Sir Michael Stoute has a very strong hand here for this one and he may have it between his runners. The Hamdan Al Maktoum runner Mutamakkin was an eye catcher on his season reappearance when cutting through the field late on to finish third of 15 on his handicap debut. That effort was only his fourth run and so he remains with bags of potential. The way he shaped that day staying strongly at the finish suggests the step up to 1m1f will be right up his street today so he looks the one to be on and gets the nod.
The stable’s other runner for the powerful yard is Intimation who has a similarly progressive profile. He bolted up on both starts last terms including by a wide margin in his last outing. The big concern for him is that effort was over 300 days ago and this so he may just need this run over a slightly shorter trip today.
Another runner who could go well at a bigger price is the Marco Botti trained Emerald. A progressive type who seemed to learn from each of his four outings last term. He has a victory already on the rowley mile to his name and did it well that day. He will strip fitter for the recent run in the spring cup, his seasonal reappearance so he looks a good each way alternative, but he does have a bit to find with the principles.
David Simcock’s Bateel can land this valuable prize today on his seasonal reappearance.
The 4-year-old was unbeaten last season with a hat trick of wins to its name in handicaps including one over today’s course and distance.
Jamie Spencer gets the leg up today and that will suit the horses’ running style. The horse does look a very exciting prospect this season and while it does need to step up on what it has achieved so far, is entered in a number of high profile engagements already so the stable obviously think a lot of it so I expect a bold bid today and is the selection.
Another horse with plenty of promise is the stable’s other runner Carnachy. Like her stable mate the four year old filly has won a handicap over course and distance doing so on her final appearance of last season to win by four lengths.
She has plenty of promise, and while she’s made the frame in all four of her starts to date, the lightly raced filly may need to play second fiddle to her stable mate today.
Another danger in a wide open contest is California for the in-form John Gosden yard. The stable has made a flying start to the season and so will have high expectations for this lightly raced four year old. She won her first two starts last term and then ran a career best over 1m5f, but she may want further than today’s trip and I’m not sure the drop back will suit so she may have to settle for minor honours.
A talented field line up for this exciting 5f sprint. The presence of Ed Lynam’s veteran superstar sprinter Sole Power makes this one all the more interesting. The old boy can see his distinguished powerful finish come to the fore in this type of contest and has a decent draw, but despite being battle ready from a recent run in Dubai, he has to shoulder a 6lb penalty and may just be vulnerable to a progressive younger horse today.
One such horse could be John Gosden’s four year old Waady. It won four of its six starts last term and has never lost in five starts over the minimum trip.
He has been gelded since last seen and is still quite lightly raced compared to some of these so that coupled with the strength of his group race winning form makes him the each way selection at an attractive price.
Another horse who can go close is the Godolphin runner Jungle Cat. The four year old went close when fourth in the group 1 Al Quoz Sprint recently in Dubai. He will be fit and ready to go after that and he looks like the penny has finally dropped for him at the minimum trip so expect him to be fighting out the finish with the selection.
This race is historically a difficult one to crack for punters but the answer this time will likely come from Roger Varian’s lightly raced 4-year-old Mujassam. He has a good draw which will suit his front running style and so with two wins over 7f last term, and the form of those stands up quite well here in this field, so he looks a real threat to all. He has the look of a real progressive type and could be an exciting one to follow as a four year old this term so he gets to nod to win this today on route to bigger and better things later in the season.
The main threat could come from David Brown’s Exchequer.
The horse caught the eye when bolting up on his stable debut at lingfield when he led all the way to victory and the trainer is famous for rejuvenating horses with similar profiles so expect him to run his race from only 2lb higher here today albeit up in class for this one.
He may, however struggle from a wide draw to get to the lead and with similar front-running types in the race may struggle to get things his own way. He is still an decent each way price if he can get out and across from wide, but his record of 11 races without success on turf is a real worry.
Andrew Balding’s 8-year-old Highland Colori is another who can go well here. Third is last year’s renewal and now 1lb lower than that effort means David Probert’s mount would have to have a decent each way chance, but he hasn’t won since 2013 now and may have to settle for the minors again today.
Ralph Beckett’s four year old Simple Verse was one of the stars of last season winning five of her doc starts which included two group 1s and culminated in her controversial St Leger win at Doncaster. She was in receipt of weight in that one and now has to concede 2lb to the boys today, but provided she has trained on again for her astute trainer then she can spring a surprise and beat the warm favourite here today and gets the nod as a solid each way bet.
That aforementioned warm favourite is none other than Irish Derby hero Jack Hobbs. Godolphin’s exciting four-year-old was firmly put in his place by superstar Golden Horn in both the Dante and the Derby last term before he dominated the field in the Irish equivalent. He is likely to meet different ground today, however and was turned over when a warm favourite in his last outing last term so he is far too short in the market to back here today.
Another horse who could go well at a price is Michael Bell’s Big Orange. The four year old has gone over 2m in his last four outings which included an impressive fifth in the Melbourne Cup and a win in the Group 2 Goodwood Cup last term. He started this campaign with a close second out in Meydan a few weeks ago and he will strip fitter for that run. He also boasts a course and distance win to his name and may run well at a price, but has a lot to find with the two principles.
Simple Verse (E/W)
15:45 Newmarket – 2000 Guineas
Aidan O’Brien looks locked and loaded for the classics again this year and the impressive Air Force Blue can get him off to a flyer here today. The Colt improved with every race last season and seemed to learn from his defeat to Buratino when putting that rival firmly in its place in the rematch. He was so impressive in both the national stakes and the Dewhurst when accounting for the reopposing Herald the Dawn and massaat respectively and he will take all the beating here stepped up to a mile. He gets the confident nod here and may just be a wide margin winner.
Hugo Palmer seems to be improving his stable with every season and he looks to have a horse who can play a part here in the shape of Galileo Gold. Frankie Dettori is in the saddle today and certainly knows how to get the job done if good enough. The three-year-old colt won three of his five starts last year and was a staying on third in a group 1 at Longchamp when last seen. He has a lot to find with the selection on bare form, but has definite each way claims.
The racing post trophy is always a pretty decent indicator of contenders for this race so last year’s shock winner Marcel has to be involved in the mix here. He is no stranger to turning over warm favourites as he proved that day and so he will be staying on late in the day today, but he may have still has a bit to find on form the O’Brien horse so may be battling for minor honours.
Air Force Blue (WIN)
Additional Race: (Pundit – Darren Goodbody)