It seems almost inconceivable that today’s opening Craven meeting at Newmarket will not count towards the flat jockey’s title but we have a cracking card at HQ including the Alex Scott Maiden which opens proceedings. Akeeb Champion comes down from the north for Richard Fahey and is highly regarded but Hakam (1.45) cost $450,000 as a yearling and is entitled to come on for his Lingfield polytrack debut; trained by Charlie Hills the colt is entered in the Guineas back here next month and must go close if he is to take up that lofty engagement. The drop back in trip from a mile is no inconvenience and he can land the opener with Paul Hanagan taking over in the saddle.
The once-raced Faydhan (3.30) is a leading fancy for the Guineas and had clock-watchers purring when scoring by 6l at Haydock back in July. Trained by John Gosden he receives weight from two of his four opponents this afternoon and cannot be opposed. He is currently 4/1second favourite for the first classic of the season at BetVictor and he is a very exciting prospect.
Golden Horn (4.40) is another once-raced exciting colt who is taken to land the Fielden Stakes; he was something of a talking horse ahead of his Nottingham debut when he was slowly away before getting up in the shadows of the post. Frankie Dettori takes over from William Buick in a race where six of the seven runners won last time out. This looks a hot renewal and it should be noted that Golden Horn has the lowest BHB rating in the field; this looks a top class renewal of this listed nine furlongs contest but the Gosden runner (11/2 at BetVictor) gets the nod.
The colt, who finished runner up to Golden Horn, is taken to make it third time lucky ion the 10f maiden. Storm The Stars (5.15) finished runner up to subsequent Racing Post Trophy runner up Aloft on debut and battled back once headed by Golden Horn at Colwick Park. A son of Sea The Stars the William Haggas trained colt is ridden by Richard |Hughes this afternoon and can break his duck at the third time of asking.
The flat action at Newmarket compliment’s Cheltenham’s two-day April meeting and Might Bite (2.05) can kick-off an excellent day for the Seven Barrows yard in the opener. Nicky Henderson’s string have thrived at the climax of the season and Might Bite will take all the beating in the Novices’ Hurdle over two and a half miles. The selection built on his third on debut in a bumper at Newbury when following-up over timber at the track last month and he can continue his progression under man-of-the-moment Nico de Boinville.
Peter Bowen’s Velator was left with too much to do when chasing home Samingarry last time out at Chepstow and is a fascinating contender under the trainer’s son Sean in the handicap chase over three and a half miles. Marginal preference lay with Shakalakaboomboom (2.40) however, who was a massive eye-catcher when staying on in the closing stages of a competitive handicap chase last month at Newbury. The selection has tumbled down the weights, falling to a 21lb lower make than his last winning mark and warrants each-way support, given one final chance to prove he’s retained that old sparkle.
Tistory (3.15) can seal a treble for the Henderson yard in the two and a half mile handicap hurdle, making his belated debut handicapping after missing other engagements earlier this month. The selection is a half-brother to connections’ G1-winning hurdler Punchestown and returns back over timber after an unsuccessful attempt over the larger obstacles. The selection misses an engagement at tomorrow’s meeting in preference for this and should prove much better than that of an 131-rated animal.
Eleven go to post for the feature Silver Trophy, where Attaglance (3.50) can maintain his excellent record at the track for the red-hot stable of Malcolm Jefferson. Prior to last month’s run at the Cheltenham Festival the 9-y-o’s form at Prestbury Park read as 142 and boasts winning C&D form, winning the Martin Pipe at the festival in 2012 albeit over timber. He runs from the same mark and should be able to make amends after being hampered and losing his chance early in last month’s Festival Plate.
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