CHARLIE McCann, BetVictor’s PR guru, previews the two-day Greenham meeting at Newbury. We have teamed up with champion jockey Richard Hughes to give us his exclusive thoughts at BetVictor on the major midweek flat racing festivals of the season and when I spoke to him earlier in the week he was sweet on the chances of Baltic Knight at Newbury on Friday. Winner of two of four starts as a juvenile the selection made all at Salisbury on his last start as a juvenile and is reported in rude health ahead of his reappearance.
The selection, however, goes to Ribaat (3.05) who still holds an entry in the 2000 Guineas for Roger Varian. High up in the pecking order of Varian two-year-olds last season, the colt pulled too hard in a minor conditions race on his second start, having comfortably landed a Haydock maiden on his debut. He will need to learn to settle better if he is to fulfil his potential, but he is taken to get his career back on track in a fascinating race. You can also put a line through the latest start of Roger Charlton’s So Beloved when most things that could go wrong did.
The form of Meritocracy’s (3.40) Kempton third last weekend has already been franked by the Newmarket win of the 4th earlier in the week and the Paul Cole runner must be the one to beat with that experience under his belt in the juvenile event. Richard Hannon saddled the second at Kempton on Saturday so you could argue he will know where he stands with Meritocracy and if there is significant support for any of his three runners, especially Steventon Star, I suggest we take the hint.
Mocenigo looks flattered by his current mark and preference is for Mahmood Al Zarooni’s Cap O’Rushes in the three-year-old Conditions Stakes. The selection wouldn’t want any more significant rain but the yard has hit the ground running this week at Newmarket and his sixth of 11 in the Group 3 Autumn Stakes reads well. He can make the running but with Incorporate (made all at Doncaster last time) in the field he should get a nice tow into the race.
On Saturday Frankel’s brother Noble Mission (1.50) will be tough to beat on his reappearance with the Sir Henry Cecil yard also among the winners earlier in the week. He made a winning three-year-old debut at this corresponding meeting last year and it is thought that he could improve again this term.
The Spring Cup looks a tricky puzzle to solve but the pin has come down on Roger Charlton’s Border Legend (2.20) for a royal success. Lightly-raced, the selection sneaks into the race near the foot of the weights and Hayley Turner takes the mount as regular pilot James Doyle can’t do 8st 4lbs. Charlton and Turner teamed up in the same race back in 2010 when Brunston caused a 40/1 shock but at 10/1 with betvictor.com he can reward each way support.
There must be doubts about the ability of unbeaten Rosdhu Queen to get 7f and Maureen (2.55) gets the nod in the Fred Darling. The filly wasn’t at her best in the Cheveley Park last time, but had looked very good in the Princess Margaret at Ascot previously and deserves another chance. She is currently 33s for the 1000 Guineas at BetVictor with Rosdhu Queen 20s for the first fillies’ classic of the season.
The Hannon/Hughes combination will be fancied to win both Guineas Trials with Olympic Glory strongly fancied in the Greenham Stakes but I prefer, in what looks a match, Moohaajim (20/1 for the Guineas at BetVictor) who won the Gp 2 Middle Park at Newbury as a juvenile and is the subject of favourable reports from trainer Marco Botti in the lead-up to what promises to be a most informative Guineas Trial.
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