Newmarket July Meeting 2014: Day 2 Preview, Tips
It was a tricky start to the meeting as the rain got into the ground and a swathe of non-runners ensued. Thursday’s selections were not helped by a shocker of a ride on Pether’s Moon denying us a likely good priced winner, but Table Rock 4/1 (advised 11/2, rule 4 applies) and Pearl Blue 11/2 (advised 10/1, 25p rule 4 applies) saved the day from a punting perspective.
I will be in Newmarket all day Friday for meetings, the sales, and the racing. If I can find a horse at the right price, we’ll have another geegeez.co.uk syndicate, so do keep an ear out for developments on that front.
Day two has as its centre piece the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes, a cracking mile contest for fillies and mares. Before that though, the action kicks off with a seven furlong fillies’ handicap.
1.40 FILLIES´ HANDICAP (Bobis Race) (CLASS 2) 7f
The weather is likely to be a big factor here and, as with all races on this card, expect non-runner-rama. One that could absent in the opener is Sir Michael Stoute’s Bragging, though if she runs this lass could set up a fine day for Sir Michael and his fillies.
Bragging has had just three races to date, and finished 312 in them. Having won her maiden on good to firm at Windsor, she was then two lengths second in a mile handicap on soft at Nottingham last time. The soft ground has been mooted as the cause of that defeat, and if that is the case she may not take her chance.
Sir Michael has another in the field in any case, and Provenance – a half sister to Falmouth hopeful, Integral – is even more lightly raced. Just two starts have yielded a win on debut in a 14-runner Kempton maiden, and a bronze medal in a field of five at Sandown. It’s a bit of a guess up as to whether she (or indeed pretty much all of her rivals) will act on the soft ground, but Ryan Moore is on board and that’s a big green tick.
Hot Coffee is a 20/1 shot, but she ran two nice races on soft ground in her last three starts, and she’s a pound lower than she was then. The drop back in trip might suit a filly that had enough speed to win over six furlongs on fast ground last back end, and she could run better than her odds imply.
Not a race I’ll be betting in, and I can’t really recommend anything to you either, though Provenance could set up that big family double.
2.10 DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE STAKES (Group 2) 6f
Formerly the Cherry Hinton, this is a very good race for juvenile fillies, and it is a small field lining up this year. The market is headed by a French raider, Andre Fabre’s High Celebrity. She’s had just one start to date, winning a seven furlong maiden for newcomers on good ground. The shorter trip here could be mitigated to some degree by the presumed softer ground, and Fabre (obviously) doesn’t bring them over for the weather!
He has no other runners at the meeting, so she’s not sharing a cab either. No, she’s here to run for the sterling, which is worth a lot of euro’s in the current market, even with the desperate prize money generally available in Britain. Fabre is quoted on the Racing Post site as saying, “I think she is a Group 1 filly”. She will probably win, if he’s even close to right.
In the unlikely event that Monsieur Fabre is not right, David Elsworth’s Arabian Queen could pick up the pieces. This daughter of Dubawi is bred for a fair way further than the five furlongs of the Queen Mary, a Royal Ascot Group 2 in which she finished a three length sixth of 21 last time. Softer ground is an unknown – she won her maiden on good to firm, the same conditions as the Ascot race – but she is stoutly bred and should have stamina to go through it at least.
Aidan O’Brien has run four in this race down the years, winning with the 6/4 shot Youresothrilling. He’s had 2/1, 4/1 and 8/1 chances out of the frame though, and I Am Beautiful is quite exposed compared with some of these. She was whacked out of sight on soft ground on her first start, but as a 16/1 shot that day she probably ran down to expectations.
Since then she’s been fourth in a fair maiden (which faint heart didn’t win!), and then dead heated in a Group 3 on good to firm. With just a nose back to the third, it’s likely that it wasn’t a brilliant race, despite the fourth placed filly, Pleascach, winning since.
Parsley is Richard Hannon’s representative, but she’s looked a hoof shy of this class in three runs to date. With less scope to improve than the favourite, she does at least have her maiden win on the soft side of good, so could be more likely to handle conditions than a number of her rivals.
I might be tempted into a forecast with High Celebrity on top of Arabian Queen, but I can just as easily pass the race.
Two races down, and no bet. Unheard of!
2.40 QIPCO FALMOUTH STAKES (British Champions Series) (Group 1) 1m
The main event, the QIPCO Falmouth Stakes is a cracking Group 1 for fillies and mares covering a mile of Newmaret’s July course straight. There are three Group 1 winners in the field, and the favourite, Integral, is not one of them.
However, Sir Michael Stoute’s filly was second in the Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes, a length behind Sky Lantern. As with so many Stoute horses, she’s improved in her fourth year, and she may be able to reverse form with Richard Hannon’s charge again, having beaten the Lantern et al when swatting away her field in a straight mile Group 2 at Royal Ascot.
She looks to have ‘a favourite’s chance’ (horrible phrase, excuse me). But at 7/4 she’s no value, especially if it turns up soft. Sky Lantern herself may be better suited to sodden terrain, and has won and been placed in two runs on the soft side of good. She will have come on for that initial start this year, and though she may need another outing to be cherry ripe, the five length differential from Ascot should be much narrower this time, especially with a five pound turnaround in the weights.
