James Eustace has a busy week ahead with some of last season's stable stars making their seasonal debuts. TRANSACTION gets the ball rolling at Newmarket tomorrow in a 6 furlong handicap. He did really well last year and consequently is plenty high enough in the weights. The ground should be perfect for him if it remains good. He is in good form and should run well but may find one or two too good for him tomorrow.
On Wednesday RAFFISH and MOONSTRUCK are heading up the A1 to Beverley. RAFFISH is being tried over a slightly longer trip of 12 furlongs but James Eustace feels that he will stay. He has come out of the Doncaster race well but has still to come fully in his coat. MOONSTRUCK ran a much more encouraging race on his last start at Lingfield over 7 furlongs and he will also be trying a longer trip which should be in his favour. The only worry is his lack of experience, this will be his first run in a handicap, so it may all be a bit much for him on this track. Both horses like a bit of cut in the ground so would not want the ground to dry up too much. MOONSTRUCK has an alternative engagement at Thirsk on Friday if conditions do go against him on Wednesday.
ARIODANTE is entered at Newbury on Friday and Ripon on Thursday. The preferred choice of engagements is Newbury but he needs a few horses to come out of the race and he does not want to run on soft ground, he ran badly on soft ground at York last year. He is a nice progressive horse and wherever he runs he should give a good account of himself.
RUBY WINE, an Oaks entry, is set to reappear at Newbury on Friday in a 10 furlong maiden. She has not been overworked at home for her first race of the season but she looks really well and a good run is expected. A lot depends on Friday as to her future plans. To be an Oaks filly she will need to run in a trial and to be good enough to run in one of those she needs to win a maiden race first.
Last season's St Simon Stakes winner, ORCADIAN, is entered in the John Porter at Newbury on Saturday. The horse is in great form and James Eustace does not feel he needs soft ground. Although the ground was bottomless when he won the St Simon, it was more the step up in trip than the ground that accounted for his improvement in form. In hindsight he should have been tried over a longer trip as a 2 year old as he does obviously stay well. He should have a good chance whatever the ground. WELCOME STRANGER is also entered at Newbury, in the Spring Cup. He only runs if the ground is good or faster. The race should suit him and although he is still a bit backward in his coat he is working well at home and beginning to come to himself. He is high enough in the handicap but James Eustace said this at the same time last year and the horse went on to win 3 races! CONSIDINE completes the line up at Newbury. He is running over a trip of 13 furlongs which should be ideal as he has won over 12 and 14 furlongs. His recent runs on the all weather are probably best ignored as the races were not run to suit him. The plan at Newbury will be to make plenty of use of him and hopefully this tactic should see him run a good race.
Last but not least, DUNOWEN, holds an entry at Stratford on Sunday. He is not a definite runner as it could turn out to be a hot race as there is good prizemoney on offer. He could wait for a race at Worcester the following week instead. The horse remains in good form at home