2.05 Newmarket – Dubai Challenge Stakes
With the stalls stand side at Newmarket today it could prove to be advantageous to those that are drawn near it and like to make the running or sit close to the pace. With that in mind the consistent and tough ANSGAR may be best placed to avail of today’s conditions.
He comfortably finished ahead of your race favourite, Darwin last time out and meets the highly regarded Aidan O’Brien horse again today. They race over a furlong shorter this time and off the same weights so I’m struggling to see why the selection is still four times the favourite’s price? (He comfortably had him held at the seven pole at the Curragh)
If bouncing out and making the running like he usually does he could prove tough to peg back up the stand side rail. It’s not a vintage running of the Challenge Stakes and it has thrown up a few big priced winners down the years.
The overnight rain wouldn’t be ideal for this son of Celtic Swing, but the ground may dry as the day goes on and I couldn’t use the terrain as an excuse if well beaten. His current form and official rating give him every chance in an open race.
And with me thinking he can uphold his last run with the current race favourite, who is far shorter in the betting I’m sure we’ve got a sound value play.
1pt each-way ANSGAR @16/1 (general)
2.35 Newmarket – Vision.ae Middle Park Stakes
ASTAIRE’s ability to jump well and hold a prominent position early may prove to be a decisive factor in today’s Group One Middle Park Stakes. Drawn 13 of 13 with the rails stand side he may take a bit of pegging back.
Kevin Ryan is a man to follow with juveniles and his son of Intense Focus has been steadily progressing all season. In four runs he’s won three with his sole defeat coming off a long layoff when too keen to do himself justice.
He scored in the Group Two Gimcrack Stakes last time out and I thought he did it quite well. He showed great early speed, the ability to stay and a nice attitude in running out a slightly comfortable neck winner.
This is a step-up today and he’ll need to improve, but back on better ground, with a great draw and his running style sure to suit the track and distance he should go close.
Neill Callan is on board and after being a jockey I was weary of last year he has proved me wrong and had a fantastic season. Let’s hope his good run continues. Also worth noting that Kevin Ryan took this in 2005 with Amadeus Wolf.
(Just for the record the 50/1 about Jallota looks big too)
1pt each-way ASTAIRE @8/1 (general)
4.55 Newmarket – Autumn Stakes
In the Autumn Stakes Oklahoma City should take plenty beating, but at the prices I’d much rather side with PUPIL in the ‘without Oklahoma City’ market, at three times the price.
I was impressed with the selection when winning two starts back where Richard Hughes said he quickened twice to win. Hughes is a good judge of a decent animal and that ability must be a positive in any horse.
I fancied Pupil to run well at Newbury on his next start, under a penalty, and he did just that in a race that could work out in the future. It was a solid effort on ground that was probably too slow for him and today’s conditions at HQ should be perfect for the son of Mastercraftsman.
His previous success is also working out and with the favourite here, now out of the picture (in betting terms) he should run well in an open race.
He represents a top team in Richard Hannon and Richard Hughes and there aren’t many better in the handling of juveniles.
1pt each-way Pupil @7-1 (Ladbrokes – betting ‘without Oklahoma City’)