Yes, it’s bonus time, with six races on the box, four from the Newmarket Craven meeting and two from Chelters.
We go to HQ first, starting with the bet365 Handicap at 1.50, which has a field of 11, headed in the market by Archie Watson‘s Going Places at 7-2.
This 5-y-o has had just the one run on turf, the remaining four being on the AW, winning twice, both over 7f. Has the advantage of at least being fit, but so has Count Otto and we prefer the chances of this one.
Amanda Perrett‘s 6-y-o is a dual turf winner on fastish ground and comes here from an excellent third in the valuable Apprentice race at Leafy on Good Friday. Dropping back to 6f on this course could be just the ticket and we leave it to Big Jim to do the biz at 10-1.
The European Free Handicap at 2.25 looks a highly competitive affair, despite the small field (6) and we will take a chance on the well-being of Royal Scimitar, from the Clive Cox operation.
Certainly looks on a good mark on its 2-y-o runs and is subject to favourable reports, so it’ll do for us at 6-1.
The Group 3 bet365 Earl Of Sefton Stakes at 3.00 looks at the mercy of Global Giant, winner by 6 lengths of a Listed race at Kempton last month and proven on today’s ground. Bit of a shorty, but sometimes the bullet has to be bitten – have a win bet at 5-6.
Newmarket coverage ends with the Nell Gwyn Stakes at 3.35 and we hope to see Saffron Beach retain her unbeaten record for Jane Chapple-Hyam.
Her two races in her first season were both over today’s course and distance, the latter being a Group 3, for which she receives no penalty. This is undoubtedly the best visible form and we recommend a win bet at 3-1.
Over at Prestbury Park, we start with the Ballymore Silver Trophy Handicap Chase at 2.05, which looks good for course specialist Coole Cody after its cracking 4th in the Paddy Power Plate at the Festival. This followed the sprightly 10-y-os easy win in the Paddy Power Gold Cup earlier in the season and Tom O’Brien (riding out of his skin now out of Dear Dickie‘s shadow) can take this at 7-2.
Finally, the Kingston Stud Handicap Hurdle at 2.40, which sees the reappearance of our 33-1 winning selection Beauport, which we won’t be selecting this afternoon, off a 10lb higher mark.
Instead, we go for the rapidly improving Java Point from Kim Bailey‘s yard. The improvement has coincided with the addition of a tongue strap and a step up in trip and, although it was just a Maiden Hurdle this 6-y-o won at Warwick two weeks ago, it could turn out to be a good race and the handicapper could regret not adjusting JP‘s mark.
We hope so, anyway.
Count Otto 1.50 Newmarket 1pt e/w @ 10-1
Royal Scimitar 2.25 Newmarket 1pt e/w @ 13-2 (3 places Ladbrokes/Coral)
Global Giant 3.00 Newmarket 6pts win @ 5-6
Saffron Beach 3.35 Newmarket 2pts win @ 3-1
Coole Cody 2.05 Cheltenham 2pts win @ 7-2
Java Point 2.40 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 11-2 (4 places)