Shades of Ward Bond in Wagon Train for Day 2 of the Newmarket Craven meeting, with the eponymous race going off at 3.35.
The six runner field is headed, unsurprisingly, by Native Trail, favourite for the 2000 Guineas and already the easy winner of two Group 1s at the end of last season. Perhaps the powers that be should look at the conditions of this race, as Native Trail can run in this ‘lowly’ Group 3 without a penalty, which is why it’s currently trading at 1-4.
Clearly not a betting race and neither is the first televised event, the Rossdales Maiden Fillies’ Stakes at 1.15, in which only three of the runners have seen a racecourse.
Moving on, then, to the bet365 Handicap at 1.50, where it is hard to overlook the chances of Pocket The Profit, the mount of Ryan Moore.
George Boughey‘s 3-y-o destroyed its field at Pontefract 8 days ago, winning by more than four lengths and, with a penalty, is 5lbs ahead of its new mark. The expression ‘what’s not to like?’ springs to mind and we recommend a win bet at 5-2.
The bet365 Wood Ditton Maiden Stakes at 2.25 is for unraced 3-y-os so, once again, we are no bet. (Sorry about this, but we don’t choose the races!)
At 3.00 the Connaught Abernant Stakes takes place and this Group 3 race also features a Group 1 winner without a penalty, Ebro River.
One of two 3-y-os in the field and in receipt of a hefty 12lbs wfa allowance, Hugo Palmer‘s pet tried 7 furlongs twice to end his 2-y-o season and didn’t get it either time.
Sprinting is now the name of the game and ER should be backed at 5-2.
Over at Cheltenham the two races covered are at least more competitive and we start with the Kingston Stud Handicap Hurdle at 1.30.
This is a wide open affair, but our trusty pin has come down on Whatsupwithyou, trained by Ben Pauling.
This 8-y-o has dropped markedly in the ratings after a string of disappointing performances but came back to form last time out, when just touched off by an easy subsequent winner. The very capable Lily takes off a valuable 5lbs and we think a win bet at 9-2 is justified.
We also give a good chance to Straw Fan Jack, which has been threatening for a while and has run some of its best races on today’s track. Have an each way belt at 14-1.
Final telly race is the Silver Trophy Handicap Chase at 2.05, in which all the signs are that today is Stolen Silver‘s day.
Trip, ground and rating are all aligned and Sam Thomas‘ 7-y-o should be backed at 9-4.
We’re back over Easter – hasta luego.
Pocket The Profit 1.50 Newmarket 2pts win @ 5-2
Ebro River 3.00 Newmarket 2pts win @ 5-2
Whatsupwithyou 1.30 Cheltenham 2pts win @ 9-2
Straw Fan Jack 1.30 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 14-1 (bet365/Coral)
Stolen Silver 2.05 Cheltenham 4pts win @ 9-4