MORE Channel 4 action from Newmarket on Friday. Graeme Johnston (@GraemeJ_83) gives us his best bets.
14:40 Newmarket | Channel 4
The Duchess of Cambridge Stakes is a Group 2 for two year old fillies over six furlongs and it’s attracted a classy looking field. Illuminate and Eastern Angel are vying for favouritism after winning the Albany Stakes and being runner up in the Queen Mary respectively, but I’m prepared to take them on for one at a huge price.
Eastern Angel was a gallant second in the Queen Mary behind Acapulco, where she was over two lengths ahead of today’s rivals Besharah in third with Rah Rah and Silk Bow further adrift. Before that she had won her maiden and was a good winner of the Hillary Needler at Beverley so she deserves her place at the front of the market.
Illuminate was a good winner of the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot but I’m not crazy about that form. It certainly wasn’t the strongest two year old race at the meeting and the contest rather fell apart late on with horses running prominently stopping late on. Though Illuminate is a good horse, I’m in no rush to back her here.
I touched on earlier that Rah Rah was down the field in the Queen Mary, but she is still of massive interest to me. A winner of her first two races, the second of which was a gutsy win at Chester over five furlongs where she was headed close home before fighting back to win.
She was disappointing at Royal Ascot but there were excuses. She met a set back in the run up to Ascot and was seen as an unlikely runner shortly before the race so I can forgive her that. She will definitely be suited by the extra furlong here and with the smaller field where she can hopefully get an easy lead in front coupled with the stable form makes her an excellent each way bet at 20/1.
15:15 Newmarket | Channel 4
The Qipco Falmouth Stakes is a Group 1 over a mile for fillies and mares and is a race I like. Last year’s winner Integral returns to defend her crown but she comes here bang out of form and she is not on my shortlist for this.
There are three French runners in a line up of nine, and they look to have a strong hand in this. All three are single figure odds and you couldn’t readily write any of them off. Fintry seems to hold last year’s French 1000 Guineas and Prix de Diane winner Avenir Certain on this season’s form but perhaps the biggest threat from France could be Bawina who looked better than ever winning a Group 2 at Saint Cloud on her reappearance. Having said that her best form comes on a soft surface so I’m happy to take the French contingent on here.
Amazing Maria bounced back to form with a bang last time winning the Duke of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot. She beat course specialist Rizeena by two lengths and if you take that form literally then she is the horse to beat in this. However that was an unsatisfactory race with nothing really getting in to the race and the odds on favourite Integral disappointing. I’m not writing off Amazing Maria lightly, but I’m prepared to take her on here.
Euro Charlene has some solid form to her name last season and was last seen behind the mighty Solow in Dubai. She comes here fresh having been withdrawn from the Duke of Cambridge before the start where she was troublesome at the stalls. She could easily get involved at the finish but I think she will find at least one too good, and that one is Lucida.
Anyone who has read my blog before will know that I love this year’s three year old fillies. I feel we have a good bunch on our hands, and I will be backing them versus the older fillies and mares this season. This is the first opportunity for me to see if it works over a mile, after three year old fillies dominated the Pretty Polly Stakes in Ireland.
So far this season Lucida has come second in a Guineas and third in a red hot Coronation Stakes. She has been beaten under a length on both occasions and she sits very near the top of the pecking order in her age group.
Her optimum conditions are a mile on quick ground and she has that here. There is no Legatissimo or Ervedya in this field and I believe that she will strike for the Classic generation in this. She is also receiving an 8lb weight allowance from the older fillies and that is a huge amount. I am really looking forward to this race tomorrow and I hope we will enjoying a few evening beers compliments of the bookies from our 3/1 winner.
14:40 Newmarket – Rah Rah each way (20/1 William Hill)
15:15 Newmarket – Lucida to win (3/1 Coral)
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