Day two of the Newmarket Craven meeting with the ground drying all the time from soft on Monday morning to officially good to soft at the time of writing and only going one way. ITV Racing is showing four from there and the big handicap chase at Cheltenham where the ground is on the slow side of good. Here are my thoughts on the five races.
It’s off to Cheltenham before we concentrate on the flat at Newmarket with a 2m 4 1/2F grade 2 handicap chase. Dan Skelton must have a decent chance of taking this valuable handicap with his recent easy Newbury winner Heltenham who’s chasing a four-timer here. He wouldn’t want the ground to dry out too much as his trainer has stated that he prefers soft ground and he’s also been raised 11lb for his latest victory. He was very impressive that day with Super Six and Zhiguli way behind and held.
His main danger may come from the Venetia Williams-trained Gemirande who’s been running consistently all season and can push him all the way. Coole Cody loves this track and has fallen back to a winning mark but he comes here out of sorts whilst Nicky Henderson’s Caribean Boy has also fallen to a winning mark and has had his wind done seen last seen. He’s an interesting outsider.
I’m worried about the drying ground for the most likely winner Hellenism so will take a chance with Gemirande each way.
GEMIRANDE 1 point each way @ 6/1 with Bet365 1/5 1234
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Three-year-old handicaps are hard to crack at this time of the year, especially without the knowledge of any market moves and we start day two of the Craven meeting with one such race run over the Rowley Mile with a decent-sized field of fifteen going to post. My shortlist comprises of Michael Bell’s Burdett Road who like 9 of the 15 here is making his handicap debut. He’ll be fitter than most having won a Lingfield maiden on the all-weather back in March which has worked out well with the 2nd and 3rd both winning since.
Also strip fit will be the Richard Hannon-trained Supreme King who went down by the shortest of margins on his re-appearance in soft ground at Nottingham in a similar contest a fortnight ago but has been raised 4lb for that fine effort. There’s nothing between James Fanshawe’s Qatar Racing-owned Lion Kingdom and Roger Varian’s Cobalt Blue on Wolverhampton form from last September and it will be very interesting to see how they go in the market.
My personal fancy is the Andrew Balding-trained Elwasme who’s making his handicap debut here with William Buick in the saddle. He showed promise in two Sandown novice/maiden contests as a two-year-old and wasn’t disgraced on his re-appearance in a hot race for Southwell when losing 3rd in the final stride to a stable companion when only going down by 2 3/4L to James Ferguson’s Zoology who is been lined up for a run in the Greenham on Saturday prior to a tilt at the 2000 Guineas whilst the runner up that day was John and Thady Gosden’s Covey who runs in a 7F maiden at Newmarket this afternoon at 4.10 (keep an eye out for that run as if he was to win well we could see a further contracting of Elwasme’s price).
An open race where the market is going to be vital as regards fitness but I do fancy Elwasme and he’s worth backing each way.
ELWASME 1 point each way @ 11/1 with William Hill 1/5th 12345
A dozen sprinters line up for this 6F class 2 0-100 handicap. Not a race I’ve particularly got a strong opinion on. Recent soft ground Doncaster winner Aleezdancer is now 7lb higher in the weights and Kevin Ryan’s four-year-old is not out of this. Jennie Candlish’s Probe made a winning stable debut (previously with Dermot Weld) at Wolverhampton in March although has been raised 6lb for that victory. If the ground was on the fast side I would be coming down on the side of Tom Tate’s Equiano Springs who’s unbeaten in four runs here at Newmarket but appears to need good/fast ground.
With a drying forecast was the ground to dry out considerably which with the wide open spaces of the Rowley Mile is possible then he would be worth chancing. Charlie Hills’s Orazio is a lightly raced four-year-old who was thought good enough as a juvenile to run in the Gimcrack and following a 505-day break took too keen a hold in a Kempton handicap in January. William Buick has been booked and with hopefully the freshness taken out of him is the small-stakes selection each way.
ORAZIO 1/2 point each way @ 7/1 with William Hill 1/5th 1234
Nine promising three year old’s line up for the 1M 1F listed Feilden Stakes which could possibly throw up a smart one. Charlie Appleby saddles a brace of nice horses with William Buick appearing to have chosen recent Chelmsford winner Bold Act over Regal Honour who was last seen winning a novice stakes here last October.
The form horse is Jane Chapple Hyam’s Blanchland who was runner-up in the Group 3 Zealand Stakes here last October and should run well. James Ferguson has his string in excellent shape winning with 5 of his last 10 runners and saddles Canberra Legend here who looked a smart prospect when winning at Newcastle in February on his racecourse debut. He has some fancy future entries and should not be dismissed here.
John and Thady Gosden saddle a very interesting horse in the shape of owner Imad Alsagar’s grey colt Intinso. He was well backed when making a scintillating winning debut at Newcastle last October and the reports from the Newmarket gallop watchers are very promising with a particular smart gallop last week when Hollie Doyle came down to ride him. He holds a 2000 Guineas, Dante and Epsom Derby entry and with such positive gallop reports, he has to be the pick here today.
INTINSO 2 points win @ 11/4 with BetVictor
A bumper field of fifteen turns up for the first 1000 Guineas trial of the season in the 7F Group 3 Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes. John and Thady Gosden run a brace of all-weather winners who both hold the 1000 Guineas entry in Inner Space and Coppice with a preference for the latter who looked smart when winning at Kempton last October. The work watchers at Newmarket have been shouting about this Kingman filly for a while now and she’s been backed in recent weeks from 25/1 into 8/1 for the 1000 Guineas. She looks sure to run well under Frankie Dettori.
Charlie Appleby’s Fairy Cross sets the form standard with her Group 3 Goodwood victory last August and was last seen when runner-up in the Dubai 1000 Guineas when a well-beaten 8 1/2L behind the smart Mawj. There are plenty of other promising fillies who hold the 1000 Guineas entry including Clive Cox’s Karsavina and Richard Hannon’s Mammas Girl but at this time of year it’s always worth listening to the rumours emanating from Newmarket and for that reason it’s worth backing the favourite Coppice here who can put herself firmly 1000 Guineas picture in a fortnights time.
COPPICE 2 points win @ 15/8 with BetVictor
All odds are accurate at the time of writing.
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