Conditions are likely to be extremely testing across Britain and Ireland for today’s cards with further heavy and possibly thundery showers due to hit Goodwood where we begin Friday’s preview.
In the 7f handicap Old News ran out a fluent winner in his first-time blinkers at Salisbury – good to soft – last week and a 6lbs penalty may not prevent him following up if he copes with underfoot conditions. He did run poorly on his only previous run on soft ground, however, and I do not think it was the strongest of races for the track last time. Note he is 2lbs “well in” as he is due to be raised 8lbs in the handicap from tomorrow.
Spanish Star (1.20) has been raised 2lbs for finishing second at Lingfield last time on fast ground under Harry Bentley over a slightly longer trip and today’s conditions should be ideal for Pat Chamings’ five-year-old who has run well on all four previous starts at the track – albeit over 5 and 6 furlongs. The selection is 5/1 at bet365.
Oti Ma Boati (2.30) won her first three starts for Richard Fahey including on soft ground at Pontefract on debut. She bounced back to form when scoring at York on her first start in over 300 days last month and a 7lbs rise looks fair.
Lady Lynetta has been raised 10lbs for scoring at Haydock on fast ground last time but she is out of a mare who scored on soft ground in Ireland and is a filly who I have plenty of time for but the William Haggas trained filly looked one to follow last time and she gets the vote. The 9/4 at William Hill was too big and she is a best priced 13/8 at the time of posting.
Richard Hannon’s Zwelela (3.05) was entered in the Group 3 Prestige Stakes at Goodwood on Saturday but connections have decided to go down the maiden route and she is taken to land the opener at Newmarket this afternoon despite being drawn out on the wing in stall eleven. The recommendation was backed from 9/4 to 13/8 with Boylesports on Thursday afternoon.
The filly looked a sure-fire future winner when second at Newbury on debut in a novice event on good to soft ground although the time was significantly slower than the first division. The Godolphin newcomer A’Shaari looks the main danger given she is related to numerous winners including sister Wuheida who was beaten less than a length in the French Oaks.
I would not want any more significant rain for Man Of Promise (4.50) although there was plenty of rain around when he got the better of a sustained duel with Cold Front at Yarmouth over 7f back in June. His subsequent absence from the track is a concern and he has only had two career starts which suggests he has had his problems, but he did not look short of pace last time and the drop back in trip by a furlong is considered a plus. The Charlie Appleby trained three-year-old is 11/8 at 10bet.
It would be fair to say that there have been luckier horses in training than Knowing (7.35) who has met trouble in running in his last three starts and would surely have scored over today’s C&D last time had he obtained a clear passage. James Fanshawe has booked Tom Marquand for the first time this evening and he can finally get off the mark for the season. The early 9/2 was too big and the selection is a best priced 5/2 on Thursday evening.
Graeme McPherson has his string in good form, and I hope he can produce Follow The Swallow (2.15) fit and well at Fontwell in the near 3m 2f chase. The 12-year-old has never won first time out but has run some good races fresh and has dropped to an attractive mark. The selection – 14s with bet365 – goes well for Lily Pinchin who takes off a valuable 7lbs. Do note significant rain would be a negative although underfoot conditions were described as good at noon on Thursday.
I have always thought there was a good horse waiting to get out with Ashutor (3.15) and the grey is taken to follow up his recent Stratford success under a 7lbs penalty. Indeed, he has been raised 9lbs by the handicapper for that fluent success and he is 3lbs better off with Beat The Judge for the three-quarters of a length he was behind that rival on his chase debut. There is unlikely to be much between them again this afternoon although the slightly longer trip and prospect of slower ground edges me towards the Paul Nicholls-trained gelding who is 11/10 at Unibet.