Enemy Outguns Rivals At Southwell As Palmer Eyes Finals Day

Championship News

31 January 2024

Enemy relished the drop back to 11 furlongs as he claimed some notable scalps in the BetUK Winter Derby Trial at Southwell last week. 

More accustomed to staying distances, the talented seven-year-old outstayed hot favourite Military Order to prevail by a head, with G2 Dante Stakes victor The Foxes back in third. 

Enemy was not entered for next month’s G3 BetUK Winter Derby and trainer Ian Williams has confirmed that Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Turf Handicap, a race in which he finished second in last year, is his next port of call.

Andrew Balding’s Teumessias Fox meanwhile may take up his BetUK Winter Derby entry following an impressive handicap victory at Kempton Park over the weekend, with the handicapper elevating his mark to 105.

Prince Of Zenda looks a sprinter going places after ending The Caltonian’s winning sequence with a dominant front-running display at Newcastle on Saturday night. 

Hugo Palmer’s four-year-old is now unbeaten in two starts since dropping back to six furlongs, having raced over seven furlongs and a mile earlier in his career.

Palmer said: “Prince Of Zenda’s idiot trainer has taken three seasons to work out that he is a sprinter, but he seems to be going forward nicely now that he is sprinting.
“He is not the easiest horse to train. He is quite fragile and tends to bang his legs and stuff when he runs, but he appears to have come out of Newcastle perfectly OK. 
“You see it time and again with horses that come back sprinting a little later in life, they learn to sprint and suddenly find improvement. The handicapper has raised him 7lb to 89 and we are hopeful that he might squeak into the bottom of the Sprint on Finals Day.

“He will run before then in any case and I think the AWC Trials Day at Lingfield on March 1 looks the obvious stepping-stone. The prize money is good and it gives us a month into Newcastle if he does pick up a little knock.”

Elsewhere, Torvar (David O’Meara) is one of the week’s biggest handicap movers after going up 11lb to 74 for his near four-length victory in a five-furlong handicap at Chelmsford. 

The same Sunday evening fixture saw Al Mamar post a similarly impressive victory for Stuart Williams in a mile handicap, which has earned an 8lb rise to 84.

Cloud Cover is likely to have the Fillies & Mares’ final on her agenda after she returned to winning ways in a seven-furlong handicap at Kempton Park. 

The Night Of Thunder filly has won three of her last four starts for James Tate, with her defeat coming behind Nine Tenths, who could line up in this weekend’s Listed BetMGM Tandridge Stakes. 

Cloud Clover’s rider Rossa Ryan has moved on to 54 winners for the season after completing a treble at Wolverhampton on Monday. His nearest pursuer in the All-Weather Champion Jockey standings is Jack Mitchell on 40. 

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