Hills eyes big weekend
John Hills believes Boomerang Bob heads to Saturday's Guineas with a "sporting chance" of a place following the Lingfield victory of Xinbama.
While very few spectators were prepared to brave the constant drizzle of this meeting, rearranged to the Polytrack from waterlogged Folkestone, Hills and several colleagues were delighted to be able to run horses on a sound surface.
Xinbama's previous Lingfield experience had not been a fruitful one but the colt had an untroubled passage through the totepool Handicap and had opened up a gap of a length and a quarter by the line.
"This is a good horse," Hills said of the 9-1 shot.
"He was very unlucky when he ran here last month - he got no daylight at all. I think he'll get a mile, too.
"I didn't enter him for this meeting when it was at Folkestone because of the ground, but when I saw it had been rearranged here it was perfect.
"He'll be suited by better ground on the grass."
If the wet weather was of no benefit to Xinbama, it is quite the opposite for Boomerang Bob, who was second behind Caspar Netscher on his reappearance in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury.
"The good point is that he likes soft ground, the question mark is whether he stays a mile," Hills said.
"The lads at home think he will. I think he has a very good sporting chance of finishing in the first four, and that's why we're in a sport, to have a go."
Paul Cole's son Oliver was in little doubt about what had caused Flashbang (4-1) to leave her two previous efforts in 2012 so far behind in the totequickpick Fillies' Handicap.
Silvestre de Sousa once again advertised his artistry from the front and the gamble on Big Wave went awry as the 13-8 favourite could only get within two and three-quarter lengths.
"I think it's for all to see that we've put the blinkers on her," said Cole junior.
"She ran well first time this year and we thought she'd win the next time, but she didn't quite go through with it.
"That was much better, and you'd like to think she could go and do it again."
Richard Hughes was given a one-day careless riding ban aboard the runner-up and must sit out the Betfred Dante Stakes at York on May 17, having only returned on Tuesday from a 50-day ban handed out in India.
However, Hughes gained some consolation when partnering Hefner (11-8) to victory for Richard Hannon in the concluding Cyprium Bar At Marriot Lingfield Median Auction Maiden Stakes.
Impending motherhood brought about a pleasant change of fortunes for Instructress (16-1) as she collected the second victory of her career toteplacepot Lady Riders' Handicap.
Part of the credit must go to Alice Mills, who judged the pace of the five-furlong dash with aplomb.
"Robert's in Dubai and he just hoped she would do her best as she's in foal," said Mills.
"That's my first on the Flat, while I've had one over hurdles.
"I wouldn't mind taking out an apprentice or conditional licence out during the summer."
Mills could be an underrated talent, as she struck on a 100-1 shot, Tayarat, at Ludlow in February.
Patrick Chamings was another delighted the meeting had been transferred as it enabled even-money favourite Aye Aye Digby to take the Mirror Punters Club Claiming Stakes with the minimum of fuss.
"He loathes soft ground, so Folkestone would have been no good for him," said Chamings.
"A race I've had in mind is a race they've called a veterans' sprint at Goodwood on May 26 for six-year-olds upwards."
Talbot Green saw off fellow 9-4 favourite Galiotto in the Summer Evenings At Lingfield Park Handicap while Hayley Turner also made all the running in the Bet totepool On All UK Racing Handicap when riding Tim McCarthy's Understory (7-1).
McCarthy, wearing a Tottenham Hotspur tie and feeling as chipper about his team, said: "We started him off back at a mile at Kempton but it was a bit sharp so we put him back to 10 furlongs.
"Ideally he's a mile and one horse and he's as tough as old boots."