RACING fan Graeme Johnston (@GraemeJ_83) picks out his best bets from a brilliant day at Newbury.
14:25 Newbury | Geoffrey Freer Stakes | ITV
The Geoffrey Freer Stakes is just short of 1 mile 6 furlongs, and on soft ground – this could turn out to be a real test here. It’s a pretty strong looking group 3 with some top-class form on offer, but it’s a highly progressive handicapper that heads the market, and I think he is worth opposing.
Defoe has won his last three starts, shapes like he will stay this far and should handle the ground. Anyone planning to back him has plenty of grounds for optimism. His win last time out against
His win last time out against Frankuus reads well, but this is a big step up, at the odds and with the stable not throwing out many winners – I’m looking elsewhere.
Fronteirsman is bred immaculately and brings the best form into this race. If he was a straightforward horse, I would have him long odds on here, but he comes with a wealth warning and I’m reluctant to back him.
I’m of the opinion he will win a big race one day, but on soft ground and stepping up in the trip – the percentage call is to avoid him. I’m going to take a chance on one here in the shape of Horseplay.
Fourth in the Oaks, she is a very good filly and on her sole start since she was fourth in a French Group 2. She won her maiden on soft ground by 10 lengths and shapes although this trip is within range.
I make her an each way bet here as she handles the ground, gets a good weight allowance and is still open to improvement.
15:35 Newbury | The Hungerford Stakes | ITV
The Hungerford Stakes is a really strong looking race and connections of a lot if these will be coming in with confidence high. The soft ground could make this a test, but there is one in here I love and despite the competitive nature I make him a very confident selection.
Breton Rock is a 7-furlong specialist who loves soft ground so has to be on any shortlist. He was third in the Lockinge at the start of the season and won the Lennox stakes last time out so is arguably the form selection of the race despite the penalty.
He has to carry here and he is likely to be involved at the business end of this. John Gosden has 2 fillies lining up and both are very talented and could well be good enough to win this.
Nathra was just off top class last year and has a great record on soft ground over this trip so looks the stables number one. Daban ran down the field in the Jersey but remains of real interest to me and I believe she is high class.
My worry here is the ground but I think both will win races before the season is out. The one I’ve backed is the Dean Ivory trained Librisa Breeze.
He had a fantastic season last year and returned this year with a fine 4th in the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot. He met all sorts of trouble last time at Goodwood but I expect him to put that right here.
Seven furlongs on soft ground is ideal for him and despite the competitive nature of this, I expect him to win.
14:25 Newbury – Horseplay to win e/w (12/1 Bet365)
15:35 Newbury – Librisa Breeze to win (2/1 Paddy Power)