It seems strange to just have a six-race card at Newbury this afternoon but that is the case at the Berkshire track on ground that was described as good at the time of writing on Wednesday morning with further rain forecast.
In the finale, Involved ran a cracker when runner up at Newmarket last week having his first start for George Boughey and is due to race from a 2lbs higher mark from the weekend. He disappointed on soft ground on his last start for his previous yard, however, and his best form is when fresh.
My two against the field are Francisco Bay and Water’s Edge (4.45) with marginal preference for George Baker’s four-year-old who has dropped to a decent mark with Cieren Fallon taking off a valuable 3lbs. The selection – 14/1 with Unibet – has yet to win on turf but did run a decent race on the July course last summer and is 3lbs lower in the weights this afternoon. Francisco Bay remains a maiden, but he ran well on his seasonal reappearance last year and Harry Bentley is a positive jockey booking.
At Yarmouth Cold Front (7.30) makes a quick reappearance having stayed on steadily over 6f at Kempton last week when no match for the impressive Meraas of Mark Johnston. He steps up in distance to 7f this evening and I will be disappointed if he cannot go one better for William Haggas. The 2/1 with bet 365 is a fair price.
Charlie Appleby saddles the once-raced Man Of Promise who was odds on favourite to make a winning debut at Ascot but bumped into Mums Tipple and Molatham who are both rated in the 100s now. He was beaten just half-a-length on debut and remains an exciting prospect, but he is not certain to appreciate any further rain and I felt Cold Front was crying out for another furlong last week.
It will be disappointing if Roger Varian’s Marrooj (8.00) cannot run a big race on her handicap debut from an opening mark of 66. She is obviously not one of the stable stars, but she shaped with promise when a staying on fourth at Kempton on debut back in January before she was too keen when going from the front at Newcastle the following month. There are mixed messages from her pedigree as to what her optimum trip will be as there is plenty of stamina on the distaff side, but there has been plenty of money for her on both starts which suggests she works well on the home gallops. The 9/4 with bet 365 looks too big.
At Lingfield I’m not surprised to see Bayar drop back in trip as he travelled well at Kempton last time over 7f although his breeding suggests a step up in trip could show him in a better light. The Mark Johnston runner Almqvist won at Kempton back in March but has been raised 5lbs for that win and was beaten over today’s C&D from an 8lbs lower mark the previous month.
Intrepid Italian (5.40) looked ready for a step back up to 6f when staying on into second on fibresand when last seen back in March. He pulled hard and was carried across the track when shaping well on his only previous start over 7f back in August and this intermediate trip looks ideal. After just two career starts, he is open to significant improvement and 7/2 with bet365 again looks too big.
I am keen on seeing what the market says about the prospects of the Mick Channon-trained Talking About You (4.20) in the 10f Median Auction Maiden at Beverley. The filly caught the eye of the Stewards when she stayed on under tender handling at Lingfield last time although she was keen in the first couple of furlongs. She is bred to get even further than today’s 10f in time although the booking of Silvestre De Sousa would suggest a big run is expected today.
Strawberry Rock makes his racecourse debut for Hugo Palmer and Ben Curtis is booked. A market move would be worth noting although I do think the Channon filly will be hard to beat.
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