Newmarket July Meeting Day Two Preview, Tips, Placepot
Well, not a bad start to the three day meeting yesterday, with a couple of winners and a placepot dividend from the main A selections. Of course, as is the way with most big meetings, it gets harder as the week wears on, so today's fare is probably less predictable than yesterday's.
Nevertheless, the trade off with such fiendishness is almost always that a winner will get us out in front, and a slice of the placepot should pay well. Let's see if we can achieve those twin objectives at HQ's Summer strip this afternoon...
1.40 PIPER-HEIDSIECK EBF FILLIES´ HANDICAP (CLASS 2)
We begin with a thirteen runner 6/1 the field 3yo fillies' handicap: my idea of punting hell. Whilst there's no way I'd bet on this as long as there was at least one other race to wager in the next six years (OK, maybe a slight exaggeration), I will be trying to struggle through the placepot. So, I guess in a round about way, I will be betting on it after all!
Anyway, bluster aside, it's obviously very hard, as intimated by the open nature of the betting. Perhaps the trainers to follow are Sir Michael Stoute, who won this in 2004 and 2006, and also has a third and a fourth in recent times; and Roger Varian, whose former boss, Michael Jarvis, loved this race too, winning in 2003 and 2008, and finishing third in 2009. They run Dream Wild and Tantshi respectively, and both are prominent in the market.
Dream Wild is having only her third run. She won her maiden on debut over a mile, and was then stepped up to ten furlongs for a handicap where she was beaten far enough in third of six. It might seem a little odd, then, that she steps right back to seven furlongs this afternoon, but mine is not to question SMS on the placement of his horses. She has to be respected at the trip, being astonshingly well bred: by a Group 1 sprinter (Oasis Dream), out of 1000 Guineas winner, Wince.
Tanshi has no such regal lineage - though mum was placed in Listed and Group 3 company - but she's done all right on the track. Her best form seems to be at this seven furlong range and with the stable heritage in the race, she's a possible.
There looks to be plenty of pace in the race, and maybe the speed of the speed will be Richard Hannon's Indignant. Hannon won this last year, and whilst Indignant has struggled to win, she has been second on her last three starts. She's not ungenuine and the form of all three of those races has received serial boosts. She's another player.
Sorella Bella has top weight and is a big price - 20/1. She deserves her big weight, but perhaps not to be that big a price, having finished a close up seventh of 26 in the Listed Sandringham Handicap at Royal Ascot. She was third of those which raced in the centre there, and the two in front of her - Nargys and Hint Of A Tint - are considered black type sorts. I reckon this one has a chance at a price, with William Buick booked to ride.
Jubilante and Nardin are others with obvious form chances in a race that is indecipherable and worth swerving unless, like me, you need to get to leg two and beyond of the 'pot.
Token Each Way Selection: Sorella Bella
A - 2 (Indignant), 4 (Tantshi), 14 (Dream Wild)
B - 1 (Sorella Bella), 9 (Nardin), 10 (Jubilante)
2.10 DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE STAKES SPONSORED BY BETFRED (Group 2) (Fillies)
The Cherry Hinton by another, abject in truth, name. With the exception of Attraction, the alumni of this race are less than top class. It is for that reason that I hope Rizeena doesn't win, though she is clearly the pick of the form so far, having bamboozled the best early juvenile fillies at Royal Ascot in the Queen Mary.
Her time in that race was very fast, and she towers over this field on the clock. There's a good chance James Doyle will bounce her out and just let her go, and there's a good chance she'll win. She's not a bet for me, because of the odds and the fact that she has to go an extra 220 yards today. She's bred to see it out, but that electrifying pace may just be compromised at this slightly longer trip.
Despite those reservations, I find it hard to believe she'll be out of the frame and she's a placepot banker.
Of the rest, I couldn't back Bye Bye Birdie to reverse the form with Rizeena, despite an authoritative win last time in a first time visor. That may have aided concentration but she was spanked by nine lengths in the Queen Mary. She's a very poor price to my eye.
One Chance and Fig Roll were third and fourth in that Royal Ascot blitz, and both were staying on. Fig Roll has stepped up to six since and won a Listed race here. She's got to have a fine place chance. One Chance is bred for this, and if he was from a more fashionable yard he'd probably be half his current 10/1 odds.
Bits of value: One Chance, Fig Roll
A - 1 (Rizeena)
2.40 ETIHAD AIRWAYS FALMOUTH STAKES (British Champions Series) (Group 1) (Fillies & Mares)
This race symbolises a lot of what's wrong in British racing's finances for me. It's a Group 1 worth £180,000 in total prize money. And there are four runners. Owners complain about prize money, and it is poor. But what's really poor is the massively uneven distribution of funds to a few top races, where the owners can't even be bothered to run their horses.
From memory, I think 30% of prize money goes to the top 1.9% of races. It's right that prize money should be better at the top table, but the disparity is hurting the sport if that cash is so weakly contested - in terms of entries at least.
Clambering back down from my hobby horse, it's actually a fascinating heat with three very talented milers facing off. It looks for all the world like it will be tactical, with Elusive Kate perhaps making the running by default. Giofra will presumably shadow Kate, with Sky Lantern trying to get some cover before unleashing her burst of late speed. Purr Along will try not to get in the way.
In fairness, Purr Along isn't rated that inferior to these, and Frankie's best chance might be to go from the front, and try to nick it. Riding a lass ten pounds inferior to Sky Lantern, it's not impossible that he could win that way, but that's probably the only way he could win.
Despite the impressive turn of pace the last twice, and the visually stunning impression to boot, Sky Lantern wouldn't obviously be suited by a tactical affair which could blunt the effect of her closing kick.
