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Funny Story

Morning all,

Inside today’s main piece you can read my thoughts on Friday’s action. I preview this afternoon’s big race the Listed St Hugh’s Stakes at Newbury. Plus, there’s a trainer who has a couple of runners at Newmarket this evening that could be worth backing.

I know it’s nearly 30c out there. However. I’m going to start with some winter jumps news that caught my eye.

Monkfish who was forced to miss the whole of the last jumps season due to a tendon injury will also miss the first half of the next. I had a notion of backing him for next season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup, given he was such big odds.  I’m glad I didn’t. I doubt we’ll see him next season. Do horses really come back to their best after a tendon injury?  

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Even if he does return to the track sometime in the future its hard to imagine the former double Cheltenham Festival winner being able to replicate his best. It’s a big shame as I think he could well have won a Gold Cup.

No Consolation Great St Wilfrid

Bad news for Ripon racecourse. Just 15 were declared for Saturday’s Great St Wilfrid Handicap. The race has failed to attract a maximum field of 20 runners and the lack of runners means the consolation race due to be run at the start of the card has been cancelled. I have talked in the past about the lack of runners for these consolation races and how they are likely to continue to disappear.

Now on this occasion you would think it was down to dry ground. However, Ripon have been watering and the going on Thursday was being described as good. Maybe its down to the forecast hot weather on Saturday. Who knows? Its just sad that a historic handicap like the Great St Wilfrid has failed to even get 16 runners. Ripon’s loss will of be other racecourses gain in the next month as the rain finally arrives. There’s a 5 ½ f handicap at next weeks Ebor Festival and I suspect a few who had entries at Ripon will attempt to get into the race.

There is some good news on the horizon. The spell of hot weather is due to end on Monday.  The weather is going to get progressively cooler next week and there could be 11mm of rain at York before the start of the Ebor Festival on Wednesday. There shouldn’t be a lack of runners their next week.

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The final confirmation entries for day one of the Ebor Festival came out yesterday. The main takeaway is Baaeed looks to have scared off most of his rivals with just eight entries left in the Juddmonte International Stakes. Last year’s winner Mishriff is still course to retain his crown and its still possible that Eclipse third and Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Native Trail could run.

Friday Racing

The Listed BetVictor St Hugh's Stakes (3.10) is the feature race of day one of Newbury’s two-day Hungerford meeting. Across the Irish Sea Group 3 the Give Thanks Stakes (7.40) is the highlight of a seven-race card at Cork.

Newbury

It’s an open looking St Hugh Stakes with 12 juveniles set to meet the starter. Maylandsea is the best of these on RPR’s. A winner on her racecourse debut at Nottingham. She stepped up on that running when finishing a 1 ¾ length 2nd of 21 to Dramatised in Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot. You can probably draw a line through her last of 6 in a Group 2 at Newmarket as she was far to keen and had no chance of staying 6f. Trainer Michael Bell saddled last year’s winner.

Katey Kontent finished 6th in the Queen Mary but she ran well for a long way before fading inside the final furlong. Looks capable of better and shouldn’t be far away.

Funny Story looked a useful filly when winning a 6f maiden at Newmarket on her racecourse debut last month. Interesting dropped back to 5f as she’s from a speedy family. Open to plenty of improvement and is my pick ahead of Maylandsea.

Newmarket

Trainer Tom Tate is 3-9 +25 with his runners on the July Course and he saddles two here tonight in Equiano Springs (5:45) and First Dance (6:48).  The latter made it 2-2 over C&D when winning here last August and is now races off 5lb lower. Her best run of the season so far came last time when a 1 ½ 4th of 7 over C&D. Looks set for a big run this evening.

Equiano Springs ran well when a 3-length 5th of 20 at York to starts back and wasn’t really suited to a tactical race when 4th of 5 at Pontefract 19-days ago. At his best coming from off a good pace and is now 1lb below last season’s winning mark. James Doyle is an eyecatching jockey booking and if the 8-year-old gets the race run to suit he looks to have a good chance.

As I mentioned earlier in the week, I like jockey Jason Hart. He travels to Newmarket this evening for three rides. The main reason he’s down here looks to be to ride interesting racecourse debutant Midnight Lion for Charlie & Mark Johnston in the 1m juvenile maiden. He also has two rides for Michael Wigham Dion Baker (7:23) and Coase (7:58). Dion Baker ran well on two handicap starts for previous trainer Kevin Ryan. The 3-year-old might be capable of better for the step up to 1m 2f.

Friday Selection:

I have several fancies today so its tough to pin it down to one but I’m going with one of the Tom tate runners at Newmarket.

Newmarket

6:48 – First Dance – 8/1 @ Coral & Ladbrokes.

Good luck with your Friday bets.

John

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