The ground is likely to be on the fast side of good for the opening day of Newmarket’s July meeting although there is the prospect of a shower or two on raceday.
In the Bahrain Stakes Yibir finished third beaten less than a length by Alenquer at Sandown earlier in the season with subsequent Derby winner Adayar sandwiched in between. That form is obviously top class with the winner following up at Royal Ascot in the King Edward VII Stakes. The Godolphin owned runner will be a tough nut to crack stepped up in trip – which should suit on breeding – but I thought Stowell (1.50) was one of the horses to take out of Royal Ascot last month and he is taken to score for John and Thady Gosden.
The selection – 15/8 with MansionBet – finished a never nearer third in the Queen’s Vase last time on what was only his third career start, but that does not tell the whole story. He was drawn out on the wing in stall 12 and Frankie Dettori was forced to cover ground off the home turn before finishing best of all into third. Mark Johnston’s Gear Up should ensure a decent gallop and Stowell should appreciate the likely strong pace. The Gosden stable have won this corresponding Group 3 prize four times in the last decade although it is a race that market leaders do not have a particularly good record. The selection is a best price of 9/4.
The big betting race of the day is the Bet365 Handicap for three-year-olds over six furlongs and my two against the field are both double-figure prices and preference for Whenthedealinsdone (3.00) over Apollo One is marginal.
The each way recommendation – 12s with William Hill 6 places – disappointed on his first couple of starts this term for Roger Teal but bounced back to form, having been gelded, at Windsor last time over the minimum trip. He must shoulder a 6lb penalty today, but the additional furlong should suit, and Ryan Moore takes over in the saddle with William Buick suspended. The 12s with William Hill – 6 places – looks fair.
Apollo One tried to make all over 7f in group company against his elders last time and did well in the circumstances to be beaten less than 5L. Dropped back in trip and class today, I hope to see James Doyle take his time and the 18s with William Hill 6 places looks about right.
Al Aasy cannot be opposed in the Princess Of Wales’s Stakes but he makes little appeal from a betting medium given he has been put in as an odds-on favourite at 4/6.
The classic generation have won three of the last four renewals of the concluding mile handicap and Legendary Day (4.45) can land his hat-trick having scored at Nottingham and Leicester on his last couple of starts. This represents a big step up in class for the Hughie Morrison trained colt who is reunited with Oisin Murphy who was in the plate for the first of those successes. The each way recommendation is 11/2 with William Hill 5 places.
Top-weight Migration is likely to be all the rage having been backed off the boards – 10s into 4/1 favourite – on the show at Salisbury on his first start for 641 days last month. He is 1lb higher in the weights and is a prime candidate to “bounce “, but he remains open to further improvement. It will be interesting to see if Salisbury backers try to recoup their losses this afternoon.
At Newbury this evening, I think Fast Steps will run a big race if more amenable to restraint in his first time cheekpieces, but Badlands (7.20) is a horse who could have plenty to offer in handicaps this term and he can make a winning handicap debut.
The selection – 7/2 with Boylesports – has his first start for David Loughnane this evening having left Archie Watson since disappointing over a mile at Brighton on fast ground at the beginning of June. My interpretation of the owner moving stables with his well-bred colt would suggest he was not overly impressed with the decision to race his colt on the undulations of the seaside track – especially on fast ground. This step up in distance on a more conventional track on good to soft ground should be ideal.