After a good week of racing following the Dante Festival at York attention turns to Newbury for the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes and the London Gold Cup.
There are also good afternoon flat meetings at Newmarket and Thirsk, with Bangor going jumping before evening meetings at Uttoxeter and Doncaster respectively.
Remember I’m on Twitter (@m_kirby95); so let me know your bets for today and keep an eye out for possible other selections throughout the day.
3:10 Newbury – London Gold Cup
It is hard to see past a Khalid Abdullah horse winning but the question is which one? Things do look in the favour of Dissolution to record a win in this Open Handicap. He has had a run, 30 days ago, which he just got up to win at Newmarket and for that the visor returns, so he should settle early on and concentrate in getting the work done. He only has gone up 2lb for that win, so he could still find something more today. Andrea Atzeni takes the ride for the first time and he rode Secret Gesture perfectly to victory at York on Thursday.
Time Test, the other Abdullah horse, is well bred and should be suited by this trip, which he attempts for the first time. He could improve for the step-up in distance and is highly thought of as he holds a King Edward VII entry. However he has shown keenness on his start, which would be the worry but is still unexposed. Dutch Uncle could be the one to trouble the selection and get into a place. A 2nd over this distance last time out to a horse (Subcontinent) that has gone onto win since. His trainer Ed Dunlop has had a few success’ in this race in the past, so it is no surprise he has a horse running in it yet again. He was also 2nd to Jack Hobbs in a maiden but the stepping up in trip on starts since seems to be playing to his strengths. Space Age is still unexposed but is another stepping up in trip to this distance for the first time and has been of course for 276. This isn’t a race to go too big stake wise on.
Advice: Dissolution (9/2 each-way)
3:45 Newbury – Lockinge Stakes
The Group 1 Lockinge Stakes has had some very notable winners in the past, which include Frankel and Canford Cliffs. Last year’s 2000 Guineas winner Night Of Thunder returns from his break and is already into 3/1 this morning. That Guineas form is strong with runners such as Kingman (2nd), Australia (3rd), Kingston Hill (8th) and The Grey Gatsby (10th), all winning big races since. If fully fit he of course will be the one to beat and looking at his race record that suggests he may go well fresh. After six months off the track from, October2013 to April 2014, he returned in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury and was only beaten by a very good Kingman. Trainer Richard Hannon suggested he’ll improve for the run but is fit. If you take him out of the field then it looks to be a wide-open Group 1.
A chance would be taken on Hors De Combat, who returned from his winter break by finishing, 2nd to Moohaarib at Ascot 17 days ago in a Listed race. He will have sharpened up for that effort and has some good form as a three-year-old over this distance. Some of that form includes a 3rd in the Britannia Stakes at Ascot in a 30-runner field. He is a hold-up horse so big fields, like today, tend to suit him better than his last few outings in smaller fields. He should thrive in this sort of race over a straight mile and with a strong pace he should have a tremendous chance. On his return, when behind Moohaarib he was doing his best work late and the Marco Botti winner just had a quick turn of foot but you could argue the pick had been left a little too much to do but did stay on strongly. Personally I feel he can reverse that form as Moohaarib may not be the most straight forward.
Toormore is a horse that goes well fresh and after an absence of 210 days could be one to watch, as he won on his debut as a two-year-old and his seasonal reappearance as a three-year-old. He was a 3rd in the QEII Stakes at Ascot in October but that was ran on heavy ground and Night Of Thunder was ahead of him. Integral also makes her return. She won the Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket where she led from the front and quickened well to win. This is obviously more difficult with the field size, so may not get to run her race.
Custom Cut beat Here Comes When at Sandown in the Bet365 Mile Group 2 at Sandown last month. Both run here of their same mark but will run their races in different fashions. Custom Cut will want to be prominent and usually kicks for home from about 2f out and that could make him a sitting target for hold-up horses, such as the selection and Here Comes When. The Andrew Balding five-year-old chased Custom Cut home but couldn’t make an impression against a horse that has won over further but he arguably blew his own chances by being keen early on.
Advice: Hors De Combat (28/1 each-way)
This Fillies Trial Stakes has in the past thrown up horses for the Oaks. There is a personal interest in the race to see how two of my tracker horses get on and one of them is the pick. Martlet won well in a four-runner Maiden at Chelmsford over a month ago beating Brandybend. The manner in which see did it was quite impressive and coming off the pace to win by 3½l at Chelmsford isn’t something you see too often. She does hold an Oaks entry too, so a good performance here could put her well in the frame and yes it will be another John Gosden winner.
Pamona currently heads the market and is thought to want this trip looking at her pedigree. Connections stated she was ‘slow to come to hand’ and that is why she sidestepped the Guineas. However a good performance here would give connections a chance to see if they have an Oaks filly on there hands. A winner at Newmarket on soft ground but hasn’t been seen since. Luca Cumani horses are going ok but she will surely be fit for this one. My other tracker horse is Jasmine Blue. She won her maiden here over track and trip where she stayed on well to beat Forever Popular, who finished 2nd on her next start. In her previous maidens the Paul Cole filly ran into Jazzi Top and Irish Rookie; the latter finishing 2nd in the French 2000 Guineas last weekend. With form and proof she gets the distance she could outrun her odds and has proved she is going forward.
Advice: Martlet (6/1 each-way)
Process went into the tracker after winning at Kempton to make it a double. He is looking to complete a hat-trick today and he has only gone up 4lb for that last win. He is likely to try and dictate the running of the race and the way he won at Kempton did suggest he could be a really good colt. Antiquarium is the obvious danger winning his last two and he looks to have more to offer. These are the two class horses in the race and a reverse forecast would be likely. Munstead Pride will be an interesting runner; coming back from a 179-day absence and in that time he has been gelded.
Advice: Process (9/4)
Reverse forecast of Process & Antiquarium