A wonderful of racing on Saturday and Graeme Johnston (@GraemeJ_83) has shared his best bets with us.
14:00 Newmarket | Channel 4
The Royal Lodge may only have six runners but two of them look like high class juveniles, one of which is the current second favourite for the Epsom Derby next season and they look the ones to concentrate on here.
They are Deauville and Foundation, trained by the two leading trainers of recent times Aidan O’Brien and John Gosden. Both are unbeaten in two starts and with a Group 3 and Listed race win to their names look a cut above their opponents.
We’ll start by looking at the John Gosden trained Foundation. He’s had two career starts, both at Haydock and both over a mile. He’s been impressive on both occasions and looks like a promising young stayer. His win in a Listed race last time was a solid effort and although the time wasn’t great he looks like a horse to follow. However he may be up against something a little bit special here and I’m happy to take him on.
Deauville was an impressive winner of a Listowel maiden before stepping up to Group 3 level at Leopardstown. He came up against the talented Sanus Per Aquam and put him in his place over seven furlongs. The runner up was out on Thursday when he won a decent looking Somerville Stakes and the form has a real solid look to it.
Though there is very little between these two on paper I feel that the step up to a mile will see improvement from Deauville and he looks like he will have more tactical pace in a small field. My one concern is that Frankie Dettori is left alone up front to dictate his own pace but I’m confident Ryan Moore will be alert to this and expect the Ballydoyle team to get off to a winning start.
14:35 Newmarket | Channel 4
The Cheveley Park Stakes looks like a high class renewal, and though there is only eight runners it looks like a tremendous race. Illuminate and Besharah have the form in the book here and are the ones to beat but they will need to be at their best to win this.
Lumiere was the big talking horse before she ran at York where she was slightly disappointing. There were bullish reports about her homework but she was keen early and well and truly put in her place by the eventual winner Besharah. I believe she is better than she showed there but I can’t see her winning this.
Alice Springs put up a career best effort last time coming third in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes and that performance puts her in contention here. She travelled well throughout the race and it could be that the drop in trip helps her out. Aidan O’Briens fillies tend to improve as the season goes on and I think there may be more to come from her. I could see her taking a hand in the finish but I’m not sure if she will improve past the main two.
This leaves us with Illuminate and Besharah. Illuminate has a victory over Besharah to her name already but I’m not sure she will confirm that. Illuminate has done nothing wrong in her short career with three wins from three starts. She has a Queen Mary win and the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes to her name and although she has claims to be the top juvenile of the season so far, I don’t think she has the scope of Besharah and I’m not sure if she will thrive on softer ground. I have a feeling she will struggle here and I’m against her in this.
Since her defeat in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes Besharah has won two Group races in a row on softer ground. She has improved significantly, and whether it’s the combination of the ground or just natural progression I now see her as the horse to beat here. Her win at York was not only visually impressive she beat a decent looking field and I think she will taste success at the top level here. I make her a confident selection even in this tough looking race.
15:10 Newmarket | Channel 4
The Middle Park Stakes has attracted a small but select field here with champion juvenile elect Shalaa lining up a hot favourite. He’s a real speedy type and his future lies in sprint races with connections saying his target for next season is the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot. He looks like the winner in this but on the off chance he is past his peak for the season or underperforms here I’m backing a rival each way in this.
Buratino won the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot where he looked like a real class act. He was next seen in Ireland in the Phoenix Stakes where the runner up in the Coventry Stakes Air Force Blue turned the form around in no uncertain terms. The winner that day has since franked that form but it showed that Buratino is not the same horse on softer ground. He will encounter softer ground here and without quick ground I think he’s vulnerable here.
Ajaya has improved with every start this season, and since finishing down the field in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot he has gone on to become one of the top juveniles of the season and he rates a real danger here. He showed at York when winning the Gimcrack that he handle cut in the ground and bar Shalaa has the best claims to win this.
I fully expect Shalaa to win this race but if he has an off day then Ajaya will be the one to benefit. I’m backing Ajaya each way and in a forecast to come second to the favourite as well.
14:00 Newmarket – Deauville to win (5/4 Ladbrokes)
14:35 Newmarket – Besharah to win (5/2 Bet365)
15:10 Newmarket – Ajaya each way (8/1 Paddy Power)
15:10 Newmarket – Shalaa/Ajaya Straight Forecast
Yup, Paddy Power are offering new customers a massive 6/1 on the awesome Shalaa.