Rizeena showed at Royal Ascot that there was no fluke about her Group 1 win last season, by winning a second Group 1, the Coronation Stakes. She also won the National Stakes on good to soft, so might not be too inconvenienced, and at twice to three times the price of the aforementioned pair, she looks the value at the top of the market.
Purr Along is proven on soft. She won a mile Group 3 on her seasonal bow this term, and it’s no surprise to see her being backed with that in her favour. On form she is tied in with Sky Lantern – Purr Along was third in the Royal Ascot race – and she could also get in the mix if it comes up quaggy.
The other Group 1 winner in the field is Certify. Godolphin’s four year old missed all of last year, but was a winner on soft on the other course here at Newmarket. That was her maiden debut and she went on to stroll home in the Fillies’ Mile. Despite missing her three-year-old season, she bounced right back with a Group 2 win in Meydan on her first run this year before disappointing the last twice.
I could make excuses for those runs: the first of them may have come too soon after that big effort off a layoff and she perhaps bounced; the more recent effort could have been a typical case of a horse needing a run when returning from Dubai.
There are a lot of if’s and but’s in the case for Certify, but she’s 20/1 which does accommodate them. She’s not the most likely winner, but she has a chance on the balance of her form.
It’s an intriguing race, and I can see why the money has emerged for Purr Along. She will handle the ground, whatever. Certify at the prices is tempting for small money, and that’s exactly how I’ve played.
Small each way: Certify 20/1 Skybet, SJ, William Hill
3.15 Handicap (Class 2) 6f
A big field six furlong handicap, and there’s a 22/1 shot I really quite like. No Leaf Clover is drawn close to the rail, has a prominent running style, and has form with cut in the ground. He was third in a Class 2 six furlong handicap on soft ground – very similar conditions to this heat – at Ayr last autumn, and has shown he retains ability with a second place on his first start this term. He was slightly hampered in his run there, and looks sure to come on for it too. Trainer Ollie Pears is in reasonable form, and 22/1 is too big to my mind.
Top weight Gamesome also won’t mind give in the ground, as he showed when caught close home in a Windsor event in this class and at this trip. That was good to soft, and it’s possible he hit the front too soon there, as he cruised into it and found little. Spencer retains the ride and nobody produces them late as well as he does, despite his many detractors.
At the very bottom of the field, and right against the rail is the mud-loving front-running The Hooded Claw. He ought not to be good enough, but he has key ticks in boxes, and might surprise at a huge price.
It’s clearly a wide open race, and my usual ‘wide open handicap’ caveat applies: I could go through 90% of the field and not isolate the winner. So I’ll take these three against the field.
Three against the field: No Leaf Clover 22/1 BetVictor, Gamesome 12/1 BetVictor, The Hooded Claw 25/1 general
3.50 Maiden (Class 4) 7f
There’s likely some nice juvenile types in the midst of these – True Story and Rio De La Plata have both won it in recent years – and the market will be a good guide as to what is expected. Those two named nags are/were both Godolphin beasties and the boys in blue are mob handed with four runners.
Best Of Times might be the pick of them. The son of Dubawi has Andrea Atzeni riding, and that’s second only to Ryan Moore in my book right now. Until the market forms, it’s a guessing game unless you have stable contacts. I have none, so will leave this to better connected punters.
4.25 Maiden (Class 4) 1m2f
Another maiden but at least most of these have had the good manners to show something on a race track before. The boys in blue are again the ‘go to’ squad, having landed the last two renewals. Their Razor Wind, another son of Dubawi, ran a solid third on his only start, in a ten furlong good ground maiden at Windsor. The horses immediately in front of and behind Razor Wind that day have both won on their next starts giving the form a robustness that other contenders cannot boast.
Johnny G’s Obsidian is the clear danger, though his two runs mean he’s a little less likely to have the scope to step forward of the once raced Razor Wind.
Unless any of the three newcomers are smart – which is possible – it looks between the above pair.
Selection: Razor Wind
5.00 Handicap (Class 3) 1m
Hmm. Essentially no soft ground form to go on, so probably not a race in which to get too emotional. Johnno has more bits and bobs of wet turf form than many, but isn’t obviously well handicapped (seven pounds higher than his last winning mark) and has been found out in this grade a number of times since winning off a mark of 79 in Class 3. His high winning mark is 81, and 88 makes life difficult.
I’d not be surprised if he won, based on the market support for him, but he looks under-priced at 9/2 or so.
One which I think should go close, although without having an especially winning attitude, is Showpiece. Richard Hannon’s three-year-old Kyllachy gelding should relish the mud, and is a pound lower than when second in a mile handicap on soft at Doncaster in this class. Showpiece is a hold up hoss and I’m not terribly keen on those here, which puts me off nominating this fellow.
The one for me is his stablemate, Potentate, a front runner for whom the booking of Joe Fanning looks highly significant. Joe is about the best judge of pace from the front in the weighing room – he’s won so many races for Mark Johnston in that manner it’s standard drill – and he clambers aboard Potentate for the first time.
Although he’ll probably have company up front from Johnno, and possibly Glorious Empire, Fanning may still be able to control things. Softer ground is an unknown but he hasn’t shown he can’t act on it, so a chance is taken in an otherwise unappealing puzzle.
Speculative: Potentate 17/2 BetVictor