Showers are forecast to hit Newmarket on Friday on top of ground described, at the time of writing, as good to soft following over 5mls of rain on Wednesday evening.
In the opening listed Rosemary Stakes Muffri’Ha (1.50) returns after a 145 day lay-off and will need a strong pace to track to be seen at her best, but she has some excellent form on the Rowley Mile and gets the vote for William Haggas. The selection won three times last autumn and should get a good tow into the race with the penalised Lincoln Rocks a confirmed front-runner.
The 5-y-old can be a bit keen which does temper confidence, given she is likely to be a bit fresh returning from a break, but she is the best horse in the race and the yard won the corresponding race three years ago. The classic generation have a good recent record in this contest winning four of the last five renewals and they are well represented again this year, but preference is for Muffri’Ha with BetVictor’s quote of 4/1 looking fair each way value.
Three-year-olds have also dominated the Gp 3 Nayef Stakes in the last decade winning eight of the last ten renewals and eight of the ten fillies’ and mares’ going to post this afternoon represent the classic generation.
Mori went off a shade of odds on at York last time in the Galtres Stakes but was a big disappointment and she is surely better than that. Her second to Coronet in the Ribblesdale Stakes is the best form on offer, but further rain would be a negative and at 9/4 with BetVictor she is reluctantly overlooked.
John Gosden has saddled the winner of this contest three times in the last five years and To Eternity and Elas Ruby (2.25) must go close with marginal preference for the latter despite the fact that she has a couple of lengths to find with Mori on Goodwood running back in May. The selection, who has been plying her trade in France in recent outings, is 6/1 with BetVictor and can reward each way support.
In the 7f Rockfel Stakes for juvenile fillies’ Nyaleti (3/1 at BetVictor) looks sure to give a bold sight from the front and it would be no surprise to see her make all under the far rail for Mark Johnston and James Doyle. That said this will be her seventh race in just over three months and she is overlooked although she does have the best form coming into the race.
Gavota beat trees in a modest time at Lingfield last time and she will have to step up markedly on what she has achieved so far, but the same can be said of the once-raced Lightening Quick (3.00) who won her sole start at Leopardstown earlier in the month for Ger Lyons.
The selection (9/2 with BetVictor) is bred in the purple being a son of Frankel out of a Group One winning juvenile. She will have to be every bit as good as her name suggests to take this competitive heat in only her second career start but she is potentially very smart.
I am a big Zonderland fan and still can’t believe how he was beaten at Goodwood on his belated reappearance but rain would see his chance compromised and he is overlooked in favour of Sir John Lavery (3.35) who would surely have won a Leopardstown Group 2 last time with a better ride/luck in running. The drop back to a mile seems to have been the making of the Ballydoyle raider who is 3/1 at BetVictor – Ryan Moore keeps the ride.
In the consolation Cambridgeshire it is possible that Silvestre de Sousa was offered the ride on Fire Brigade (5.20) for Michael Bell given he has a good record on the gelding but the Champion jockey-elect takes the ride on Mountain Angel whose recent Thirsk second has been well and truly franked by the winner.
The selection shapes as though this ninth furlong will suit, any rain would be a plus and jockey James Doyle is riding out of his skin at present. The tissue price is 10/1 at BetVictor and I would be disappointed if he doesn’t make the frame (first four).
At Worcester, the 3m Novices’ Chase is worth the admission fee alone with five of the seven going to post making their chase debut. Monbeg Charmer represents the very much in form Charlie Longsdon and wears a first time hood but the suggestion – echoed by Paul Ferguson in his excellent Jumpers To Follow 2017/8 – is that the six-year-old may be better off going right-handed. I will kick myself if he wins but this is a deep race and he tended to jump out to his right when scoring here over timber back in October.
Ballymilan was the best of these over timber and must run well for Nigel Twiston-Davies, but marginal preference is for Dadsintrouble (2.35) who is bred to make a chaser and gets a narrow vote for Tim Vaughan. The selection finished last season with an excellent third in a competitive handicap at Aintree and any further rain would not be an inconvenience.
The 2m 4f Handicap Chase is another fascinating puzzle to solve with Call To Order likely to be a different proposition with his recent Uttoxeter run under his belt. First time out might be the time to catch Private Malone and a check of the market is recommended for the Emma Lavelle-trained runner but I cannot desert Double Treasure (3.10) who has done us a couple of favour in recent months although a 9lb rise for this month’s Newton Abbot romp does not help. Do note any significant rain would not help his cause.