Nostrum is a very talented colt, and the son of Kingman made it 2-2 when winning yesterday’s Tattersalls Stakes. You must go back to 2001 and Golan to find Sir Michael Stoute’s last 2,000 Guineas winner. Well, he now has a live contender in Nostrum. He's now a general 8/1 for next year’s 2,000 Guineas although William Hill was still 12/1 when I started writing Friday’s column which looks decent to me.
He’s a best priced 5/1 for the Dewhurst which appeals more than the 8/1 about the first colts classic. However, he’s no certainty to run in the Dewhurst and a lot will depend on the prevailing ground over the next two weeks.
I said Azure Blue was my best bet on the card and the filly duly obliged in the 6f fillies’ handicap. In fact, she might well turn out to be my bet of the week especially as I advised her as a rare 2pt bet for Victor Value subscribers. Azure Blue followed up stablemate Gale Force Maya’s win in last year’s race.
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Drying ground meant Haute Estime was a non-runner at Perth. Keep her in mind for when the ground eases.
Inside today’s main piece I look the best of the Friday’s action at Newmarket.
The field sizes are a little better on day two of the Cambridgeshire Meeting at Newmarket.
Three Group races and two Listed contests feature on Friday's seven race card. The feature races being the Group 2 Dubai Rockfel Stakes (2:25) and the Group 2 Al Basti Equiworld, Dubai Joel Stakes (3.35).
Haydock seven-race card has a couple of competitive handicaps. Meanwhile for jumps fans there’s the Fixed Brush Hurdle Series Final Novices' Handicap Hurdle (3.40) at Worcester. Run over 2m 4f its has £70,000 in guaranteed prize money and has attracted a good sized field of 13 hurdlers. Across the Irish Sea its more jumps action at the Listowel Festival with the Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle at Listowel (2.50) the highlight of a competitive eight-race card. ITV are covering four races from Newmarket and three from Haydock this afternoon on a seven race programme.
Of the five Group & Listed races. I think the one mile Listed Rosemary Stakes (1:50) that gets the card underway is the most competitive. Crystal Caprice will be popular as this improving filly bids for the four timer on her first start in pattern company.
Equally progressive is Whitebeam who is also seeking the four timer after winning on handicap debut and Haydock last month. As with Crystal Caprice there’s likely more to come from this improving filly.
Zanbaq looked open to more improvement and possible pattern class filly when a length 2nd of 28 in the valuable Sandringham Handicap at Royal Ascot. Was a beaten favourite (7/4) in a Group 3 at Ascot last time. Remains capable of better than she was able to show especially with the yard in much better form now.
Romantic Royal doesn’t have as much scope for improvement as the three previous fillies, but she did post a career best when a length 3rd of 11 in a Doncaster Group 3 (7f) last time and should be suited to the return to a mile.
Random Harvest has solid form in handicap company and could well placed if the race isn’t run at strong gallop. However, she faces some progressive rivals.
Crenelle finished ½ length and one place behind Zanbaq in the Sandringham Handicap and is 7lb worse off here. Mind you she’s has a C&D win to her name so handles the track. She finished one place behind Random Harvest in a Listed race at Haydock last time but the fitting of the first time cheekpieces can hopefully see her reverse form with that one.
Princess Royal Al Basti Equiworld, Dubai Stakes
Just the eight go to post for this Group 3 contest for fillies & mares run over 1m 4f. Sea Silk Road twice a winner in the spring including a Listed race at Goodwood before finishing a ½ length 2nd of 6 to Magical Lagoon in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot, heads the betting. Found the drop back to 1m 2f not her liking when 4th of 8 in a Group 2 at Deauville last time. The rightful favourite on form but is vulnerable to an improver.
Eternal Pearl is an improving 3-year-old who completed the hat trick when winning a Group 3 at Deauville last month. Looks capable of better and the Frankel filly stays 1m 4f strongly.
Royal Scandal is another potential improver. The daughter of Dubawi improved for the step up to 1m 4f, as expected on pedigree, when winning at Kempton last month. Needs to find plenty of improvement on what she’s shown so far but is clearly highly regarded as her trainer James Fanshawe has given her an entry in the Group 1 Fillies & Mares race on Champions Day.
Al Basti Equiworld, Dubai Rockfel Stakes
The juvenile races are arguably the highlights of the Cambridgeshire meeting and this is no exception. Fourteen have been declared for this 7f contest and with plenty of them capable of better it looks a competitive race. Olivia Maralda is more exposed than most, but she’s got the best form in the book. Having finished a ¾ length 2nd of 7 to Meditate in a Group 2 at the Curragh last time.
Commissioning, a daughter of Kingman, made an impressive racecourse debut when winning on the July Course 55-days ago. Capable of much better but she shouldn’t be ahead of Olivia Maralda in the betting.
Range Of Bamby won on racecourse debut at Newbury in June. And then improved to win again under a penalty at Leicester 17-days ago. Another potential improver and looks worth a go in Group company.
Eximous built on her racecourse debut run when improving to win a Salisbury maiden 22-days ago. Another capable of better and quick ground is a plus. Trainer Roger Varian wo this in 2019.
Dubai Jemila is one of the most intriguing of the fourteen runners. A 347,092 euro breeze-up purchase. The daughter of Dubawi got off the mark at the second attempt when comfortably seeing off four rivals at Ayr last month. I’m not sure she’s ready to win a race like this and might prove better over 1m but Ryan Moore has been booked and she should only get better with racing.
Al Basti Equiworld, Dubai Joel Stakes
Just the seven for the feature race, However, they do include the consistent Pogo and the talented but slightly frustrating, first time blinkered Mutasaabeq. There’s no doubt he can win a race like this on a going day and this track should suit him better than Goodwood.
The 6-year-old Tempus completed the hat trick when defying a penalty to win a Group 3 at Deauville last month and looks capable of going in again.
Sir Michael Stoute has won this three times since 2005 and he could saddle a fourth with improving filly Potapova. The 4-year-old bounced back to form back to mile when winning the Group 3 Atalanta Stakes at Sandown last month. Doesn’t have much to find om official ratings. Iif she handles the track and they go an even gallop she can go in again.
There’s no Azure Blue to be found at Newmarket on Friday. Indeed, I’m torn between Royal Scandal (2:25) and Potapova (3:35). The former looks a potential value bet. I was expecting Potapova to be around 11/2 in the Joel Stakes. However. she’s a best priced 4/1 with Paddy Power. That means Royal Scandal is Friday’s selection. Grab the 9/1 while you can.
2:25 – Royal Scandal – 9/1 @ Coral & Ladbrokes.
Good luck with your Friday bets.