2.05 Newmarket – 32Red Casino Handicap
Ten runners go to post for Newmarket’s opening race on Saturday and the horse I want on my side is PRINCE’S TRUST. In the care of top trainer/jockey combination Richard Hannon and Richard Hughes, this nicely bred colt looks to have found a nice opportunity to continue his progression. The son of Invincible Spirit didn’t see the race track at two, but is quickly making up for lost time. He made his debut in a warm Newbury maiden where he was very weak in the market. He bellied those vibes to some degree when running a hugely encouraging race in ground softer than ideal. Including the selection seven winners have come from that race. That includes the talented winner, Cape Peron. His second start came at Goodwood and again, it’s a race that is working out nicely. The winner looks a nice horse, but the second gives the race real substance. He scored today (Friday) off a mark of 85 and is sure to go up around six pounds (maybe more) or so, but I’m sure he’s even better than that. Prince’s Trust finished just on his coat-tails in third, but was hugely unlucky in the run. With a stronger gallop and a better ride he probably could’ve scored. From here he went to Newmarket, to the Rowley Mile, and finally broke his maiden. His did so in some style and won as he liked. That form is nothing to write home about, but the style in which he won impressed me and to be fair, the second, whom he gave six pounds, has come out and won since, with connections describing him as “quite exciting”. He’s now been off the track for 56 days, but as someone pointed out to me, he had three quick runs and probably warranted a break. Hopefully he’s still sharp enough to run well because if he is, he’ll take plenty of stopping. He hasn’t had a proper race yet so once woken up properly in the heat of a competitive race, he could put on a show. I’d like to see him get a lead tomorrow off a nice even or strong gallop – this will aid his cause as he can be a bit keen. If not he’s already showed his front-running abilities. The quick ground will be no problem to him and his running style should suit the track. Hopefully we get off to a good start.
Advice: 3pts each-way Prince’s Trust @4-1 (Bet Victor, Boylesports)
2.30 Ascot – Summer Mile Stakes
The return to a mile can hopefully prove just the treat for Luca Cumani’s AFSARE. This globe-trotting son of Dubawi has been campaigned over ten furlongs for the majority of his career, but is starting to look worth a try at this trip. Stiff finishing courses like Ascot and Sandown look, to my eye, to just be stretching him and a stiff mile with a good gallop may just see him get his head in front again. It’s been a year since his last success, but he’s been running in some super competitive races and has three runners-up spots to his name, one of which came in Group One American company. That was last season, but his 2013 has gotten off to a solid start without winning. He was given a near impossible task on debut in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot where he was beaten nine lengths. He went through the race nicely however, travelling well and going with eventual winner Al Kazeem for a brief period. A combination of fitness and the stiff climb found him out, but it was a nice introduction to the season. Last time out he dropped to Listed company at Sandown, but the race was probably more of a Group Two/Three in reality – the winner bringing in Group One form to the race. Again Afsare ran well, once more travelling kindly before quickening up to take what looked a commanding lead. He was run out of it close home though indicating he’s going to strip fitter again, worth a drop in trip or both. We’ll find out today how he copes with it, but I can see the excellent James Dole just sitting him off the leaders and laying down his marker two and a half out. As long as there is a decent gallop on (there are a few front runners in the line-up) he can go close. The favourite Aljamaaheer will be no pushover, but he now reverts to racing around a bend and his stamina ma be found wanting on the round course.
1pt each-way Afsare @6-1 (bet365 1/4 odds)
5.35 Newmarket – Egerton House Stables Handicap
With one non-runner through we are down to a field of ten and while there are some standout horses still left it doesn’t look like a competitive race in the slightest. There is plenty of exposed ones in and a couple of the lesser seen animals don’t look up to scratch. The two I like are Pether’s Moon and Cat O’Mountain, both from top stables. The former is a horse I have time for and felt he would’ve won at Royal Ascot, but for a disastrous ride. He may well gain compensation today, he’ll be pretty tough to beat, but at the prices we’ll have to take him on. He was keen last time out and that may well prove his undoing today.The horse I like is CAT O’MOUNTAIN. Hailing from the inform Godolphin yard the selection looks great value at 10-1 given all things considered. Firstly, this son of Street Cry is a beautifully bred colt from the family of Ribblesdale winner Michita and conditions level scorer, Willing Foe. His pedigree very much lays him down as the big, backward type, but he was anything but at two as he made three racecourse appearances, winning two of those. The form of those races is working out nicely, but given his size and scope there may well be more to come this year. He started his 2013 campaign in satisfactory style on this course when bumping into a trio of subsequent winners in Maputo (will now be rated nicely into the 100s), Chesterfield and recent Group Three and St Leger bound victor, Feels Like Dancing. It was a nice opening run where he badly looked in need of it. He should strip a whole lot fitter now. The first time step-up to twelve furlongs should suit as he looks a bit of a relentless galloper. It’s tough for these three-year-olds taking on their elders, especially with the winter we’ve had, but hopefully he runs well. There are plenty positives to take and his price is appealing in this company.
1pt each-way Cat O’Mountain @10-1 (Ladbrokes)
1pt each-way Cat O’Mountain ‘without Pether’s Moon’ @7-1 (Ladbrokes)