What are the best bets at Newmarket on Wednesday?
The Group 3 Earl Of Sefton Stakes (due off 4.30pm) is the feature on the middle day of the Newmarket Craven meeting and Ralph Beckett’s AIR PILOT looks the one to be on.
At seven, he’s the joint oldest in the race but don’t let that put you off as he’s relatively lightly-raced having been to the track just 11 times, winning on four occasions and finishing out of the first three just once. That came in last season’s Champions Stakes at Ascot where he ran as well as could be expected for a 33/1 shot in finishing fifth.
He’s run some fine races here too, including when finishing third in a Group 3 over this distance in October 2014, finishing just over a half a length behind the winner, before following up when returned here over a furlong further. He also won a Group 3 at the Curragh last June and his official rating of 116 is just 1lb behind the top-rated Custom Cut, who has to give him 5lb.
The other 116-rated horse in the race is Charlie Hills’ Dutch Connection, who won last season’s Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot and should be up to winning at Group 1 level this term – connections are eyeing up the Lockinge. However, he’s best on top of the ground, whereas the selection loves to get his toe in and will find conditions today’s perfect. His stable has also made a better start to the season with five winners and several placed runners in the last fortnight.
With nothing else jumping off the page at HQ as a potential bet – the maidens are best watched for the future besides – I’m turning my attention to the all-weather meeting at Kempton, where William Muir’s KING OF SPIN should take all the beating in the maiden auction over 6f (due off 6.20pm).
The son of Pivotal can be considered unlucky not to have relinquished his maiden certificate before now having looked a shade unlucky over this trip at Wolverhampton last time. Slow into his stride, he was held up and then didn’t get the best of runs through the race when being delivered with his challenge, before running on into second just a neck behind the winner, with a three-length gap back to the third.
That run confirmed the promise he’d shown on his second start at two and it also gives him a fitness edge over most of his today’s rivals, including the forecast favourite Jack Nevison. He showed plenty of promise as a juvenile but may just need his first run back as has been the case with a couple of stablemates, whereas will be cherry ripe and his stable is absolutely on fire – the last nine runners have finished 111221112. Rob Hornby’s 3lb claim is the icing on the cake.
Yesterday’s nap Nathra won the Nell Gwyn Stakes in great style and is now a best-priced 12/1 for the 1000 Guineas, having been advised at 16/1 pre-race.