The ground was given was good – watered – on Monday morning on the Rowley Mile ahead of the opening day of the Craven meeting at Newmarket. There is no rain forecast across the three days of the meeting. ITV4 are covering four races.
I was disappointed with the finishing effort of New Science on his reappearance over a mile at Meydan -was beaten at odds of 1/3, but he has race fitness in his favour ahead of the listed Bet365 sponsored European Free Handicap dropped back to 7f.
The vote, however, goes to RIBHI (2.25) who won two of his three starts as a juvenile and met trouble in running when a close fifth in a listed contest at Doncaster on his second start. He receives weight from his four rivals including Hugo Palmer’s Power Of Beauty who is considered the main danger.
Recommendation: Ribhi 2.25 at Newmarket at 3/1 with Betfred
Master Of The Seas finished runner up in the 2000 Guineas last spring having landed the Craven Stakes at this meeting on his reappearance. He wore a hood – can be keen – for three of his five starts in 2021 but the headgear has been left off this afternoon. He has been gelded since his last start in the QEII on Champions Day and steps up in trip to nine furlongs for the first time.
Catch Twentytwo is a fascinating runner having his first start for Jane Chapple-Hyam. He was last seen finishing runner up in a Grade 1 in South Africa over this 9f trip back in July. The vote, however, goes to MAGELLAN (3.00) last seen disappointing on soft ground at Longchamp on Arc weekend.
The 4-year-old finished runner up behind subsequent dual classic winner Hurricane Lane in the Dante last May when he travelled up very well before being outstayed by the Irish Derby/St Leger winner.
His two disappointing runs last term came on soft ground and his Sovereign Stakes win at Salisbury on his penultimate start is very good form. He has 5lbs to find on official figures with Master Of The Seas, but the latter is unproven at the distance and will do well to get home if he is as keen without the hood as was the case on occasions last term.
Recommendation: Magellan 3.00 Newmarket at 10/3 with BetVictor
The concluding 10f 3-y-old handicap is one of my favourite races of the meeting. Only seven go to post but I am sure there will be several future winners come out of the contest.
Israr didn’t get the best of runs behind Wind Your Neck In at Salisbury back in September on soft ground but meets that rival on 8lb better terms this afternoon. He is a must for the shortlist with the better ground considered a plus.
Thunder Max was forced to give away ground by tagging himself on to the back of the field from the worst of the draw at Doncaster on his reappearance and will be winning races before long.
Only one of the nine runners in the field holds an entry in the Derby and that is EDUCATOR (4.45), and I would be disappointed if the Queen’s Deep Impact colt was still rated in the 80s by the end of the season.
I was impressed with the way he knuckled down to win a maiden at Haydock in September – a race the stable had won 12 months previously with a subsequent Group 2 winner.
William Haggas saddled the winner of the corresponding race 12 months ago with Mohaafeth and the last three favourites of the corresponding race have all obliged.
Recommendation: Educator 4.45 Newmarket at 5/2 with William Hill
Over to Ayr and the problem with Houston Texas is that he has been raised 13lbs for winning his last couple of races. That said he is in great form at the moment, goes any ground and is guaranteed to stay the trip. He gave Bavington Bob a fright at Newcastle earlier in the season and the winner will be reassessed to a mark about 20lbs higher after his latest win at Kelso last week.
He must give 15lbs, however, to DESTINY IS ALL (2.05) and that might prove beyond him given I thought the selection won despite the drop back in trip here last month. Trained by Lucinda Russell who had more Grade 1 success at Aintree last week, Destiny Is All looked outpaced at the top of the home straight before coming home strongly – despite jumping out to his right.
That was his first win on his ninth start, but he is open to further improvement stepped up in distance and a 4lbs rise looks fair.
Recommendation: Destiny Is All 2.05 Ayr at 9/4 with William Hill