Day 1 of the Newmarket Cambridgeshire meeting is the main event today and the action starts under cloudy skies and after a fall of the wet stuff overnight.
Feature race is at 3.45 when the Tattersalls Stakes takes place and this Group 3 race for 2-y-os has attracted a field of nine.
Heading the market at 7-4 is the impeccably bred Elarqam, trained by Mark Johnston, which cost the princely sum of 1,600,000 guineas as a yearling and recouped £7,763 of that when making a winning debut at York earlier this month. With Frankel the daddy and Attraction the mummy, great things were expected and the colt didn’t disappoint, winning by nearly four lengths, with two subsequent winners a long way behind.
Also entered for Saturday’s Group 2 Royal Lodge, connections have opted for the easier contest, with the October Group 1s on the radar and on the ‘could be anything and probably is’ principle, we recommend a win bet.
Of those runners with official ratings, Roger Teal’s Dark Angel son Tip Two Win is well clear from his lofty perch of 107, but we doubt that mark is justified and for an each way punt against the favourite we like Hugo Palmer’s Fajjaj. Available at a tasty 15-2, Fajjaj has won his only race so far, taking an Ascot Class 4 despite being as green as grass. There looked loads more to come that day and the trainer had an eye full of apple when discussing the horse after the race.
The Jockey Club Rose Bowl Stakes, a Listed race over 2 miles is at 4.20 and the 3-y-o UAE King is favourite in all books at 5-2. Roger Varian’s charge won two decent handicaps when stepped up in trip, but then came up short when graduating to Listed company at Goodwood at the end of August. Off a rating of 99, it could be that the improvement has now flattened out and we prefer an each way bet on Godolphin’s Winning Story at 5-1. Although this horse’s finest hours have been on the All Weather, its fine seventh in the Ebor last time out (off 108) marks it as a smart performer and we hope it can do the biz this afternoon.
Three handicaps close the card and the Wetherbys General Stud Book Online Handicap at 4.55 sees the return to action of Andrew Balding’s Torcello, which is our recommended bet at 15-8. Although beaten last time when trying this trip for the first time, strangling a horse doesn’t often work and the race he won on the July course here at the end of August is working out like a dream. Second and third have both run away with competitive handicaps since and, off only 4lbs higher, this is a confident selection.
The Molson Coors handicap at 5.30 sees the return to action of a horse who beat Harry Angel as a 2-y-o, a victory which, in hindsight, would warrant a rating of around 125, meaning today’s handicap debut mark of 91 is a gimme. Believe it? Me neither.
That race was in early May last year, over 5f, and the horse has not been seen since. Drifting in the market as we speak, the dreaded Spanish Archer is in evidence.
The other Godolphin runner, Night Circus, however, is a different kettle of cod and at a very attractive 6-1, this winner of the Wood Ditton over course and distance is a confident wager.
The day’s action ends with the famous Newmarket Challenge Whip at 6.05 and it’ll be ‘hats off for her maj’ when Shimmering Light comes home well clear at 13-8.
Elarqam 3.45 win @ 7-4
Fajjaj 3.45 e/w @ 15-2
Winning Story 4.20 e/w @ 5-1
Torcello 4.55 win @ 15-8
Night Circus 5.30 e/w @ 6-1
Shimmering Light 6.05 win @ 13-8