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Saturday Preview

Evening all,

It’s an early post as I’m at a wine club event this evening.

The two-year-olds take centre stage at Newmarket today. The Group 1 Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes (2.25) and Group 1 Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes (3.00) add some real quality to the card.

Just two of the seven races on the Newmarket card are open to non-juveniles. However, one of the is the big betting race of the day the bet365 Cambridgeshire Handicap (3.40). This historic handicap has over £100,000 on offer to the winner and has attracted 29 runners.

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Besides the first four races on the Newmarket card. ITV are also covering two races from the Curragh and Haydock.  The feature race at the Curragh is the one mile Group 2 Beresford Stakes (1.35) but it doesn’t look the strongest renewal of this juvenile race. The other Curragh race on ITV is also for juveniles. The Goffs Million (3.20) is only open to horses sold at last year’s Goffs Orby Sale. There’s €611,000 on offer to the winner of this 7f contest and given there ‘s €1,234,000 in guaranteed prize money not surprisingly the race has attracted a big field of 2-year-olds.

The two races on ITV from Haydock are both handicaps. Although not on ITV Chester hosts the first running of the Watergate Cup (Handicap) (3.25). There’s £100,000 in guaranteed prize money and the good prize money means the track has been rewarded with sixteen runners. Inside today’s main piece I look at the first four races on the Newmarket card.

Newmarket
1.50 – Royal Lodge Stakes

Since Roaring Lion took this in 2017 it has not been the best of races for future form. That’s a slight concern for me in regard my Derby ante post bet Flying Honours. Last year’s winner Royal Patronage lost his next seven races. In fact, since 2018 the winners have only won three races from 28 starts. It’s not a race for a bet for me and I haven’t even looked at it. Of course, I will be hoping that Flying Honours wins.

2:25 – Cheveley Park Stakes

Apart from 2020 when Alcohol Free was successful. This Group 1 contest has gone to an Irish challenger every season since 2016. Five of those six winner have been trained by Aidan O’Brien. He relies on Meditate who makes a quick reappearance after her recent second to Tahiyra in the Group 1 Moyglare Stakes 13-days ago. However, she faces a quality field of juvenile fillies including recent Group 2 Flying Childers winner Trillium and Group 2 Lowther Stakes winner Swingalong.

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I want to take on Mediate. Her main market rival is Trillium and her claims are there for all to see. Juliet Sierra is an improving filly who won the Group 3 Dick Poole Fillies' Stakes at Salisbury last time. Treasure Trove bids for the hat trick after wins at York and in a Group 3 at the Curragh last time. She’s a tough filly and isn’t easily dismissed. However. I’m going with the improving Swingalong to show that there is substance to the Lowther Stakes form.

3:00 – Middle Park Stakes

Looking at the trends. Six of the last eight winners of the race were in the first half of the draw. Although stall 1 is 1 winner from 8 runners. Although Perfect Power did win out of that stall 12 months ago.

Group 1 Prix Morny winner Blackbeard, trained by Aidan O’Brien, faces seven rivals. Persian Force runner-up in the Morny reopposes. Gimcrack runner-up Marshman, Group 3 winner Mischief Magic and interesting recent Yarmouth winner Zoology are all capable of making their mark on the race.

3:40 – bet365 Cambridgeshire Handicap

I looked at the race in Wednesday’s column so need to go over old ground. The Haggas pair of Mujtaba & Protagonist who still head the betting were both declared. Of the pair I like the claims of the latter more. But he races out of stall 3 and since 2014 horses drawn in stalls 1 to 7 are 0 winners from 45 runners 4 placed. Even worse for Protagonist looking at the pace charts all of it seems to be middle to high. Race favourite Mujtaba is better drawn in stall 16 and should get a good tow into the race. At a best priced 9/2 I can happily let him win though. Given there’s going to be at least 28 runners I can’t really go with one less than 6/1.

Dual Identity runner-up to Protagonist at Sandown last time is another I liked form wise, but he’s also drawn low in six. Recent Goodwood winner Savvy Victory looks progressive, and Ryan Moore has been booked. I suspect he might prefer easier ground, but he’s been well tipped up some big name pundits and is drawn in stall 13.

In a race where I will have two or three darts here’s a few on my shortlist.

Shortlist:

Lucander was runner-up in this in 2020. He’s only 1lb higher than for his last win at Windsor in May. Interesting that trainer Ralph Beckett opts for the first time blinkers. He’s of interest for sure especially as he drawn in stall 27.

Bell Rock was a 1 ¾ length 3rd of 11 to Mujtaba at Dpncaster. He’s a previous C&D winner and was third in the race in 2020. Can’t be ruled out although it’s hard to see him beating Mujtaba if that one is in the same form as last time. Stall 19 makes him more interesting.

Injazati has the ability to win a race like this and will be sharper for his recent Windsor run. This intermediate trip run at a strong pace could prove ideal for the 4-year-old. Stall 18 also adds to my interest in the 4-year-old.

Arqoob was a further 4 ½ length back in fourth behind Protaganist at Sandown. He’s better off at the weights with the other two and has since run last Saturday’s Newbury winner Marching Army to 1 ¼ lengths at Yarmouth. He’s drawn out in stall 29 and Connor Planas takes off 7lb.

Perotto won the Britannia Handicap (1m) at Royal Ascot last season, from 4lb lower. He’s been running in Listed/Group company since finishing 9th of 18 in the Bunbury Cup last summer. A return to a big field scenario will suit and he’s got form here in the past. Not dismissed for a trainer (Marcus Tregoning) who won this in 2012/2014 with Bronze Angel and had the third in 2012. He also looks nicely berthed in stall 20 with top Irish jockey Billy Lee booked for the ride.

Saturday Selection:

I’m having three darts in the Cambridgeshire, so I haven’t picked one from that race for obvious reasons. It was a choice between Swingalong in the Cheveley Park and one from Haydock and I have gone for the latter as today’s selection.

Haydock

2:05 – Wanees started the season with improved success in the Esher Cup (Handicap) at Sandown in April. The 3-year-old was then a good 3 ¼ length 6th of 30 in the valuable Britannia Handicap at Royal Ascot. Was far to keen when stepped up to 1m 2f at Goodwood last time. Back at a mile should see him back to something like his best and he remains one to be interested in on his first start since a gelding operation.

Wanees – 10/1 @ Bet365

Good luck with your Saturday bets.

John

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