Royal Line may be meeting a couple of his rivals wrong at the weights but he can get his season off to a winning start in the Unibet Supporting Owlerton Greyhound Stadium Sheffield Conditions Stakes at Doncaster.
He achieved an awful lot in a short space of time last year and could make up into a very useful middle-distance performer this season.
Royal Line created a bit of a stir when he won on his debut for John Gosden at Windsor in September, as after running very green in the first half of the race the penny suddenly dropped and he found another gear.
Given that he was a rare runner in Sheikh Mohammed’s original maroon and white silks he garnered a few headlines, too.
He had no trouble in following up in heavy ground at Haydock next time out, winning off a mark of 88, but he was beaten next time when last of three at Newbury.
However, he enhanced his reputation that day when only three lengths behind the 102-rated Time To Study.
Gosden pitched him into the November Handicap for his final outing and while a beaten favourite again in seventh, he was just over four lengths in arrears and for one so inexperienced that was a big run.
No doubt he will be placed to achieve his maximum potential this season by his excellent handler.
Paul Midgley has revitalised the career of many a decent sprinter and the latest to find himself in Westow, near York, is Captain Colby.,
Now a six-year-old, he lost his way badly for Ed Walker but had previously shown a liking for Doncaster, winning the valuable Portland in 2016 and chasing home Tupi first time out in the Cammidge Trophy last term.
After that is was a real tale of woe, but that means he finds himself rated 90 for his new trainer – some 10lb lower than this time last year and first time out might be the time to catch him.
Midgley has four in the race, all making their comeback, but Captain Colby has the most potential off his current mark.
David O’Meara’s Pacific Fleet can be forgiven his latest defeat at Southwell and his fist two performances make him the one to beat in the Unibet Novice Stakes.
He actually began life with Archie Watson and was a promising third at Redcar on debut, before a hugely encouraging run at York.
The winner that day, Wells Farhh Go, is potentially top class for Tim Easterby, while the runner-up, Laugh A minute, won a £300,000 sales race for Roger Varian.
Pacific Fleet was third and it is easy enough to say he failed to act on the Fibresand on his first run for O’Meara.
Paul Nicholls had several entered in the Geotech Soil Stabilisation Novices’ Chase at Ascot and has plumped for Adrien Du Pont.
Without a win since his chasing debut, he has been keeping good company and should find this a good deal easier.
He has faced Willoughby Court, Coney Island and Sceau Royal on his last three outings.
Aye Right has the potential to be a real flag bearer for Harriet Graham based on his most recent run and can confirm that promise in the Geotech Soil Stabilisation Novices’ Chase at Carlisle.
Third on his bumper debut, he won at the second time of asking and made a really promising first foray over hurdles at Kelso in January when second to Tom George’s Clondaw Castle.
That was over two miles, and the extra furlong here will suit, as will the stiffer track.
Sporting Life tips:
ASCOT: 2.00 Storm Control, 2.35 Knight Destroyer, 2.50 Adrien Du Pont, 3.45 Diego Du Charmil, 4.20 Sego Success, 4.55 Samuel Jackson, 5.25 Monsieur Gibraltar.
CARLISLE: 2.15 Our Lucas, 2.50 Aye Right, 3.25 Tomkevi, 4.00 Grey Gold, 4.35 Don Bersy, 5.10 Blakerigg, 5.45 Dr Sanderson.
DONCASTER: 2.25 Twin Appeal, 3.00 Pacific Fleet, 3.35 Captain Colby, 4.10 ROYAL LINE (NAP), 4.45 Mutarakez, 5.20 Dr Richard Kimble, 5.55 Clemento, 6.30 Ingleby Hollow.
DOWNPATRICK: 2.10 Percy, 2.45 Synopsis, 3.20 Show And Go, 3.55 Out Sam, 4.30 Bold Sky, 5.05 Sizing Rome, 5.35 Getareason.
NAAS: 1.55 Son Of Beauty, 2.30 2.30 Katie Cruel, 3.05 Son Of Rest, 3.40 Aurora Eclipse, 4.15 Elegant Pose, 4.50 Beach Bar, 5.25 King D’Argent.
DOUBLE: Royal Line and Adrien Du Pont.