Our racing expert marks your card for this afternoon's action at Nottingham.
Hugo Palmer’s Barend Boy sets a good standard in the opening 6f novice stakes having run well on both his starts and his experience will make him hard to beat.
However, there seems to be a good deal of market confidence behind Ralph Beckett’s MY DEAR FRIEND, which was also the case on his racecourse debut at Salisbury last month (5f, heavy). In the end he failed to justify that, finishing fourth of the five runners, but clearly better was expected of the 100,000gns yearling who is related to several winners, and he could leave that debut effort well behind now upped a furlong and on today’s better ground.
Oisin Murphy, who has a 1-5 strike rate for the stable with all his rides yielding a healthy £35.21 level-stakes profit, takes the reigns.
Roger Varian’s IBRAZ looks a rock-solid favourite in the 1m novice median auction stakes. He didn’t get much luck on his return to action at the Craven meeting, being short of room on more than one occasion when trying to challenge, which probably cost him second. He’s from a good middle-distance family and is going to appreciate the extra furlong he has to travel here, with further improvement almost a given after just two starts.
The same can be said of the next in the betting, Infrastructure, although he showed improved form over further last time and the drop back in trip might not be ideal
There is surely much more to come from William Haggas’ MASHAHEER following a gelding operation and he is taken to get his three-year-old campaign off to a winning start in the 1m classified stakes. While he failed to better sixth in three starts at two, he looked like he needed more time and would have the ground softer than ideal on a couple of occasions. The son of Dutch Art is going to relish this quicker surface and while he’s up against fellow three-year-olds, some are already looking fairly exposed.
They include Mark Johnston’s Austin Powers who went close in a Newmarket handicap on his recent return after a gelding operation, although he’s still a maiden after ten starts. UPDATE – there seems to be a lot of market confidence behind Viceroy Mac, who wasn’t beaten that far in a better race at Ascot last time, but I’m sticking with the selection.
All odds were correct at time of posting.