What are the best bets at Newmarket on Friday?
They’re racing on the Rowley Mile at Newmarket this afternoon and it’s the four Channel 4-televised races that come under scrutiny here.
1.55: Mukhadram Rosemary Stakes (Fillies’ Listed), 1m
Not an easy start for punters by any means and Roger Varian’s SPANGLED is just a hopeful choice at Betway’s 4/1. This well-bred daughter of Starspangledbanner has won two of her four starts over 7f and can be forgiven a defeat at York last time as she missed the start and gave herself too much to do. She still finished well into fourth and shapes as though the step up to a mile will suit. The stable is in cracking form and Andrea Atzeni, who won on her here in July, is back on board.
Richard Hannon’s Black Cherry is respected, but her best form is at Sandown and she’s been well beaten on her last two visits to Newmarket. French raider Lavender Lane is down in trip and class, so she might give the selection most to do, though she has a tendency to leave things far too late.
2.30: Princess Royal EBF Nayef Stakes (Formerly The Harvest Stakes) (Fillies’ Listed), 1m4f
Another competitive Listed contest and we could see a surprise winner. Three fillies – Asyad, Melodious and Journey – are disputing favouritism at the time of writing, but all look beatable and especially the latter as she appeared to relish the fast ground when winning at Salisbury over ten furlongs last time out and has her stamina to prove over this trip.
There are a couple of interesting fillies that could improve dramatically on what they’ve shown so far this season. First up, James Tate’s NAMHROODA was being considered for the Epsom Oaks earlier in the year but she could only finish fourth in the Pretty Polly Stakes here and has not been seen disappointing at Newbury in June. This daughter of Sea The Stars could well outrun her Sky Bet’s 16/1 price tag, but let’s split stakes on her and GOODYEARFORTHEROSES, who had a pair of subsequent Group-race winners behind when winning at Leicester last October and remains full of potential and is 8/1 with the same firm.
3.05: Shadwell Rockfel Stakes (Fillies’ Group 2), 7f
This has cut up to just seven runners and they are headed by Hugo Palmer’s Hawksmoor, who did this column a good turn when winning a Group 3 over this trip at Glorious Goodwood last month. That success can be upgraded too as he was stuck behind a wall of horses three out before getting up on the line. There should be more to come after just three starts, but she’s priced accordingly at around the 2/1 mark and she faces some highly promising rivals.
Charlie Hills’ Doubly Motivated and Godolphin’s Promising Run arrive here on the back of eye-catching maiden wins and could be anything, but I just prefer the chances of Sir Michael Stoute’s THETIS at the respective odds. The daughter of Invincible Spirit had a couple of subsequent winners behind when a staying-on third on her Newmarket debut (7f) and she looked the business when getting off the mark at Carlisle last time. She was given an entry in the Group 1 Fillies’ Mile, so is clearly highly regarded at home, and I don’t envisage today’s softer ground being a problem as plenty of her sire’s progeny appreciate some cut. Ryan Moore, who returned to action at HQ on Thursday, takes the ride and the partnership look value at Betfair’s 15/2.
3.40: Shadwell Joel Stakes (Group 2), 1m
A disappointing turnout of just four for this Group 2 prize, but it’s an interesting contest nonetheless with Roger Charlton’s Time Test being taken on by the older and more battle-hardened CUSTOM CUT, who won last year’s renewal. Roger Varian’s Decorated Knight is unlikely to be disgraced in his hat-trick bid, but it’s far harder to see Richard Hannon’s Tupi getting competitive and he’s the big outsider of the lot.
It’s not really a race that gets the punting juices flowing to be honest, though there is a temptation to side with David O’Meara’s charge at the 9/4 on offer at Paddy Power as he arrives here in good nick after a successful Irish raid on the Curragh in a Group 2 over this trip on yielding ground earlier this month. A reproduction of that effort would certainly throw down the gauntlet to Time Test, who was hugely impressive when winning over 1m2f at Royal Ascot before failing to give her true running in the Juddmonte International. This is far easier and she deserves to be favourite, but the drop back to a mile may not be ideal and the ground may be a little softer than she likes, so she’s opposable.
Back a winner at 4/1 or bigger in any of the four races shown live on Channel 4 and bet365 will give you a free bet to the same stake (up to £50 per customer per race) on the next race shown live on Channel 4. Of that also wins at 4/1 or bigger, get another free bet in the same way and so on.