Sheikh Fahad shopping in bargain basement arouses interest
Well, there's a curiosity. Qatar Racing, alias Sheikh Fahad and his brothers, have 145 horses in training around the world. Their stated ambition is "to keep improving the quality of the horses we race and to compete against the very best in the world, all over the world". So how has Mother Of Dragons sneaked into the team?
Trained by Joseph Tuite and bought by him for just €2,000 at the sales last autumn, Mother Of Dragons joined Qatar Racing last week and makes her debut at Windsor (4.45). She must be the cheapest horse in Qatar Racing's entire string. How did it happen?
As her sales price suggests, Mother Of Dragons is bred more in the off-white than the purple. Her dam, Queen O'The Desert, does not boast an exalted pedigree, cost 10,000 guineas as a foal and from six tries won a small Lingfield maiden race. So far, her three other offspring to have been sold at auction fetched between €5,000 and €7,500. Mother Of Dragons is the first to race. Intriguing, isn't it? I wonder how she'll fare at Windsor. We'll find out soon.
A maiden no more
Which of the motley band of four-year-olds contesting the 5.35 at Lingfield will no longer be a maiden after it? Between them the six runners "boast" a score of no wins from 58 attempts, although Arcanista (0 from 21) and Kristoff (0 from 18) account for most of the defeats.
It's a significant race for Isobel Francis, having only her third ride and for Nicola Currie, who rode her first winner last December but three months earlier came within a nose of breaking her duck on Arcanista.
Hope can move mountains, although possibly not really big ones. The heartless form book states that Kristoff will not win and that Arcanista will need to forget about her two most recent runs and remember her better previous ones.
Bella's Boy seems set on being a lost cause while Bob Hopeful, owned appropriately by Bob's Patient Followers, is officially best in at the weights but is almost certainly flattered by his handicap mark of 63.
That leaves Frank Cool and Napping. Frank Cool is 9lb "wrong" with Bob Hopeful and 6lb "wrong" with Arcanista but Tony Carroll is a shrewd trainer and Frank Cool has steadily improved since joining him. With Luke "Chicken Wings" Morris on board, he could be the one - unless Napping is. Napping has one big thing in her favour, she's only run once and wasn't disgraced in finishing fifth in a maiden race at Kempton last month. All that leaves you to do is to see what prices they are and act accordingly.
Meanwhile, at Pontefract, Paul Hanagan has what may well be his first ever ride for Peter Hiatt, on Red Tea (2.30). In the last five years Hiatt has used 77 different jockeys, not one of them named Hanagan. Oh, and there's the second leg of Pontefract's Stayers Championship. A pity I've run out of room. La Fritillaire.