What are the best bets at Newmarket on Thursday?
They’re racing over the Rowley Mile at Newmarket this afternoon and here are my thoughts.
2.00: NGK Spark Plugs EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes, 1m
The meeting gets underway with what should be an informative maiden involving several promising types. As punters, we’re also presented with an odds-on chance in John Gosden’s LINGUISTIC, a 650,000gns purchase for Godolphin who made a fine debut when finishing second behind Very Talented at Doncaster. He’s been given Group 1 entries in the Dewhurst and Racing Post Trophy and to justify those he needs to win well here. It will be interesting to see how the market rates the newcomers, but I see no reason to oppose the favourite.
2.35: ebm-papst Nursery, 1m
Bookmakers are just favouring Roger Charlton’s Executor and he’s undoubtedly promising based on his last-time-out Bath maiden success. This is considerably tougher, though, and he did seem to get bogged down on soft ground when finishing last on his Newbury debut. Ground conditions will be quicker this afternoon, but it’s still likely to ride on the soft side of good and I’d rather back the William Haggas-trained WAR DEPARTMENT at Hills’ 6/1. He hasn’t had much luck since hacking up on his debut at Leicester, nearly coming down in the Coventry and badly missing the start in a Group 2 on the July Course last time, and this is a big drop in class. His stable continues in terrific form. Of the rest, Bathos, who is chasing a four-timer, is very much respected.
3.10: EBF Stallions Codebase8 Fillies’ Handicap, 6f
Roger Varian is another trainer who can do little wrong right now and it could be worth giving his QUEEN’S PEARL (7/2 Ladbrokes) another chance as she looked seriously progressive prior to a disappointing defeat at Pontefract last time. Things didn’t quite pan out for her at the Yorkshire track and it seems significant that connections are sticking to handicap company, rather than chase some black type and boost her paddock value. The majority of her rivals look far more exposed with the exception of John Gosden’s Lady Correspondent, who is surely better than she’s shown in two starts this year and won here last September, albeit over 7f.
3.40: Somerville Tattersall Stakes (Group 3), 7f
The day’s feature looks very competitive with five horses trading at 7/1 or less. It may be a race to watch for the future, but this is a tipping piece and I’m going to put up Andre Fabre’s LAWMAKING as the likely winner at Paddy Power’s 7/2. He was narrowly beaten in a Longchamp Group 3 last time after missing the kick and he should have a better idea of what’s required on just his third start. His trainer only travels over the English Channel if he thinks he has a winning chance and when he says this colt is a potential Guineas horse, you have to take notice. Of the rest, Jim Bolger’s Sanus Per Aquam has twice come up short at this level and I’d be more worried about William Haggas’ Tasleet, who won a valuable sales race at York a shade cosily and seems likely to appreciate today’s extra furlong.
4.15: Jockey Club Rose Bowl (Formerly The Fenwolf Stakes) (Listed), 2m
It’s hard to see past John Gosden’s FLYING OFFICER (13/8 Paddy Power), who finished second in this race 12 months to no less a horse than Pallasator, and couldn’t have won any more impressively on his belated return at Salisbury earlier this month, making it four wins from his seven starts. His trainer said after that race that he was a big horse who has only just grown into his huge frame, so the wide expanses of Newmarket should suit him fine then and Frankie Dettori has abandoned Sagaro Stakes third Forever Now (next in the betting) to ride him.
4.50: Arkle Finance Handicap, 1m4f
The Sir Michael Stoute-trained PETERHOF has let down favourite backers on his last two starts, but they may be able to get their money back here with interest at Hills’ 4/1. The three-year-old has run three solid races since heading into handicaps following a Lingfield maiden success last October, and he shapes as if the step up to today’s trip will suit. He will also be a lot sharper for his most recent second at Goodwood, his first start for 93 days, and he remains potentially unexposed. He may have most to fear from Luca Cumani’s Knight Of Wands, who won a Newbury maiden over this trip last time on testing ground.
5.20: 1stsecuritysolutions.co.uk Handicap, 1m
Up In Lights was winning for the second time in three starts at Yarmouth last month and that is enough to persuade bookmakers to mark him up favourite for this. However, he’s up in class and also has an 8lb rise to contend with, so I’m inclined to take him on. MADE WITH LOVE (15/2 Sky Bet) hasn’t run since April but he’s since joined David O’Meara, who is renowned for improving new recruits, and has shown some useful form here, including when runner-up in the 2014 Wood Ditton. The market may prove the best guide to his chances given his absence.
5.55: Newmarket Challenge Whip (Handicap), 1m2f
This looks trappy to say the least with all five runners holding decent claims, but David Lanigan’s PLUTOCRACY wasn’t disgraced in a hot all-weather handicap last time and is the form pick on his two-length defeat in a Class 2 handicap on the July Course here back in May. Ladbrokes’ go a best-priced 2/1, but I’d hope to beat that on the day.