The forecast rain is just what this Sir Michael Stoute-trained handicapper needs.
It’s the fillies turn to steal the limelight as it’s 1000 Guineas day at Newmarket.
A field of 13 have been declared for the mile Classic and I’ve pinned my colours to the mast of 9/1 shot Legatissimo, the mount of Ryan Moore. I’ve posted my reasons why elsewhere on this site and will concentrate here on the supporting card and a couple of handicappers in particular.
The ground was riding fast at Newmarket on Saturday but rain is forecast overnight and into Sunday morning, and that should ensure there’s just enough juice in the ground for Sir Michael Stoute’s GOTHIC to strut his stuff in the opening 1m4f handicap (1.50pm). The four-year-old is in his third season for Stoute, who is renowned for improving his older horses, and he should be at peak fitness following an encouraging third on his reappearance over 1m2f at Pontefract.
That was his first run since being gelded and, given he was doing all his best work late on, he should relish the extra two furlongs he has to travel here. It was over this trip that he finished strongly for fifth (of 18) in a high-class handicap at Ascot in September and he lines up off the same mark of 90. With Ryan Moore booked to do the steering he looks well worth an interest at the current 15/2 – have a bit more on if the going eases to “good” as he does seem best with a little cut.
Reading stable interviews at this stage of the season is often the best source of winners and it was interesting to read what Andrew Balding had to say about ZANETTO. According to the trainer the five-year-old used to hold his breath and gurgle last season and has been given a wind operation in the hope of curing that. If it’s worked – there’s no real telling until he’s asked to race – he could do some serious damage off his current mark of 93, starting in this afternoon’s 6f handicap (3.00pm). More encouragement can be taken from his form last spring, which included a win over track and trip, and the fact his stable has started the season brightly. Coral’s 16/1 looks far too big with just 9/1 on offer in a place – get on quick!
John Gosden continues in unstoppable form and his NIGEL looks worth backing to continue the stable’s good run in the 1m4f maiden at Salisbury (3.50pm). The three-year-old missed the break on his racecourse debut at the Newmarket Craven meeting but still shaped with considerable promise, making eye-catching late headway into seventh. That particular maiden has proved to be a good source of winners historically and Nigel, who is a well-bred son of New Approach, looks sure to appreciate the extra two furlongs of today’s race.