We have a massive weekend of racing in store, both in terms of quantity and quality. So often we look back on weekends like this one and realise just how good the action was, many races producing a host of future winners so with that in mind, here are the key races and key horses to keep an eye on.
Friday’s Action at Newbury is Hot
The 2.00 race is a simple seven-furlong juvenile event worth less than £10,000, but it looks a hot one and could produce plenty of quality.
A colt owned by Sheikh Mohammed Obaid, responsible for the likes of Cape Byron and Defoe, named Desert Palms runs in this alongside two Godolphin colts, Encipher and Native Tribe. The former is trained by John Gosden and ridden by Oisin Murphy while the latter, a 300,000-guinea buy, will be steered by James Doyle for Charlie Appleby.
Roger Varian’s Ascension was another expensive purchase and makes his debut while Sir Michael Stoute’s colt Oslo is owned by Khalid Abdullah (Enable, Kingman et al), is by Gleneagles, has Ryan Moore up top and is entered in next year’s Derby.
The 3.05 is a fillies’ Handicap in which pattern and progressive handicap form is represented making it a tight affair between the likes of Jedhi, Sea Of Faith and Motivate me – watch out for the form of this race proving to be very good indeed.
The 3.40 is the Listed Rose Bowl Stakes for the two-year-olds in which debut winner Repartee will be popular, but look out for a big performance from Al Aakif of the William Haggas yard.
Friday Evening Pointers
Newmarket’s card features the fillies’ novice stakes at 6.15, a race that sees another Godolphin pair run with National Treasure (by Camelot) probably their main contender. She is joined in the field by Mark Johnston’s Sea Of Marmoon who is by Golden Horn while John Gosden saddles Wasaayef, a filly who made a good debut and sets a fair standard for the newbies to aim at.
At Pontefract a competitive five-furlong sprint handicap takes place at 7.30, one in which Dapper Man is bound to be a short-priced favourite but do look out for Corinthia Knight. He is more than capable of winning this and is the only runner for Lambourn-based Archie Watson with man-of-the-moment Danny Tudhope on board.
Hamilton hosts one of its biggest nights on Friday too with the Listed Glasgow Stakes a race of some quality. Glaswegian trainer Mark Johnston is looking to win this yet again with Persian Moon, but Roger Varian’s Mackaar is an improver and could well land the spoils.
The Scottish Stewards’ Cup is also on this card with little to choose between Admiralty, Laugh A Minute, Staxton, Yousini, Summerghand and Lake Volta. Whatever wins this will have to be decent.
Newbury’s meeting continues and in the 2.25, the two-mile Marsh Cup, form from both the Northumberland Vase and Northumberland Plate at Newcastle is tested. Those races were hot and with that form clashing again look out for anything shaping well and/or finishing in the first four or so as they are bound to come out and score elsewhere.
At 3.40 the £250,000 Weathrby’s Super Sprint takes place featuring a full field of 25 juveniles. This makes it a basket case in betting terms, but look out for anything running well on the wrong side of the track (away from the winning group), as once again they are sure to win in the future.
In Newmarket’s Aphrodite Stakes (2.40) John Gosden saddles two fillies, and while Sparkle Roll is the obvious one it could pay to take a second look at Kesia. Presumably Nicky Mackay could have ridden the favourite had he wanted but he is instead on Kesia who won her debut race easily and has bags of potential.
Gosden has a real grip on the fillies’ division and that could pay when the Irish Oaks goes off at the Curragh at 5.10. Pink Dogwood, second favourite for this, was narrowly beaten by Gosden’s Anapurna in the Oaks and now he sends Star Catcher to this classic and she could provide the master of Clarehaven another Group 1.