1.30 Newbury – Aston Park Stakes
Today is last chance saloon for MIDTERM. He’s getting the profile of a nearly horse, but in his defence, I think the key to him could be cut in the ground. He handles fast terrain fine, but as we saw in his sound win at Sandown last season, soft conditions hold no fears for him; in fact, it looks like he could excel in them. He finally gets to run on his favoured surface today, so with Ryan Moore aboard with a first-time visor on, there cannot be too many excuses should he taste defeat once more.
2pts win Midterm @7/2 (general)
2.05 Newmarket – Betway Fairway Stakes
Call To Mind is probably the right favourite here, but the son of Galileo was quite green in winning last time out and I doubt he’ll be the finished article today. With him running on softer ground, up in trip and on a different type of track, I’m willing to take him on with the more experienced DESERT SKYLINE. All he did last season was improve with racing and the step up in trip. He a likeable horse with a quality pedigree and looks a fair bet here.
1pt win Desert Skyline @4/1 (general)
2.55 Newbury – Al Zubarah London Gold Cup Handicap
I’m keen to get after the favourite, Mucho Applause, as I think he’ll struggle to get home over this trip in the conditions. The standout horse for me is CENTURY DREAM, a son of Cape Cross who handles cut in the ground well. He had progressive form as a juvenile and he made a highly encouraging comeback this season at Sandown when plainly doing too much too soon, having run keen. The fact he stuck around late in the race is probably a testament to his ability and today’s easier course should suit him better. I’d be much more confident on his chance if the Simon Crisford horses were running better, but he looks to have a solid chance.
At the prices, the well-bred TIME TO STUDY is also worth chancing, despite me having slight concerns about his fitness first-time out and a potential lack of experience. The strapping son of Motivator will have no problem with today’s ground and he looks on a fair mark.
1.5pts win Century Dream @6/1 (general)
1pt win Time To Study @9/1 (general)
3.15 Newmarket – Betway Sprint Trophy Handicap
A competitive sprint handicap here with a couple of horses well capable of winning off their current marks. While he hasn’t done anything on the clock just yet, EKHTIYAAR is a horse I like and a horse I feel is fairly treated. He’s got a progressive profile and strikes me as the type of horse that would enjoy good, even fractions, as he tends to be a touch keen. He should get those and with the excellent Silvestre De Sousa booked off a low weight, he will go close if handling the ground.
1pt win Ekhitiyaar @5/1 (general)
4.40 Newbury – Haras De Bouquetot Fillies’ Trial Stakes
There’s no surprise to see Natavia being well-backed this morning, but her contraction in price now sees GRACIOUS DIANA as a fair bet. The well-bred and twice-raced daughter of Foxwedge looked a different animal when bolting up in great style over this course and distance 29 days ago. She won like a class act and is entitled to improve for that effort. She’s a straight-forward filly and that could be the deciding factor here.
1pt win Gracious Diana @100/30 (General)