Last Updated: 13/07/13 10:15am
James Doyle: Visited Ed Dunlop in Newmarket
Our Catching Pigeons column is back with the gossip from Newmarket this week and a few tips from the gallops.
There was no shortage of jockeys available to ride work in Newmarket this week with the July meeting having drawn some relative strangers to the town.
Ed Dunlop was joined by his father John on the Watered Gallop, where James Doyle broke new ground as he partnered an unraced two-year-old by the name of Trip To Paris, who could make his debut at Sandown next week - it will be interesting to note whether Doyle gets the call-up for the ride.
Also riding work for Dunlop was Ryan Moore, who like William Buick has taken delivery of a splendid new Mercedes in recent days. Boys and their toys.
Over on the Al Bahathri, the Cecil team being put through their paces included Mighty Yar (another possible for Sandown, although connections might wait for a little more ease in the ground) and Ace of Valhalla, who went well enough under Tom Queally to suggest he is over whatever was ailing him on his only start so far this season at York.
Ely Cathedral is rumoured to be the likely venue for a memorial service for Sir Henry, although a date is still to be finalised. Expect the whole of Newmarket to make their way to pay their final respects.
Given too much to do last time out off a slow early pace, there are unlikely to be any issues with the early gallop in this burn-up and in any case the application of a pair of blinkers is expected to sharpen him up in the first half of the race.
Trainer Ed Vaughan can scarcely contain himself at the prospect of nicking one of the season's big handicap pots such as this and the booking of Ryan Moore tells its own story. He surely must go close.
Moore can't get down to Salisbury, but he has done some of the prep work ahead of Festival Theatre's racecourse debut at the track in the evening. He is better prepared than plenty of Stoute newcomers and should go close in the Bathwick Tyres EBF Maiden.
He hung left down the undulations at Brighton last time, but that shouldn't be such an issue around the tight left-hand turns of the Roodeye.
At Ascot, the Ed Dunlop-trained Jabhaat continues to work very nicely and should take the Norman Court Fillies' Handicap, while Charles 'Charlie' Hills has enjoyed a good run of form in the last 48 hours and fancies Ogbourne Downs to keep up the good work in the Tara and Pippa Handicap.
Owned by Swindon lorry magnate Ken Knox, an old golfing pal of Charlie's Dad, Barry, and none other than Nicky Henderson, he is named after a favourite golf course and looks ready for this move up in class after his win last time. He did well to prevail that day and connections reckon he will both progress further and appreciate this step up in trip.
As for the big race at Newmarket, the Pigeon can offer little that you wouldn't already be aware of about the big players in the Darley July Cup, but Clive Cox was adamant that Lethal Force had improved before Royal Ascot and he is just as adamant that he has improved again since.