Cabaletta returns in Middleton

Cabaletta will drop back down in trip for the Group Two Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Middleton Fillies’ Stakes on the second day of York’s Dante meeting.

Roger Varian’s charge makes her seasonal return in a field reduced to five after Aidan O’Brien’s Passion was declared a non-runner on Thursday morning.

Cabaletta spent much of her three-year-old campaign running over distances of a mile and half and a mile and six furlongs.

Her Newmarket trainer said: “She’s in great form and has been training really well.

“She’s a filly who stays a mile and a half. But she’s not short of pace, and her runs over 10 furlongs as a three-year-old were very good.

“I think this is a lovely race to start her season off in – and I would expect her to run well.”

Jessica Harrington is represented by Silence Please, who travels to England for the first time after ending last season with a second-placed run over a mile and a half at Leopardstown.

“She’s going over for her first run of the year – we’re very happy with her at home, and there’s an opportunity for her there,” said Harrington.

“She has won over the trip before – she won a Listed race over this trip, and the ground will suit very well if it keeps good.”

Sir Michael Stoute’s Queen Power heads the market, having been narrowly beaten in the Group Two Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket on her first run of the year, with Ralph Beckett’s Chamade and Mark Johnston’s Freyja also entered.

Nigel Tinkler’s Acklam Express is a leading fancy for the British Stallion Studs EBF Westow Stakes, a Listed race over five furlongs.

The three-year-old spent the early part of the year in Dubai, where he was campaigned in a trio of Group contests at Meydan.

Placed in all of those runs in the Middle East, the gelded son of Mehmas capped his excursion with an excellent third in the Group One Al Quoz Sprint, a race in which he came home only three-quarters of a length behind the winner.

Tinkler reports Acklam Express in fine shape, although any further softening of the ground would not be welcomed despite the horse having won the Listed Julia Graves Roses Stakes on soft Knavesmire turf last season.

“He’s been absolutely fine – he’s had a couple of easy weeks and now he’s in mint condition,” said Tinkler.

“I think he’ll run well – he’s very well in himself.

“The less rain the better for us. He has form on soft ground on the course anyway, but we don’t want the rain.

“He’s very well, and we’re very happy.”

Also entered is Marco Botti’s Atalis Bay, who won on his seasonal comeback at Nottingham in early April.

Botti considers the colt to have matured over the winter, although he too is hoping that there is no further rainfall.

“He’s in good form – we were pleased with the way he ran at Nottingham after a break,” he said.

“He won nicely. He seems to have filled out over the winter and he looks stronger this year.

“Having said that, last year he didn’t run his best races on softish ground, so we’re hoping the ground won’t be too soft.

“Otherwise, it’s a step up in class – and there are two nice horses there that are rated quite high. But this seems to be his best trip, and we’re really looking forward to running him.”

Acklam Express and Winter Power are the two Botti is most wary of, but his charge beat both Muker and Burning Cash at Nottingham.

He added: “Obviously the favourite (Acklam Express) is a proper horse.

“He’s rated 110, and the joint-favourite (Winter Power) is rated highly as well. The rest are probably similar types of horses, so he could run well as long as the ground doesn’t go too soft.”

Winter Power signed off last season with two victories in the Listed Harry Rosebery Stakes at Ayr and the Group Three Cornwallis Stakes at Newmarket and makes her seasonal comeback, while First Company finished third and fifth behind the filly in those races respectively.

Dexter Belle lines up after winning on her first start of the season when taking a novice event at Pontefract in April, with Richard Fahey’s Internationaldream and Geoff Oldroyd’s Never Say Never making up the field of nine.

Temple task on Tinkler’s radar for Ubettabelieveit

Ubettabelieveit could try to redeem himself in the Temple Stakes at Haydock next month following a poor performance in France.

Nigel Tinkler’s three-year-old was never travelling well and trailed home last of eight behind Suesa in the Group Three Prix Sigy at Chantilly on his seasonal debut.

