Kicking off todays action from the home of flat racing where the live Channel 4 action brings us eight live races.
A two year old nursery doesn’t tend to wet most punters appetites but this looks quite a bit better than your average nursery race.
When it comes to most races at Newmarket I think course form is highly advantageous, a horse who is able to handle the undulations and uphill finish will certainly have one huge box ticked. That being said however many of these lightly raced two year olds are unknown quantities around the course and haven’t answered this question.
Holy Grail looked very good when winning here last time out and looks a more than worth favourite. The Fahey horse is partnered with the very impressive Jack Garrity who takes off a valuable three pound claim. I don’t see much going against the horses chances but I just feel I’ve found a horse that looks better value as a betting proposition but the favourite is the most likely danger.
If you ignore Blossomtime’s last run then it’s form looks pretty decent and you always have to respect Godolphin horses at Newmarket. It should get much closer to Holy Grail but wether it can turn the form around I just don’t think it will but place money wouldn’t be out of the question.
The two horses with their 100% records still in tact, Rayaa and In Ken’s Memory both have scope to improve and could do well but a lot is left with trust and this seems a better race than either have run in previously.
The horse that looks a decent bet is the only course and distance winner in the field. Ed Dunlop’s Sharaakah is a horse I liked when it was entered for a race last week but due to the softer ground it was withdrawn. This looks like a weaker contest than its previous engagement and at a price of around 9/1 it seems far too generous not to be snapped up. It may not win but for a decent place return it’s the one for me to open up proceedings.
We skip over to Newbury where we have another two year old contest to look forward to, only this time only four runners look to enter the stalls.
If the betting is anything to go off then it looks to be a two horse race between Palawan and Twin Sails. The pair met in their last races respectively when finishing third and fourth behind the impressive Galileo Gold. This is obviously a much lesser contest and are the worthy horses to be at the head of the market. Of the two I’d say Twin Sails can reverse that form especially with a course win already under its belt.
Despite the above analogy I’m actually avoiding both market principles in favour of Mark Johnston’s Desseroflife. A second behind stablemate Fireglow last time out isn’t bad form and Mark Johnston’s yard has been firing on all cylinders this year. The biggest positive for this runner over todays rivals is that it will act on the soft going, something we are yet to find out about with the others. Soft conditions doesn’t tend to be to most two year olds liking and a chance is taken that this could be the key factor for victory.
Everybody loves a good old grey and we get to see the annual race devoted entirely to the dapple contingent in racing. It may not be the biggest in terms of prestige or quality but a race worth having just for the spectacle alone.
A current field of seventeen are set to line up with the current top weight Steve Prescott the betting favourite. Richard Fahey’s runner has course and distance winning form which, as I eluded to earlier, is a good thing around Newmarket. However the horse is burdened with the biggest weight and is mightily inconsistent. It may do well to place but is definitely one for another day.
For what is seen as very much a novelty race it is interesting that top trainer Jeremy Noseda enters lightly raced three year old Hope And Faith. There isn’t much form to go off with this runner but is definitely a dark horse and one to note if there is money to support its chances.
My selection currently stands with best odds of 33/1 so it’s safe to say I’m likely to be in the minority when it comes to selecting this runner. If you take all of todays runners on their career best form York Glory would be right up there. After a string of disappointing performances the seven year old now sits at a whopping twenty nine pounds lower than its highest ever handicap rating and twenty pounds lower than its last winning mark. It’s easy to forget that this horse has finished second in a Group 2 race behind Maarek and has won the Wokingham at Royal Ascot. It goes without saying that the horse needs to return to its former glory but if it does, with Luke Morris on board, it’s price could make the bookies look awfully silly.
York Glory (E/W)
The first of two group races shown live on Channel 4 today is the Geoffrey Freer Stakes. A very muddling race this seems to be with a mix of top handicappers and under achieving Group 1 horses.
I must admit that the selection in this is with no great deal of conviction as I found it so hard to actually come to a decent conclusion.
Romsdal, as predicted, is the market leader. It is with no real surprise based on its previous exploits, the yard are doing well and it represents top connections. I do fear however that todays soft conditions will be its undoing and as such will look elsewhere.
Unfortunately from a punting perspective it seems there will only be seven runners going to post and therefore my each way selection, which would’ve been Windshear (based on its soft ground form) isn’t the best prospect with the bookies only paying the first two places.
I have therefore been left to go with Pallasator. When looking at the race earlier in the week I was hoping the Sir Mark Prescott six year old would be much better value than the current 9/2 that is on offer. It has had a bit of an underwhelming season thus far but the yard are starting to hit their stride and looks a good bet to finish in the top two on ground that shouldn’t be an issue.
