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Newbury’s two-day Mill Reef meeting kicks-off with a strong card this afternoon and plenty of interesting juveniles in the opening two maidens.
Some good horses have won the opening 6f Maiden in the past and, after winning the corresponding race with Musawaat 12 months ago, Sheikh Hamdan can strike again with Jawwaal (1.20) under Jim Crowley. The selection was an eye-catcher in a warm maiden when failing to stay seven furlongs last month here, and should better that effort dropping back down in trip.
Crowley partners exciting debutant Rewaayat in the second division however, Beshaayir (1.50) is unopposable under Ryan Moore and is a confident selection to shed the maiden tag at the second time of asking. The well-bred colt was well-supported in the market prior to finishing second in a competitive maiden over course and distance three weeks ago and with the benefit of experience can go one better for the in-form yard of William Haggas.
The form of the Chepstow race that Sallab (3.30) finished second in has worked out particularly well and he must go close under Frankie Dettori in the Haynes, Hanson and Clark. Trainer Richard Hannon has a good record in the race and in receipt of 3lb from both White Mocha and Bon Scotte must go well.
Hannon saddles 3 of the 12 runners in the feature 7f Listed Stakes including likely favourite Tabarrak (4.00) who finished second behind Ballet Concerto in the Sovereign Stakes last time out Salisbury. He was out-stayed in the closing stages and, whilst burdened with a penalty for his Ascot success earlier in the campaign, remains in good form and is easily the one they all have to beat.
Crowley is well-drawn aboard well-bred filly Naqaawa in the 7f Conditions Stakes for juveniles and is likely to improve for last month’s debut however, Veracious (4.35) stick out like sore thumb on pedigree and is chanced to make a winning debut under Ryan Moore.
Trainer Sir Michael Stoute sent out a well-bred Cheveley Park filly to score on debut earlier in the week at Yarmouth and Veracious has the potentially to be even better. By Frankel and out of Group 1 filly Infallible, she is likely to be even better next year as a 3yo but may just be smart enough to get the job done first time out.
The second day of Ayr’s Gold Cup meeting must pass an 8am inspection however, racing was abandoned at the Scottish venue yesterday and there is a real chance that lightning will strike twice this afternoon.
Should the meeting get the go ahead then I’d be keen to back Abel Handy (2.45) in the Listed Harry Rosebery Stakes for trainer Declan Carroll. The form of recent second behind Sound and Silence was franked by the winner bolting-up in the week in France and is more likely to handle testing conditions more than most having made a winning debut on soft ground at Nottingham.
Keith Dalgleish’s filly Clem Fandango won the corresponding race 12 months ago and now steps up half a furlong for the other listed race on the card, the Scottish Fillies’ Sprint Stakes under regular partner Philip Makin. She must go close on the pick of her best form last season however, preference lies instead with Sainted (3.15) for the in-form yard of William Haggas. I was lucky enough to see her in the flesh last month at Haydock when scoring under Danny Tudhope and think she is a potentially very smart filly for connections
There’s good prize money on offer at Newton Abbot where Gingili (4.45) should get a good toe into the feature handicap chase and claim a third success over fences. Staying is the name of the game in a likely stamina test over three and a quarter miles and, with the pair of Strumble Head and What Happens Now likely to go hard up front, the race should set up for Gingili and the excellent Noel Fehily.
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