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Pilot can fly high in Earl Of Sefton Stakes

| 13.04.2016

David Metcalf | April 13, 2016

Air Pilot ready for take-off in Earl Of Sefton

Air Pilot has some top class form to his name and with underfoot conditions to suit can make a winning return to action in the Group 3 Earl Of Sefton Stakes at Newmarket (16.30).

The Ralph Beckett trained gelding is lightly-raced for a seven-year-old and has won four of his 11 starts and finished in the frame on five occasions.

In the last of those successes at the Curragh on soft ground 10 months ago, Air Pilot made all and ran on gamely to beat Parish Hall by 1 1/4 lengths in a Group 3 contest.

Air Pilot

The son of Zamindar backed that up with a solid 3/4 length third in a Group 2 at Longchamp, before rounding off the campaign with a career-best effort to finish fifth of 13 to Fascinating Rock in the Group 1 Champion Stakes at Ascot.

Nothing to fear from Tullius

Air Pilot stayed on to be beaten 3 1/2 lengths in the latter, and has nothing to fear from Tullius who finished two lengths behind him in seventh and re-opposes in this.

That is very strong form, and a repeat of that effort is going to make Air Pilot very hard to beat now eased in grade.

Other pluses are that Air Pilot also won’t mind the cut in the ground, has an excellent record fresh, and the services of top jockey Fran Berry in the saddle.

Custom Cut feared most

Mahsoob looked a Group horse in the making in the early part of last season but is unproven on the ground, and the tough and consistent Custom Cut may prove the biggest danger to Air Pilot.

The gelding has thrived since joining trainer David O’Meara and enjoyed another profitable campaign last season when bagging two Group 2 contests.


Custom Cut also ran very well when beaten just a length by the highly regarded Tim Test in a Group 2 at this venue, and was far from disgraced on seasonal reappearance at Doncaster 11 days ago when third to Bellardo.

The seven-year-old shaped as if needing the outing, and should now be spot on to do himself justice.

With the stable in good form and proven form on the ground, everything looks in place for Custom Cut to run a huge race.


Check out our horse racing archive.

Coral’s top tip: Air Pilot has everything in his favour and rates a solid bet to make a winning seasonal reappearance, Custom Cut looks sure to make his presence felt.

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David Metcalf

A lifelong Manchester United supporter, David has over 25 years’ experience in the media industry having worked for regional and national newspapers. He is a huge horse racing, football and greyhound fan and has done interviews on various radio and TV stations, including talkSPORT and Sky Sports, whilst working as a PR front man for a betting firm. David has also written for most of the top Premier League football fan websites, and produced a Cheltenham Festival guide with former eight-times champion national hunt jockey Peter Scudamore, MBE, after helping him to set up a syndicate for his trainer son Michael.