Saturday Racing Preview
After an exciting week of racing at York, the attention turns to Newbury where the feature race of the day is the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes over a mile. Palace Pier will look to add his name to the illustrious list of recent winners which include the mighty Frankel, Ribchester and Rhododendron. Logician also makes his comeback over a mile and a half in the Group 3 Al Rayyan Stakes whilst we have some interesting action from around the grounds. Last weekend the preview struck gold with Third Realm who was an impressive 14/1 winner of the Derby Trial. Fingers crossed the good form continues.
Tactical can be crowned Carnarvon Stakes Champion
The first listed contest of the day is the BetVictor Carnarvon Stakes over 6 furlongs. Her majesty the Queen owns the second favourite, Tactical 2/1, who I believe has strong claims. A classy two-year-old campaign was built upon first time up this season when he defeated subsequent 2000 Guineas fourth, Naval Crown. That effort can be marked up again as Tactical did not have the ideal passage, suffering traffic problems around 2 furlongs from home. He finished like a train and could improve for the run. He will have to concede 3lbs to some improving rivals, but he sets the clear standard on form and Official Ratings. Creative Force heads the betting after two good wins this season. He looks progressive for his trainer Charlie Appleby, but he will need to improve plenty if he is to beat Tactical. I would also question the strength of his form especially when comparing it to what Tactical has achieved. I will be keeping my fingers crossed for a royal winner.
In form Haggas can land Group 3 honours
Group 3 action is next on the card at Newbury where we have the Al Rayyan Stakes over a mile and a half. 2019 St Ledger winner Logician makes his seasonal reappearance here after suffering his first lifetime defeat on his last start of the 2020 season. He had his problems last year and we did not see him until September, so to judge him on his most recent exploits could be a naïve thing to do. His three-year-old form is outstanding and his St Leger triumph over Sir Ron Priestley has be well franked since. He will have to take on the race fit Al Aasy 10/11 from the inform Haggas yard, who reappeared with an effortless victory over course and distance a month ago. William Haggas has long held this colt in the highest of regards and has hinted numerous times, he is only going to get better with age. The form of his seasonal reappearance win wouldn’t look overly strong but he did win in the manner of an excellent horse. On Official Ratings he has three pounds to find with Logician and must concede three pounds due to the conditions of the race. The Gosden’s aren’t quite in the same form as Haggas so far this season and it may be Logician takes a step forward for the run. This looks a good race on paper and a tentative vote goes to Al Aasy.
Lope Y Fernandez can cause an upset in the big one
The Group 1 Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes over a mile is the feature race of the weekend where Palace Pier looks to enhance his massive reputation. The son of Kingman has tasted defeat just once in his 7 lifetime starts and he reappeared with an impressive 8 length success at Sandown. The trip, ground, Official Ratings and race conditions all point towards a Palace Pier success and the market reflects that. He currently sits at around the 8/13 mark and is likely to be in plenty of accumulators for many a punter. He is the most likely winner, but I do have a niggling doubt about the form of the Gosden horses. At the time of writing, he has had just the 4 winners from his last 39 runners. On the other hand, Aiden O’Brien has been in scintillating early season form, boasting a 21% strike rate. He is represented by Lope Y Fernandez 6/1 who has always been a horse I have held in high regard. It is safe to say his career hasn’t reached the heights many thought it would, but he has always shown glimpses of brilliance, with the odd hard luck story thrown in for good measure. I’m no expert on the physique of horses, but to my eye he looks to have really filled his frame and the manner in which he won his reappearance may suggest he’s improved bundles from three to four. He didn’t beat a lot that day and won the way he was entitled to, but it was a performance with a huge amount of promise. Given his close form with the likes of Space Blues and Pinatubo, his talent is clear to see but he may now be ready, both physically and mentally, to put his best foot forward over a mile. I’ll take a chance Palace Pier doesn’t fully fire and at 6/1, Lope Y Fernandez isn’t a bad each way bet against him.
Sea Empress can impress in Fillies’ Trial Stakes
The penultimate race on the Newbury card is the Haras De Bouquetot Fillies Trial Stakes over a mile and two furlongs. A potentially classy field of 9 go to post with plenty of the powerful yards well represented. The Gosdens fire two darts in the shape of At A Pinch and Gloria Mundi who is the mount of Frankie Dettori. William Haggas also sends two fillies, Companionship, who is owned by the Queen and Sea The Stars filly, Sea Empress 11/8, who has an eye catching pedigree. Her sole start to date yielded an impressive success and the form would look extremely useful. The runner up, Teona, has since bolted up at Newcastle before placing third in the Musidora at York this week. William Haggas is in tremendous form, operating at a 28% strike rate and the magnificent Tom Marquand takes the ride. These types of races can often be hard to assess with the majority of the field entitled to any amount of improvement. That being said, I’m quite hopeful Sea Empress can progress into an extremely useful filly.
Beautifully bred John Leeper can land listed success at HQ
The Betway Fairway Stakes is the first Listed contest on the card at Newmarket where I think current favourite, John Leeper 6/4, could be hard to beat. By Frankel and out of Snow Fairy, he is a beautifully bred colt and looked extremely good when landing a novice stakes at Newcastle on the all-weather. The form of that success is yet to be really tested but visually he ticked all the boxes. Hollie Doyle rode him that day and has since sung his praises in a few interviews. He should have no problems translating his form to turf and I’d expect him to handle the anticipated ease in the ground. The obvious danger is Richard Hannon’s Fancy Man who sets the standard on ratings but does have to concede 4lbs to John Leeper. He looked a non-stayer on his last start over a mile and a half so this drop back two furlongs in trip should suit. I don’t think he possesses quite the scope for improvement John Leeper does and therefore I am happy to side with Ed Dunlop’s exciting son of Frankel.
Take a chance on Jadwal for Fallon and Hills
The Heed Your Hunch At Betway Handicap over 6 furlongs comes up at 3:15 where I have decided to take a chance on Jadwal 10/1 for Charles Hills and Cieren Fallon. 17 runners are set to go to post for what looks a very competitive handicap, but I am hoping the big field can really suit Jadwal. He’s done plenty wrong on his last two starts and has failed to settle on both occasions, pulling extremely hard. Despite this he has stuck on gamely to finish second both times in small fields. I believe a strongly run big field handicap over 6 furlongs could be just what he needs. He is clearly a strong stayer at the trip and with plenty of runners he should get the cover he needs to hopefully settle. Running right down towards the bottom of the weights, he looks one of the more unexposed runners and at 10/1 I’m willing to take the chance that he settles early on.
Kew Gardens Brother can land the feature race of the day at Navan
Just the 6 runners go to post for the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Yeats Stakes over a mile and five furlongs. Anner Castle is entitled to improve plenty after an eye-catching debut for Jesse Harrington and Party House looked a potentially useful filly when winning on debut for Ger Lyons. I do struggle to look past Wordsworth 8/11 though who is a full brother to Kew Gardens and looks sure to relish this step up in trip. His sole two-year-old start yielded a narrow defeat to his extremely well-regarded stablemate High Definition and he reappeared with a good win over a mile and two furlongs in mid-April. The form of that success already looks good with the runner up, Agrimony, coming out and winning nicely since. Currently priced up at 14/1 for the St Ledger, I wouldn’t put anyone off having a nibble before he runs.
By Sam Rideout
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