Lancashire Telegraph Racing Column
7:31am Friday 11th April 2014 in Sport
Dutch Masterpiece can make a brisk start to the season by winning the Dubai Duty Free Handicap at Newbury.
Gary Moore's progressive sprinter enjoyed a most lucrative campaign in 2013 and it is entirely feasible to envisage him landing a seriously big prize this term.
Yet before he inevitably steps back up into Group class, the four-year-old can take this not inconsiderable pot at the Berkshire circuit.
Dutch Masterpiece will probably need to be somewhere near his best, as the five-furlong handicap has lured to the party a clutch of more-than-useful speedballs.
Be that as it may, the gelded son of Dutch Art could still be a cut above.
Moore's inmate knocked off three impressive victories last summer, each of which came on good ground, and was a deserved entrant in the Prix de l'Abbaye on Arc weekend.
It all went a little wrong in France, though, as Dutch Masterpiece beat just three horses home in first-time blinkers.
That was, however, clearly not his true form and it could be plausible that he found things happening all a little too quickly at a time in his career when sprinters tend to struggle against their elders.
Another year older, wiser and stronger, expect him to be a different proposition next time he takes the plunge in a Group One.
With conditions at Newbury just about ideal - he goes well on both soft and on a decent surface - any concerns about his fitness after a 187-day absence are perhaps soothed by the fact that Dutch Masterpiece won on his debut in July 2012.
Even in spite of being burdened by top weight, he should be far too sharp for most of these.
Scotland probably needs to be winning the Dubai Duty Free Golf World Cup EBF Stallions Conditions Stakes to stand any chance of being competitive in the 2000 Guineas next month.
Trainer Andrew Balding adores this Monsun colt, and it is easy to see why.
A highly accomplished debut on soft ground at Sandown last September was a clear indicator he was well above average.
And so it proved as Scotland absolutely dotted up in a really good conditions stakes over eight and a half furlongs.
The from that race looks strong, too, as runner-up Day Of Conquest subsequently finished third in the Horris Hill at Newbury.
As a three-parts brother to Shirocco, this extra trip should hold no concerns whatsoever, while he has already shown his versatility on different ground variants.
Scotland must give away weight to all of his rivals in this mile-and-a-quarter assignment, but it would be most disappointing if he did not take within his stride this challenge before being sent to the top table.
There is little about which to get too excited at Wolverhampton's evening meeting, but at least Mappin Time looks an appealing prospect in the Compare Bookmakers At bookmakers.co.uk Handicap.
Tim Easterby's six-year-old has been in superb form all winter and showed with a narrow second over course and distance a week ago that he is capable of winning off a mark of 81.
Tahiti Pearl is worth noting as he makes a swift reappearance in the Hillhouse Quarry Handicap Chase at Ayr, while the useful Mickie must go close in the Coral Backing Poppyscotland Mares' Handicap Hurdle.
Leader Of The Gang has a little less on his plate when he runs at Fontwell.
David Pipe's eight-year-old was rather bullied by Jack Albert at Uttoxeter last month but would be unlucky to bump into such a dangerous opponent in the Tom Cannon, Fontwell's Champion Jockey 2013 Handicap Hurdle.
Fontwell maestro Morestead has slipped to pretty handy mark and will not be too far away in the Chancellor's Trophies Provided By trophystore.co.uk Handicap Chase.
AYR: 2.10 Voyage A New York, 2.40 Plus Jamais, 3.15 Ulzana's Raid, 3.50 Tahiti Pearl, 4.25 Le Bacardy, 4.55 Mickie, 5.25 Problema Tic.
FONTWELL: 1.20 Spyder, 1.50 Shubaat, 2.20 Seebright, 2.50 Leader Of The Gang, 3.25 Buthelezi, 4.00 Regal Flow, 4.35 Morestead, 5.05 Max The Minister.
NEWBURY: 2.00 Charlie's Star, 2.30 Desert Recluse, 3.05 Scotland, 3.40 Zarwaan, 4.15 DUTCH MASTERPIECE (NAP), 4.45 Wojha, 5.15 Be My Gal, 5.45 Inchila.
WEXFORD: 4.20 Hurler And Farmer, 4.50 Cinder Rua, 5.20 The Mooch, 5.50 Cave Artist, 6.20 Highbrow Blue, 6.50 Fiery Oscar, 7.20 Henry's Girl.
WOLVERHAMPTON: 5.35 Rose Buck, 6.05 Sir Frank Morgan, 6.35 Alpine Storm, 7.05 Catching Zeds, 7.35 Mappin Time, 8.05 Katja, 8.35 Angel Way.
DOUBLE: Dutch Masterpiece and Scotland.
Comments are closed on this article.