YORKSHIRE trainer John Quinn is planning to give star juvenile The Wow Signal a prep race before going for Classic glory in the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.
After running away with an Ayr maiden on his racecourse debut last May, the son of Starspangledbanner went on to claim the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Prix Morny at Deauville during a tremendous summer campaign.
His season ended disappointingly as he failed to fire in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp in October, but Quinn is confident his charge will bounce back as a three-year-old.
It promises to be a significant 2015 for the Malton trainer whose Aurore D’Estruval is one of the leading contenders for the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
“The Wow Signal had a nice break and then came back in after Christmas and is back cantering. He is a big, strong colt and is very enthusiastic,” said Quinn.
“The 2000 Guineas is his number one spring target and I think that it will be helpful to get a prep race into him beforehand, so he will probably go for the Craven Stakes or the Greenham.
“I wouldn’t want to make any major excuses about his Longchamp performance, but when he came home afterwards he was a very tired colt who had clearly had enough, whereas after his Ascot and Deauville runs he bounced back straight away.
“You never know when it’s going to be a bridge too far and he had a very long hard year with a lot of travelling. If he had finished fourth or fifth one might think that was just as good as he is, but how he ran was clearly not his real form.”
Each of The Wow Signal’s three victories to date have come over the sprint distance of six furlongs, but Quinn does not expect a step up to a mile in the Guineas on May 2 to be a problem.
“His sire, Starspangledbanner, was a tough sort who won at up to a mile and there is plenty of stamina on the dam’s side of his pedigree,” he added.
Queen Mother Champion Chase hero Sire De Grugy will face a maximum of five rivals when he reappears at Newbury on Saturday. They’re set to include Upsilon Bleu who won Wetherby’s Castleford Chase over Christmas – North Yorkshire jockey James Reveley keeps the ride.
Meanwhile, 2013 Charlie Hall Chase winner Harry Topper will attempt to win a second successive Betfair Denman Chase at the Berkshire track. Opponents could include the Grade One-winning novice Coneygree.
Robert Waley-Cohen has announced Aintree stalwart Oscar Time has been given an entry in the Crabbie’s Grand National.
Entries for the world’s greatest steeplechase are published today and Waley-Cohen had initially expressed doubts about whether to enter the Becher Chase winner who is now 14.
However, the owner-trainer has given himself the option with Oscar Time, who has runner-up to Ballabriggs in 2011 before finishing fourth to Yorkshire hero Auroras Encore two years later.
Charlie Mann will consider letting Musselburgh winner Seventh Sky turn out quickly for the titanbet.co.uk Kingmaker Novices’ Chase at Warwick on Saturday.
Despite jumping left throughout in Edinburgh over the weekend, the eight-year-old ran out an emphatic 19-length victor of the Scottish Future Champions Novices’ Chase under Gavin Sheehan and Mann reports his charge to have taken those exertions in his stride.
He is one of eight possible runners in Saturday’s Grade Two Kingmaker after the race was reopened, and also holds an entry in a handicap on the same card.