What are the best bets at Newmarket on Friday?
The Newmarket July Festival continues this afternoon with a seven-race card and it’s the five televised races – two on More4, three on Channel 4 – that come under scrutiny of our racing expert here.
14:40 John Banks Infiniti Cambridge Handicap, 1m
It could pay to concentrate on the progressive three-year-olds and Charlie Appleby’s BLAIR HOUSE (7/2 BetVictor) certainly fits that bill. A taking winner of a Nottingham maiden on his debut in May, he did best of the hold up horses when runner-up over 1m at Musselburgh last time and will have learnt a lot form that experience. A mile clearly suits him at this stage of his career and with no worries over the forecast fast ground, he is taken to score.
Bottom weight Mediciman is better than his 78 rating and it won’t be long before he shows it. He’s one for each-way backers at bet365’s 12/1.
15:10 Price Bailey EBF Stallions Fillies’ Handicap, 7f
Sir Michael Stoute’s Aristocratic has been put in as 3/1 favourite and that’s understandable as she found only the ridiculously well handicapped Persuasive too good on her latest outing over a furlong further at Goodwood in May and is just 2lb higher here. Her dam Peeress won the Lockinge at five so she’s likely to go on improving, but she’s been beaten on all three tries over this trip and is up against several equally promising rivals.
William Haggas’ Sainted is amongst them and she has to be considered after an impressive success over course and distance last time. She’s yet to encounter ground this fast, though, and preference issue for James Fanshawe’s once-raced PERMISSION, who simply laughed at her rivals in a 1m maiden here last month. As a half-sister to a couple of winning sprinters, including Group 3 winner Cotai Glory, she should have no trouble stepping back in trip. Take bet365’s 6/1.
15:45 Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes (Sponsored By Imagine Cruising) (Fillies’ Group 2) (Formerly The 15:45 Cherry Hinton Stakes), 6f
Plenty of winning form on offer but it’s Ralph Beckett’s BLETCHLEY who has the killer form lines courtesy of her short head second in Royal Ascot’s Albany Stakes (6f,good to soft) in which she rather spoiled her chance with a slow start. She’ll be far more streetwise this afternoon and we know she handles faster conditions as the ground was riding ‘good to firm’ when she made a winning debut at Nottingham. The Albany has become a key guide to this contest producing seven of the last 12 winners and of the five winners to run during this period, four were successful and the other finished second. She looks a solid bet at bet365’s 11/4.
Nasimi was very green on her Haydock debut but she still proved far too good for her rivals and is feared most.
16:15 Tattersalls 250th Year Falmouth Stakes (Fillies’ Group 1) (British Champions Series), 1m
It seems folly to look past the very talented filly USHERETTE as she has already beaten several of today’s rivals on British soil this season and she may not have stopped improving yet. After picking up a couple of conditions events on Polytrack in the spring, she had her sights raised to Group 2 company and she proved up to the challenge when taking the Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket, with the reopposing Amazing Maria well back in third. A penalty for that success and softer ground were not enough to stop her following up in Royal Ascot’s Duke Of Cambridge Stakes and she was value for more than her two and a bit winning margin as she idled after quickening clear one furlong out. The last two Falmouth winners had landed the same Royal Ascot race previously and it’ll be a surprise if she can’t do the same. Banker!
16:45 bet365 Handicap, 1m2f
Both Banksea and Autocratic arrive here on the back of wins and may be progressive enough to cope with revised marks, but I fancy the Charlie Hills-trained HIGH GROUNDS can prove too classy for all his rivals, despite carrying top weight. After getting his career off to a winning start at Lingfield in January, he was being talked about as a possible Derby horse, only for him to come up short in a couple of trials: he was beaten a long way into third in the Sandown Classic Trial won by Midterm before finishing next to last in the Chester Vase behind US Army Ranger.
He still turned up on Derby Day at Epsom but in one of the handicaps and having been far from disgraced in finishing third, he might yet fulfil his potential. His trainer certainly thinks so, in a stable interview this week: “I don’t think you could wish for a horse to so well physically like he has since his last run. He was leggy in the spring, but he’s stronger now, has suddenly filled his frame and is an imposing horse. His work has been very good and he’ll be suited by decent ground. I think he’s got a good future.” I hope he’s right as I’ve just had a decent chunk on him at bet365’s 7/1.