GRAEME Johnston (@GraemeJ_83) has been in sensational form across the past few weekends. Here he takes a look at Saturday’s racing with three to follow from Newbury’s racing.
The JLT stakes is over 10 furlongs and a field of eight go to post. We have four three-year-olds and four older horses lining up and it looks like the three-year-olds are the ones to concentrate on.
The Sir Michael Stoute trained Consort and the Roger Varian trained Intilaaq were both last seen behind Gleneagles in two of his victories this season and they look like the two to focus on. Consort will start 6/5 (BetVictor) favourite after his third-place in the St James Palace at Royal Ascot and that is the best piece of form from any of these horses this season.
He looks like a horse with a good future ahead of him, but I’m not sure if I can take that form literally. It was a small field at Ascot and the second favourite underperformed. Gleneagles won the race but I’m not sure it was a top class field behind him and the 11/10 about Consort here just isn’t the price I would hope for.
Intilaaq was sent off at 8/1 for the 2000 Guineas after winning a Newmarket maiden by eight lengths but he disappointed in the classic. Running in a Guineas on only your third start, his first out of maiden company, was possibly too much for him and he has been given time to get over that experience. He looks like he will get today’s trip on breeding and at 9/2 (William Hill) he appeals to me much more than Consort.
The Al Basti Epuiworld Hackwood stakes is Group Three over six furlongs and it’s attracted a small field here of six runners. Small field sprints can sometimes develop into messy tactical affairs so it’s important to find a horse with experience in these conditions.
Portamento is the 9/4 (Paddy Power) favourite after winning a Chester handicap last weekend, and he looks like a young sprinter on the up. Before that he was seen finishing midfield in the three-year-old sprint at Lingfield All-Weather Championship Day and he seems at home on both surfaces. Providing this race doesn’t come too soon after last week’s victory, he looks like a worthy favourite.
Watchable (7/2 SkyBet) ran behind Aeolus last time at Newcastle in what was a hot race for the track. Mattmu was second, a solid yardstick and Danzeno, who has since run fourth in the July Cup, was second. Watchable has a fantastic record in big field handicaps and I’m not sure if this is the ideal set up for him here. He is not likely to turn round the form with Aeolus despite the rival conceding weight.
Aeolus (7/2 Betfair) was a fairly decent two-year-old for Ed McMahon who rather lost his way last season. He joined Ed Walker and after a low-key return to action this season he won the Chipchase Stakes at Newcastle. There was no fluke that day and it is possible that the switch in stable has revitalised Aeolus. If it has, I believe that there is more to come from him, and I believe he can defy his penalty here and take another step up the Sprint rankings.
Next up is the Wetherbys Super Sprint for two-year-olds and as ever, we have huge field of unexposed two-year-olds on our hands. Twenty-five go to post and there is a mix between horses that have group experience and horses yet to win a race.
Soapy Aitken is the likely favourite for this and Clive Cox’s inmate has a fouth in a Windsor Castle to his name. He was slightly disappointing last time behind Riflescope but that may have been a better race than it first appeared and Soapy Aitken is the one to beat here. However, I’m not prepared to back him at 9/2 (William Hill) so let’s look elsewhere for value.
Richard Hannon has a good record in this race and provided us with last year’s winner Tiggy Wiggy. He has six here and his best chances come in Great Page and Receding Waves – both look to have a chance.
Great Page (6/1 William Hill) won a listed race at Naas before finishing third in a Group Three at the Curragh. Great Page won 2 low-grade races by narrow margins, but he has shown a good attitude and looks the sort to improve for a step up in grade.
The one I’m siding with is the Mark Johnston trained Hawatif (8/1 William Hill). She has run twice coming fourth in a Haydock maiden before routing her opposition in a Carlisle maiden. She showed excellent pace that day leading from the start and won easily.
Having the pace to hold on to an early position in these races is vital and Hawatif looks like she will be able to race prominently throughout. You often find that half the field don’t get involved in these races and I don’t expect that to happen to her. The stable is still going well and with championship chasing Silvestre De Sousa on board I can see her running a massive race and rewarding each way backers.
14.35 Newbury – Intilaaq to win (9/2 William Hill)
15.10 Newbury – Aeolus (7/2 Betfair)
15.45 Newbury – Hawatif (8/1 each-way William Hill)
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