Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Free Gift ready for the taking

Tax Free can gain further kudos in a star-spangled career by winning the GFS Rous Stakes on the first afternoon of Newmarket's three-day meeting.

David Nicholls is a reluctant acceptor of the 'sprint king' tag but there are few better in readying speedballs for the big day.

Tax Free has been the pick of the litter this term and showed he is still ripe for the grand stage at Longchamp last month.

The Tagula gelding claimed his second Group Three in a 10-win career when showing resolution and zip to narrowly outpoint Derison.

His other Pattern-race success arrived over course and distance in May when the five-year-old short-headed stablemate Peace Offering in the Palace House Stakes.

The Thirsk-based sprinter then followed up at Naas, beating Dandy Man by a length, and has since maintained high standards - one blip in the King's Stand Stakes notwithstanding.

With ideal racing ground and proven form at Headquarters, this straightforward individual is sure to give any punter a good run for their money in what looks a winnable affair.

Tranquil Tiger has helped contribute to Henry Cecil's welcome renaissance and should roar to victory in the Listed Grove Farm Stud Noel Murless Stakes.

The Selkirk colt is probably just below Group class but has offered telling credentials at this level when winning the Bahrain Trophy over a furlong shy of what he encounters here.

Bullied out of the Ebor by a big field which contained more streetwise performers, Tranquil Tiger responded in the best possible way by landing the odds at Salisbury in September.

While an exciting four-year-old career beckons, this represents a gilt-edged chance of securing more black type.

Lets Roll can outstay his rivals in the Christmas Parties At PR Suite Handicap at Ayr.

Chris Thornton's redoubtable gelding has won three races at the Scottish venue and is taken to offer a prompt response to those suggesting his best days are behind him.

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