at Newmarket on her final start of last season and if she turns up in that sort of form she’ll take the beating. It’s a small field but hopefully she can start her season on the right note.
Steve Parkin, boss of Clipper Logistics, owner of Dexter Belle
She’s in good form by all accounts, but it looks a tough race and the trip might be on the short side.
Reporting by David Milnes
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