Roger Varian’s Qabala is the new favourite for the 1000 Guineas after maintaining her unbeaten record in the Nell Gwyn Stakes at Newmarket on Tuesday. The filly is 4/1 (from 33s) with BetVictor after her impressive success, although I’m not convinced it was a vintage renewal of the classic trial and third home Angel’s Hideaway compromised her chances when rearing at the stalls and losing valuable ground. I think the winner will come from across the Irish Sea.
The final day of the Craven meeting this afternoon and the feature race is the Group 3 Earl Of Sefton Stakes over nine furlongs. Elarqam (4.10) began last season finishing fourth in the 2000 Guineas but his form tailed off and he was a beaten favourite in his three subsequent starts. He has had his wind tweaked since his last run and first time out might be the time to catch him. He is 11/4 with BetVictor and can advantage of the 5lbs he receives from Mustashry who runs in the same colours as the selection.
Almashriq (3.00) is not John Gosden’s number 1 for the 2000 Guineas back here in just over two weeks’ time – a decision will be made on favourite Too Darn Hot’s participation early next week – but he created a favourable impression when making a winning debut at Newcastle back in December and he is taken to transfer to maintain his unbeaten record in the 7f Conditions Stakes.
The American bred selection must show he is as effective on turf as he is on an all-weather surface but, as a son of War Front, he should bounce off the fast ground. He is currently 33/1 with BetVictor for the 2000 Guineas and may have most to fear from Hugo Palmer’s Almufti in what should be a most informative contest.
I am a big fan of Beringer but feel he may need at least another furlong to be seen at his best this term and the vote in the mile handicap goes to Sawwaah (3.35) who has won both starts over C&D on good ground and should be able to cope with today’s quicker ground. Trainer Owen Burrows has had a quiet start to the campaign, but the hope is that he can have a winner this afternoon.
At Cheltenham Late Night Lily (3.15) is dropping in the weights and she steps up in trip and she gets the each way vote in the Mares Handicap Hurdle for Dan and Harry Skelton. The selection has had a couple of starts to blow the cobwebs away after a 470-day lay-off and she hinted that she would appreciate s step up in trip at Newbury last time.
Sheneededtherun (3.50) was bogged down on soft ground last time but she is best assessed on her previous second at Warwick and she carries just 10st this afternoon over this three-and-a-quarter -mile trip. Top-weight Molly Childers has every chance, but she may find the concession of 26lbs to the selection a bridge too far.
If Pilgrim Soul ever learnt to settle she would be something to bet on in the Fillies’ Juvenile Handicap hurdle but Irish raider Havingagoodtime (4.25) scored at Fairyhouse on her penultimate start before finishing fourth to subsequent Cheltenham Festival winner Band Of Outlaws when she didn’t get the best of runs.