Educate – Newbury
When you analyse any race you start with your own first. And Educate certainly has plenty going for him in the race today.
I made no secret that he would have needed his first start at Doncaster. The fact he won was a massive bonus and somewhat of a surprise. His preparation was mistimed, the ground was plenty soft enough and, in truth, he probably shouldn’t have won.
If Boots and Spurs had kicked for home later, Educate would have finished second at best. No matter. He has improved both physically and mentally in the past three weeks. He has lost all the excess weight – his girth is now tightened two holes lower – and his piece of work last Friday under Liam Jones was his most impressive yet.
He quickened six lengths clear of Mubtadi (a fabulous work horse) who is on a five-timer. He flowed on his first piece of work on the grass. He doesn’t like the AW and his work (solely on the polytrack) leading into the Doncaster race was disappointing.
Mentally he is also more alert. Educate is naturally keen but he looks tremendous and there will be no excuses, granted a clear run. The drying ground will help enormously. He has twice won on soft but he travels much better on quicker ground; I have driven plenty mad about his favoured surface.
The race itself doesn’t appear as competitive as the number of runners would suggest. You have to respect Border Legend. He is lightly-raced and trained by a top notch handler. He would prefer more rain, though.
Global Village was unlucky in the Lincoln and was third in this race last year. The suspicion is that, at eight, Global Village isn’t going to improve much more and he did have a run prior to the feature at Doncaster. He is another that wouldn’t want the ground getting too quick.
Captain Bertie ran no sort of race at Doncaster under conditions that should have suited and he won this race last year on soft. He goes on better ground but is better with cut. The one I fear most is Guest Of Honour.
He has run two solid races this season, is back over his right trip of a mile and the drying ground will help, as will the expected fast pace. He is a big threat.
The plethora of speed in the event is a great help for Educate. The plan is to sit midfield with cover and, if possible, to hit the front at the furlong pole. The horse stays 10f and has a sharp 100/150 yard burst. His mark of 93 is very fair.
The Royal Hunt Cup has been the target since he won at York in October and that is still the plan. He will, though, have a run before Royal Ascot. Ismail feels he will need an outing in between.
Can you feel confident in a 25-runner field? Yes. This is a seriously good horse.