The North Yorkshire trainer believes over-watered ground may have been responsible for the disappointing display from last year’s Flying Childers Stakes winner.

“He’s absolutely fine, not a problem,” said Tinkler.

“I think they’d over-watered the ground and he doesn’t like that.

“He did disappoint in the Gimcrack. It was a similar performance on wet ground. We’re just going to put a line through it.

“He might go for the Temple Stakes. That’s a possible.”

Tinkler reports his other talented three-year-old sprinter Acklam Express to be in fine form following his spell in Dubai during the winter.

Nigel Tinkler
Nigel Tinkler (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

He was placed in all three starts at Meydan, ending with third place in the Group One Al Quoz Sprint.

The Mehmas gelding is being aimed at the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, preceded by a run in the Westow Stakes at York’s May meeting.

“He’s very well. He’s going to run in the Westow at York and he’ll then go for the King’s Stand,” said Tinkler.

Tinkler has much to look forward to with sprint aces

Nigel Tinkler is looking forward to campaigning Acklam Express in big sprints after the three-year-old finished a close third on his first attempt in a Group One at Meydan.

The son of Mehmas was only beaten three-quarters of a length by the Ryan Moore-ridden winner Extravagant Kid in the Al Quoz Sprint, to confirm he does stay six furlongs.

It gives North Yorkshire trainer Tinkler, who also has the speedy Ubettabelieveit in his yard, more options.

“We were doubtful if he’d get the six, but he showed he does get six. Obviously it gives us a lot more options,” he said on Sunday.

“The horse ran very well. We were very proud of the horse and jockey (Rowan Scott).

“He’s absolutely fine. He flies back tomorrow and should be back here in his own stable tomorrow evening.

“We don’t know quite where we’ll go. We’re going to review the whole thing in the next couple of weeks.”

Tinkler is considering giving both horses an entry in the Group Three Prix Sigy over five and a half furlongs at Chantilly on April 20.

“There is a Group race in April at Chantilly. It’s over five and a five furlongs and we’re going to look at that race for both of them and decide whether to give them an entry,” the North Yorkshire handler went on.

“Ubettabelieveit would be ready to run then, but he needs fast ground which is a little bit of a question mark April-time in Paris.”

Acklam Express stays in Dubai for sprint targets

Acklam Express will have the chance next month to build on his excellent first run in Dubai, as runner-up to Equilateral.

Nigel Tinkler’s three-year-old stayed on strongly following a slow start to get within a length of the winner in the Group Two Meydan Sprint last week.

The Mehmas gelding will stay in Dubai and could run in either the Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint on Super Saturday (March 6) or the Al Quoz Sprint on Dubai World Cup night (March 27) – or possibly both.

“He ran a marvellous race. He’s very well, came out of the race absolutely fine,” said the North Yorkshire trainer.

“He’s entered for Super Saturday. He might run there. We’ll know in a few days if we’ve got an invite for World Cup night.

“If he gets an invite for that, he might just go straight there. We’ll see. There’s no need to make a decision at the moment.”

Tinkler has another speedy three-year-old in Ubettabelieveit, who won the Flying Childers Stakes at Doncaster and was third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at Keeneland.

The Kodiac colt will stick to five furlongs for the time being – but Tinkler cannot think too far ahead yet, with limited details as yet available in the programme book because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“He went to Mark Dwyer’s for the winter. He’s been back three weeks, and we’re very happy with him,” he said.

“We don’t know what races there are, because we’ve only got the programme book until April. The next one doesn’t come out for a fortnight, so I can’t say anything concrete.

“In a normal year we’d look at the something like the Temple Stakes or a race at York at the May meeting, before going to Royal Ascot.

“I don’t think he’s going to go beyond five furlongs.”

Tinkler is so proud to have two speedsters in his yard.

“It’s just amazing to think one of them is rated 110 and the other is rated 109 –  and they live next door to each other,” he said.

“They were two of the fastest two-year-olds in the UK last season – over five furlongs there won’t be many rated higher, and they are next-door neighbours. It’s unbelievable, it’s just fortune.”