The Spring flat racing carnival moved onto the Knavesmire for York’s 3-day Dante Festival but there was also some good racing at Newbury on Saturday. Indeed, it was at Newbury where we may have seen the next Oaks winner.
O’Brien Filly Blooms in Newbury Sun
The highlight of the Newbury card was the battling attitude shown by Rhododendron to get up to win the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes in the final few yards. She should be very competitive in the Group 1-mile races this season, when she gets a strong pace to chase. The 4-year-old was also a Group 1 winner on soft ground over 1m 2f at Chantilly last October and runner-up to Enable too in the Epsom Oaks.
Classy Haggas Filly Enters Oaks Picture
Newbury also saw the last of the Epsom Oaks Trials and we saw a nice winner in the William Haggas trained Sea Of Class.
There wasn’t much pace in the early stages of the race but given she's bred to be better the further she goes she showed a nice change of gear to take the lead inside the final furlong, before going onto a decisive 2 length win.
This was only her second career start and she is by no means a certain Oaks runners but has been well backed for the race and is now a best priced 10/1 with Paddy Power. The filly also holds a Group 1 entry for the Coronation Stakes entry at Royal Ascot which suggests connections don’t think she lacks pace.
In an open looking year her trainer looks to have a strong hand in the second fillies’ classic, as he also won the Musidora earlier in the week with Give And Take
The Newbury listed race has a decent record when it comes to the Oaks. In the past 20 years eighteen fillies have gone onto run at Epsom with two of them winning, including the William Haggas trained Dancing Rain who was runner-up in the race in 2011, with a further seven finishing in the top four at Epsom.
In the last decade the race has produced 1 winner from 10 runners 5 placed backing all runners each way would have resulted in +23.20pts profit. By comparison the Musidora has produced 1 winner from 18 runners 5 placed in the same period.
London Gold Cup Form Worth Following!
The London Gold Cup, a handicap for 3-year-olds, is traditionally a race with form that is worth following through the season and it looks like this year’s renewal should follow the same pattern.
A one, two for Mark Johnson, with the winner Communique breaking his maiden tag at the 5th attempt. He should improve further for stepping up to 1m 4f and can win more races when he does. Of those further down the field there are a couple who are worth noting.
Mekong had won over 1m 2f at Leicester on heavy ground. I had expected him to step up to 1m 4f for his handicap debut so it was a bit of a surprise to see him racing still at 1m 2f. He never really got into the race, which suited those to race prominently, on the quick ground but did stay on to finish 7th.
Not totally sure he really enjoyed the underfoot conditions but he certainly needs 1m 4f now and maybe further as the season progresses. He looks worth another go when stepped up in trip.
The other I would take out of the race is Masaarr, trained by Roger Varian, was a good winner on his handicap debut at Doncaster earlier in the month.
Moving up from 1m was expected to bring out further improvement in the colt but the race wasn’t really run to suit, he would have preferred a stronger pace to chase and also made his effort out much wider than the three that finished in front of him.
A long striding horse, he’s well suited to a galloping track and can win more races off his present mark when he gets a stronger pace to chase. It wouldn’t surprise me if he turned to be the best of the field by the end of the season.
This week’s horse for the tracker is Golden Apollo trained by Tim Easterby. The 4-year-old progressed well last season and looked a decent sprinter in the making winning a valuable 6f handicap at York last June. Before putting up a career best to win a 6f handicap at the Shergar Cup in August.
Effective on a variety of ground has won on good to soft through too good to firm. This was an encouraging seasonal reappearance given he had been off for 214-days.
Held up at the rear he didn’t get a run when making his effort 2f out but kept on steadily to finish 8th. Even with a clear passage he wouldn’t have troubled the easy winner George Bowen but he was only 3 ½ lengths off the runner-up.
A career record of 4 wins from 16 runs 25% +9.5 9 placed 56% (+13.80) shows he wins his share of races and he’s 2 wins from 5 runs 40% +11 3 placed 60% (+14) in field sizes 16+. Possibly more significantly, he has no record when racing fresh but his record when racing within 15 days of his last start is 4 wins from 5 runs 80% +20.5 4 placed 80%.
Monday Racing + Selection
We have four flat meetings today at Carlisle and Redcar in the afternoon and evening cards at Leicester and Windsor. There's also a jumps card at Towcester.
8:15 – I do like the chances of the Charlie Hills trained Solar Gold. The daughter of Sea The Stars made a pleasing racecourse debut when runner up in a 7f Newbury maiden last month and she ran like she would appreciate a mile. The 3-year-old looks capable of winning a maiden like this. Her trainer has indicated she could be a Royal Ascot Sandringham Handicap horse. If she is to get into a race like that she would need to win today.
Solar Gold – 7/2
All that’s left now is to wish you a profitable weeks punting.
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