Charlie McCann’s weekend racing preview

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The 2000 Guineas from Newmarket is today’s highlight as 19 colts will hurtle down the Rowley Mile in search of classic glory. The market is headed by Aidan O’Brien’s Ten Sovereigns (7/2 with BetVictor) who was unbeaten in three starts as a juvenile over 6f including in Group 1 company in the Middle Park Stakes here back in September.

If you are backing the favourite, you will be keeping your fingers crossed his stamina holds out as he goes into unchartered territory coming out of the dip. Ryan Moore seems to think he will stay a mile as he has chosen Ten Sovereigns over stablemate Magna Grecia – 4/1 with BetVictor – who has already won over a mile as a two-year-old in the Vertem Trophy at Doncaster. If there is a superstar on show in the Guineas, it is likely to be Ten Sovereigns, but I just feel his stamina may give way over this stiff mile.

My two against the field are Madhmoon and Royal Marine (3.35) with the each way vote going to the latter for Saeed Bin Suroor who fits his colt with a hood for the first time today. The selection is another Gp 1 winning juvenile who failed to handle the dirt at Meydan earlier in the year. He only finished fourth in his trial over today’s C&D, but he met trouble in running in the Craven Stakes and was finishing best of all. He is 10/1 with BetVictor who are betting four places on the race.

Al Muffrih (1.50) has been gelded since disappointing at Sandown on his second and final start as a three-year-old for William Haggas but remains open to significant improvement after just the three career starts. He doesn’t look “thrown in” from an opening mark of 91 and he gets further than today’s 9f trip, but he could make up into a very smart performer this term. At 5/1 with BetVictor I would be disappointed if he didn’t run a big race.

There is rain forecast for the area, but it is unlikely to be soft enough for Young Rascal and Defoe – winner of the corresponding race 12 months ago – disappointed at Newbury on his reappearance. Connections of Coronet (2.55) have decided to allow their mare to race on as a 5-year-old as they look for a, hitherto, elusive Group 1 success. John Gosden’s mare is just short of the very top class but she is tough and consistent and did win first time out last season. The selection is 2/1 with BetVictor and Frankie Dettori takes the ride.

My two against the field in the 6f Handicap for 3-y-olds are Concierge – who is fitted with cheek-pieces for the first time – and Almufti (4.10) with marginal preference for the latter who I feel will appreciate dropping back in trip having finished third over 7f on his reappearance for Hugo Palmer.

The listed Newmarket Stakes is a cracker despite only four runners going to post. Walkinthesand finished runner up in the Feilden Stakes on his reappearance and today’s additional furlong should see him in an even better light. That is the best form on offer, but UAE Jewel (4.45) looked a potential star when winning the Wood Ditton on debut over a mile at the Craven meeting and the step up to today’s 10f should suit this well-bred colt who holds an entry in the Dante later in the month.

It is also the final day of the Punchestown Festival and Blue Templer must go close as he bids to follow up his success on the opening day over today’s idiosyncratic Banks course. The vote, however, goes to Hurricane Darwin (2.35) who can reverse C&D form with Josie’s Orders from earlier in the season at the revised weights.

Benie Des Dieux (3.50) fell at the last at Cheltenham with the race at her mercy on her belated seasonal reappearance but compensation awaits in the Mares’ Champion Hurdle.

Two horses catch my eye in the 3m handicap Chase from near the foot of the weights and preference for Young Paddymc (5.00) over British raider Onefortheroadtom is marginal. The selection was a winner here over slightly shorter on his penultimate start and he must go close carrying just 9st 13lbs this afternoon.

At Goodwood Cristal Spirit (1.35) looked ready for a step up in trip when a fast-finishing second at Doncaster having his first start for George Baker. The 4-y-old is only 1lb higher this afternoon.

Klassique (2.05) was improving at a rate of knots last term and she is taken to land the listed Fillies’ race for William Haggas. The selection is 15/8 with BetVictor and I hope it’s a good day for jockey Harry Bentley.

SUNDAY

The first Fillies’ classic of the season the 1000 Guineas is Sunday’s highlight on another wonderful Newmarket card.

Baghdad is likely to be a warm order in the opener having made such a pleasing reappearance when beaten less than a length on tapeta at Newcastle from a 2lbs lower mark. Mark Johnston’s 4-y-old – one of three representatives from the yard in the field – had not seen the racecourse since landing the King George V Handicap at Royal Ascot and he is a worthy 7/2 market leader at BetVictor.

New Show wears a first-time visor having scored at Windsor in first-time blinkers earlier in the week. He carries a 5lbs penalty for that success, but he will have his supporters at 12/1 with BetVictor.

The each way vote, however, goes to Spirit Ridge (1.50) representing Amanda Perrett who won this valuable handicap back in 2015 with Astronereus. The selection – 5/1 with BetVictor – lacks the race fitness of some of his rivals, but it is likely he has been laid out for today’s race and is open to more improvement after just four career starts. Jim Crowley – who rode the gelding to victory at Leicester on his final start last term – is again in the saddle.

Last year’s shock 66/1 1000 Guineas’ winner Billesdon Brook is closely matched with Veracious (2.20) on Goodwood on Nassau Stakes form from last August but the vote goes to the Sir Michael Stoute-trained filly who looks the type to progress as a 4-y-old.

The selection has only had half-a-dozen starts and I am sure she is better than she showed at Newmarket on her final start. Billesdon Brook had her day in the sun on this corresponding card 12 months ago, but she ran some decent races in defeat subsequently and has 5lbs in hand of the selection on official figures.

On The Warpath transferred his good form from Meydan back to Newmarket but he is creeping up the weights, dropping back in trip and short enough in the betting at 11/4. Victory Angel (2.55) has his first start for Robert Cowell and he finished fourth in this corresponding valuable and competitive 6f Handicap from a 6lbs higher mark when trained by Roger Varian. At 10/1 with BetVictor he gets the each way vote.

Just Wonderful (3.35) was a fluent winner of the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes 7f for Aidan O’Brien last season and she gets the vote in the 1000 Guineas with Ryan Moore choosing the filly from four Ballydoyle representatives in the 15-runner field. The selection is 7/1 with BetVictor who are betting each way four places on the classic.

I’m not convinced about the merit of favourite Qabala’s win in the Nell Gwyn and a bigger danger might come from Group 1 winning juvenile Skitter Scatter (6/1 with BetVictor) who had an out-of-sorts Just Wonderful 10l behind in the Moyglare Stud Stakes back in September.  The filly is now in the care of John Oxx and nobody in the industry would begrudge the Irishman another classic success.

Maqsad (4.45) can improve for the step up to 10f in the listed Pretty Polly Stakes having broken her maiden tag at the third time of asking in a Mile Maiden here at the Craven meeting. The selection showed a good attitude when making all on that occasion and is currently 25/1 at BetVictor for the Oaks.

John Gosden has saddled the winner of this race four times in the last five years and he is represented by Shambolic who finished fourth in the Fillies’ Mile last autumn – the best juvenile form in the field.

For all your racing odds go to BetVictor.com

 

 

 

 

 

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