Focus is firmly on the meeting at Newbury today, after it became Ayr’s turn to get the wet patch, but there have been worse ‘substitutes’, with three Group races to get stuck into.
The Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes, a Group 2 event for the youngsters takes place at 2.50, with a field of 10 scheduled to take part. Heading the market is the James Tate trained Invincible Army at 11-4, having won the Sirenia Stakes at Kempton two weeks ago, but although he did it in convincing fashion, we are not convinced as to the strength of the opposition at the Sunbury venue.
A more attractive bet is the George Scott trained James Garfield at around 7-2.
This son of Exceed And Excel was touched off by a nose in York’s Acomb Stakes last time out and will be well suited by the drop back to six furlongs today, on his favoured faster ground. Ridden again by our friend the Mad Italian, James Garfield can gain rich compensation for being assassinated 131 years ago.
At 2.15, the Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup (Group 3) takes place and we fully expect Second Step to take this race in the safe hands of the rejuvenated Frank.
When taking the Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes as a 4-y-o, this horse appeared to have the racing world at it’s hooves, but then almost completely lost it. No win at all in 2016 resulted in a move from Luca ‘he sleeps with the fishes’ Cumani to Roger Charlton ‘s premises and, slowly but surely, the mojo has returned. Two Listed race victories and a close second in a Group 3 (all under Mr Spencer) attest to the well-being of the now 6-y-o and at 4-1 he is the value against the field.
In addition to a win bet on SS, we suggest a small e/w on Architecture at 10-1. This filly brings Group 1 form into the race, having been second in both the English and Irish Oaks in her 3-y-o season. The reason for the attractive price is that the horse has not reappeared until today, which implies a problem over the winter. However, with Hugo Palmer’s stable cat breaking 10 seconds for the 100 metres recently, it’s worth a modest punt.
The third Group race is due to go off at 4.00 in the shape of the Dubai International Airport World Trophy Stakes, over the flying 5f.
This race is the epitome of the old racing adage ‘who’s turn is it today?’, as almost every one of the 17runners has crossed swords with each other at some time in the past and extensive study of the form book is just not worth the candle. We have a sneaking feeling that the perennial threatener Cotai Glory will finally come good today, for the first time since winning this very race last year and, on a ‘s or b’ basis, recommend a modest win bet at 6-1.
Additionally, we must ‘cover’ on the Irish raider Hit The Bid, one of only two 3-y-os in the line up and available e/w at 12-1.
The £75,000 guaranteed Dubai Duty Free Handicap at 3.25 has, predictably, attracted a maximum field of 20, but there are just two who hold our interest.
Hugo Palmer’s Anythingtoday is a highly progressive 3-y-o, whose upward progress was only halted last time out by a step up to 12 furlongs, which it patently didn’t get. Back to its best trip today and with Pat Smullen booked, this must be backed each way at 11-1.
Finally, the Clive Cox trained Threat Assessed completes our portfolio. Not seen out for over a year, this four year old is really well handicapped on it’s 3-y-o form and is a major player if replicating that ‘sans nuts’. At 16-1, well worth an e/w tickle at 16-1.
James Garfield 2.50 win @ 7-2
Second Step 2.15 win @ 4-1
Architecture 2.15 e/w @ 10-1
Cotai Glory 4.00 win @ 6-1
Hit The Bid 4.00 e/w @ 12-1
Anythingtoday 3.25 e/w @ 11-1
Threat Assessed 3.25 e/w @ 16-1