Thomas Hardy‘s sixth novel provides our headline for today’s action, which features the first Classic of the season, the Qipco 2000 Guineas Stakes, which takes place at 3.40 at Newmarket.

Hot favourite for the 15 runner affair is the unbeaten Godolphin colt Native Trail, which is 5-4 to add a sixth win and a third Group 1.

It’s difficult to pick any holes in this son of Oasis Dream‘s form and he has the benefit of a recent exercise canter when taking a Group 3 over CD at odds of 1-4.

Odds on we don’t do, but 5-4 we do, er, do so a win bet is recommended.

With four places on offer, we also suggest an each way bet on Roger Varian‘s Eydon, which showed marked improvement for a change in tactics when taking a Listed contest on this course 16 days ago. Probably can’t improve enough to turn over our main hope, but could well prove best of the rest and rates a good tickle at 30-1.

First race on t’telly is the Betfair Handicap at 1.50, a simple 20-runner sprint handicap, which, without boring you as to why, we throw three darts and hope for the best.

The three beasties in question are First Folio (7-1), Jumby (7-1) and Raatea (10-1), which, we trust, will fight out a thrilling finish.

The Betfair Suffolk Handicap at 2.25 has Dhahabi at the head of the market at 3-1. Charlie Appleby‘s 4-y-o hasn’t been seen for 567 days and makes his handicap debut off a mark of 103.

On balance, we will give this one the Spanish Archer and go instead for Movin Time, trained by Roger Varian.

This 4-y-o is the epitome of the ‘Group horse in a handicap’ syndrome and also has the benefit of a 7lb gift, with next big thing Harry Davies booked, so a win bet at 7-2 is recommended.

We also give a good shout to Braveheart‘s runner Forest Falcon, which will have greatly benefited from a close third at Chelmsford a couple of weeks ago. At 9-1, an each way puntette is suggested.

Newmarket coverage is completed by the Betfair Palace House Stakes at 3.00, a 5f Group 3 with a field of 12.

Unlucky second in this last year was Came From The Dark, which pitches up for another crack under the fragrant Hollie.

Sure to be fully tuned up by Ed Walker, this 6-y-o warrants a win bet at 4-1.

We also suggest an each way bet on the ultra consistent and possibly underrated Zarzyni, which is available at 12-1.

One race each from Goodwood and Thirsk complete the ITV package and in the Goodwood Conqueror Fillies Stakes at 2.40 we like the look of Bashkirova.

This is a race that the favourite Primo Bacio ought to win without coming off the bridle, but after several disappointments last season, she just can’t be trusted, so an each way bet on William HaggasBashkirova at 9-2 looks the way to go.

At Thirsk it’s the historic Hunt Cup at 2.05 that’s on the box and it looks wide open. Time to take a bit of a flyer in this one – have each way bets on Jean Baptiste at 10-1 and Copper And Five at 25s.

Ronnie versus Judd? Bring it on.


Native Trail 3.40 Newmarket 5pts win @ 5-4

Eydon 3.40 Newmarket 1pt e/w @ 30-1 (4 places)

First Folio 1.50 Newmarket 1pt e/w @ 7-1 (6 places)

Jumby 1.50 Newmarket 1pt e/w @ 7-1 (6 places)

Raatea 1.50 Newmarket 1pt e/w @ 10-1 (6 places)

Movin Time 2.25 Newmarket 2pts win @ 7-2

Forest Falcon 2.25 Newmarket 1pt e/w @ 9-1

Came From The Dark 3.00 Newmarket 2pts win @ 4-1

Zarzyni 3.00 Newmarket 1pt e/w @ 12-1 (4 places)

Bashkirova 2.40 Goodwood 2pts win @ 9-2

Jean Baptiste 2.05 Thirsk 1pt e/w @ 10-1 (4 places)

Copper And Five 2.05 Thirsk 1pt e/w @ 25-1 (4 places)

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