Pallasator (E/W if 9/2+)
A three year old racet is what draws us back to the home of British flat racing for a class two handicap over six furlongs.
Ice Lord, Dawn’s Early Light and Beardwood all currently via for favouritism and of the three I’d say Ice Lord has the better chance. With eighteen runners declared though I think a bit of value has to be the order of the day. I’m hoping that the value can be found with a horse that resides in William Haggas’s yard.
Mubtaghaa has been mightily disappointing this year after what was a very promising two year old campaign that saw it place in a Group 3 and finish third behind Hootenanny at Royal Ascot. It is certain that such form would give this runner a great chance. I am hoping that now the yard are doing well (an 18% strike rate in the last two weeks) that the horses recent poor form can be put behind it and a decent performance can be produced today.
Of the remaining runners I like stable companion to my selection Roossey and Richard Fahey’s Bond’s Girl who could both do well at each way prices.
The penultimate contest we cover from Newbury is another cavalry charge that takes place over the straight seven furlongs.
The race consists of five course winners who all have a decent chance of victory.
Old stalwart Pastoral Player takes its chances after a decent victory in its last race at the Glorious Goodwood meeting but this eight year old is mightily inconsistent and the likelihood of it winning back to back is pretty slim.
The relatively lightly raced five year old Czech It Out has pretty decent form and may be fresher than a lot of its rivals that have had packed campaigns already this season. The horse has a 100% record at the course but hails from a yard that is way out of form and the softer conditions may not see the horse at their best.
I am going to back another course winner though and it is in the form of Roger Varian’s favourite Mujassam. The horse has been handed a huge hike in weight for its last success but at the age of three I think it has plenty of scope to continue on the up. The horse represents big connections, has former champion jockey Paul Hanagan in the saddle and has winning form on soft ground. The price not be the best but it represents its chances and it looks like a race the favourite should have sewn up.
Of the rest of the pack the four year olds Exchequer and Captain Bob may do well to place behind the favourite.
As an added bonus to the televised action from Newbury and Newmarket Channel 4 also take us up to Ripon for the St Wilfred Stakes.
Despite another big handicap field that we have been presented with this race actually includes what I would consider my most fancied selection.
The horse maybe joint favourite at the moment but it is with good reason. Michael Dods is doing a great job at the moment and has started to get his horses putting the best into their races. He enters two into the field but Spinatrix would have to have a severe off day not to finish placed at least. The seven year old acts on the soft going and absolutely loves it at this venue. With eleven races at the course it has finished with four wins and seven placed efforts from all eleven starts. It now races off a handicap mark that is seven pounds less than its last winning rating. It can be excused its last few efforts in pattern class as it drops back down to handicap company.
The most likely horses to trouble my selection will be the unbeaten three year old Don’t Touch, fellow three year old Mukhmal, another Richard Fahey runner Lexi’s Hero and Mick Channon’s Shore Step. All four have decent each-way claims but I cannot get away from my selection and should be nailed on for a top four finish.
Spinatrix (E/W if 9/2+)
The marquee race of the day is The Hungerford Stakes, as with the previously televised race from Newbury this is also over seven furlongs.
Heaven’s Guest won very well when last seen in the International Stakes at Ascot. The Richard Fahey trained five year old is pretty consistent and it wouldn’t be too far fetched to think the horse could place but this may be too big a step up in class to finish with its head in front.
Breton Rock will relish the conditions and loves the course. The five year old won this race last year but that was a much weaker renewal than this one and although should finish as one of the main protagonists will need to return to much better form than it’s already shown this year.
The clear favourite is Andrew Balding’s Here Come’s When who has been doing well in defeat in all four starts this season. The form of the races it’s been running in is very good but I just couldn’t be on a favourite that hasn’t won in its last four races and has only placed in the top three once.
With the soft conditions already outlined for tomorrow I’m picking a horse that is sure to act on ground with a bit of cut and a horse that could be a very big improver.
Coulsty represents one of the power house stables in British Racing in Richard Hannon Jr. It is very interesting to note that popular jockey Frankie Dettori only has two rides tomorrow of which this is one of them. Frankie doesn’t seem to be the type of jockey who would travel to the course just to be an also ran, especially in a big group race like this. The four year old has already won a group race and will handle the softer surface better than most. At a best price of 20/1 it seems much too big and could go close in a race that seems relatively weak.
My second and final selection represents the in form William Haggas yard. Adaay has course winning form and at the age of three already holds successes over the likes of Limato and Kodi Bear. This form looks very respectable and if it continues on the upgrade definitely has the scope to compete at this level. With its disappointing efforts coming on a quicker surface the step up to seven furlongs and softer conditions may play to its strengths today.
Listen to our latest podcast right here: