MALTON trainer Richard Fahey will know by the end of this afternoon whether his Classic aspirations for two of his horses are still intact.
Parbold goes for the CSP Free Handicap as he attempts to book his place in the Qipco 2,000 Guineas, while Frankie Dettori will be reunited with Sandiva as she aims to confirm her place in the 1,000 Guineas in the Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes.
Narrowly beaten by Astaire in the Gimcrack Stakes at York last August, Parbold proved himself a high-ranking juvenile. A debut winner on Knavesmire in June, he went on to chase home War Command in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot and also finished a close-up third to Toormore, a subsequent Group 1 winner, in the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood.
Today he tackles a race in which his stablemate Garswood won 12 months ago. It's a small, select field this time around and Parbold has to concede weight to his rivals under Jimmy Fortune. But if he is prove worthy of taking on the likes of Kingman and Australia, the two big guns, in the first colt's Classic on the first Saturday of May, he needs to win this afternoon. He has major claims.
Sandiva was also a high achiever last season as a two-year-old. She won in Listed and Group 3 company, finished second in the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot and fifth in the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac at Longchamp on her final start when the heavy ground was against her.
On ratings, she is the one to beat in the Nell Gwyn, which will be her first attempt at seven furlongs. She is napped to take all the beating after a trouble-free preparation and keep alive Fahey's hopes of a Classic tilt with her in just over two weeks time.
John Gosden has his horses in sensational form and the Newmarket trainer can figure strongly on the scoreboard of his local track.
Gosden is fancied to score with Provident Spirit (1.45), who ran well on his debut at Doncaster, and Munjaz (5.10), who looked promising in his two starts last season.
Today's local action is at Beverley, whose first meeting of the year is an eight-race affair. Aetna, trained by Mick Easterby, looked a sprinter to follow when winning readily on her reappearance at Newcastle a couple of weeks ago.
She has been raised 6lb for that success, but there should be plenty more to come from her and although she is not ideally drawn, she is fancied to follow-up under Graham Gibbons.
Flycatcher should a reasonable level of ability last season while suggesting she may be even better as a three-year-old. She is worth noting in the Randall's Folly Handicap, while the Godolphin colours, which will be much in evidence today and tomorrow at Newmarket, could be carried to success by Solidarity in the Sell Racehorses Online @RacehorseTrader Handicap.
An Epsom winner last season before finishing second at Pontefract on his final start, when he started favourite, Solidarity has been gelded since. He looks one to keep on the right side this season.
1.45 Provident Spirit, 2.20 Flyball, 2.55 Toofi, 3.30 Parbold, 4.05
Sandiva (NAP), 4.40 Truth Or Dare, 5.10 Munjaz, 5.40 Kaab.
1.25 Justonefortheroad, 1.55 Realtra, 2.30 Ythan Waters, 3.05 Aetna, 3.40 Flycatcher, 4.15 Loch Ma Naire, 4.50 Solidarity, 5.25 Real Tigress.
Today’s other meetings: Cheltenham, Sedgefield and Southwell.
Tomorrow’s meetings: Newmarket, Cheltenham and Ripon.