IRON CONDOR bids to give Park Lodge it's third Brighton Challenge Trophy. We have won the race twice before with ELMSSCHOOLGIRL several years ago and more recently with ARIODANTE. IRON CONDOR is certainly an interesting runner. He is rated 10 pounds lower on the turf than the all-weather and therefore could be well in on Thursday. He was unlucky not to win on the turf last year and showed that, unlike his half-brother AT THE MONEY, he prefers a sound surface rather than soft ground. The concern is the weather forecast and if the ground changes to soft, I will almost certainly scratch him. He is declared in a weaker race at Lingfield on the turf over a mile and a half on Friday.
VIKING ROSE also runs at Brighton on Thursday. She has form on the track which is an asset. She ran well last time at Yarmouth on ground softer than ideal and although she is less ground dependent than IRON CONDOR, she would still not want the ground too soft. She was third at Yarmouth last time in spite of the ground not because of it. She is also declared again on Friday at Brighton and will stay at the course overnight and run again on Friday so long as she runs a decent race.
SOUTH AFRICAN GOLD sprang a very pleasant surprise at Yarmouth on Wednesday evening. He made all and hung on very gamely by a head. As reported earlier, this was his first run on the turf since a wind operation and the unknown was whether he could translate his all-weather win to the turf. He gave us the answer in a very genuine fashion. I am delighted for his owner, William Mocatta, who has shown unbelieveable patience with his horse, not to mention his trainer! Let us hope that SOUTH AFRICAN GOLD can progress from here on the turf.