Elusive Kate was disappointing in the Queen Anne Stakes, but ran a cracker in this last year, albeit when in receipt of the weight for age allowance that Sky and Purr get this time. I'd find it hard to back her after that run because she was fit enough then. Giofra was giving weight to Kate in this last year, and they race off levels this time. Giofra beat Kate when spotting her nine pounds, so why she's almost twice the price here is beyond me.
This is probably another no bet affair from my perspective, but the value play (in relative terms, at least) is the French mare. They're perfectly used to slow run races with a sprint finish in France, and she'll not be inconvenienced by a dawdle. She obviously handles the track and trip fine, and the one reservation would be that this is the fastest turf she'll have raced on, and she's not sure to appreciate it.
That said, she's performed well on good ground, albeit generally over further, but I like horses stepping back in trip, and 5/1 is massive really. Quite tempting for a small bet.
Value play: Giofra
A - 1 (Elusive Kate), 2 (Giofra), 4 (Sky Lantern)
3.15 BETFRED "THE BONUS KING" (Heritage Handicap)
Another idiotic race name. Are we really expected to call this 'the Betfred the Bonus King' in future? "Oh, such and such ran a stormer when third in the Betfred the Bonus King last time..." Just. Stupid. Last year it was called the Betfred "The Bonus King" Stakes. Fair enough, but losing the word 'Stakes' is a concession too far in my view. It might seem like a small point of pedantry, and maybe it is. But it's a joke name to my eye and ear.
Anyway, all issues of nomenclature aside, it's a cracking little race, with nineteen fast flyers hurtling lickety-split up and down the undulations of Newmarket's straight July piste. It will be a mild surprise if course and distance winner, Mutazamen, doesn't bid to make all again. He's a huge price, but dropping back from seven and a mile to what is surely his best trip should help as should the familiar turf. I'm not saying he'll win, but he might run better than a 33/1 shot, especially with some bookies paying five places.
More apparent form chances are held by Moviesta and Equity Risk, a pair of highly progressive sprinters. The former has scope to improve still further, while the latter deserves this fair step up in class and still has a hint of 'could be anything' about him.
Class horses, Chilworth Icon and Ninjago, have similar chances to each other in my view, though the former is twice the price of the latter. He beat Secretinthepark by three lengths when they met, and yet that one is 10/1 while Chilworth is 20/1. Odd.
Barracuda Boy's form is closely linked to Moviesta's, so he's of interest in the placepot at least as a horse that is likely to be overlooked by most. And Robot Boy is to be sold tomorrow. He could be exciting to watch if you've backed him because he comes from quite far back in his races. He looks sure to get the fast pace he needs, and might run into the frame.
Huge priced speculative each way selection: Mutazamen
A - 1 (Ninjago), 3 (Moviesta), 14 (Equity Risk)
B - 2 (Chilworth Icon), 7 (Baracuda Boy), 10 (Robot Boy)
3.50 WEATHERBYS EBF MAIDEN STAKES (CLASS 4)
A slightly easier to fathom puzzle here, and my mate Gavin - of Nag Nag Nag fame - tells me that True Story is the bet of the week. He's got plenty of scope for improvement (True Story, not Gavin, who is looking a bit exposed now!) and the boys in blue like a winner at this meeting. With a lack of depth to the race, and three places to go at, he'll do for me. I can always blame Gavin if he misses the board...
Selection: True Story (Gavin told us!)
A - 11 (True Story)
4.25 CELEBRATING NEWMARKET - HISTORIC HOME OF HORSE RACING MAIDEN STAKES (CLASS 4)
Another maiden to close, and this one looks less straightforward. Luca Cumani's Vermont is the most obvious pick, and is the market leader. But he's stepping up from Class 5 to Class 4 here, and he may just not quite progress as much as some expect. Of course, he might, and he can't be left out of calculations. But I'll be looking for prospects elsewhere.
Johnny G's Toast Of The Town was sent off the 11/8 favourite for a similar race last time and was virtually tailed off. He's obviously better than that, though whether he'll show it here is another question. Prior to that clunker, he'd run a neck second to Sea Meets Sky, in a race from which the third and fourth have both won since.
Lion's Park steps up in trip on his second start, and is likely to try to make all. He could prove hard to pass if allowed to dictate, as plenty of his stable mates do. And Godolphin's Urban Dance is very likely to be forward enough to compete here. Gold Medal was beaten out of sight in 'that' maiden at Newbury behind Remote, Dare To Achieve, Testudo et al. If he didn't fire there, he could be up to making the frame here. If.
Keep in mind that the average odds of the winner of this race in the last eight years were 17/1!!
Tentative selection: Toast Of The Town
A - 6 (Toast Of The Town), 8 (Vermont)
B - 2 (Lions Park), 5 (Urban Dance)
Just A's - 3 x 1 x 3 x 3 x 1 x 2 = 54 bets
All picks - 6 x 1 x 3 x 6 x 1 x 4 = 432 bets
Ticket builder optimized perm - see below.
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So that's who I fancy? What about you? What's your best bet for Newmarket today? Or anywhere else? Leave a comment, and let us all know.
And why not tip it in the tipping league (177 entries in the July competition and counting)?
Finally, did you know that BetVictor are offering a free bet on Saturday to the value of your average stake if you have four bets today/tomorrow with them at Newmarket. Say you have a tenner and three fiver bets (£25), they'll give you a free £6.25 bet on Saturday in the July Cup. It's sommat for nowt, so not bad.
Oh, and of course, we've a full race cards and results service here on jolly old geegeez now!
Here's today's racecards.
And results will appear here this afternoon when the racing's started.