Newmarket selections Saturday 6th May
We have entered the Classic season with the English 2000 Guineas the centrepiece of an excellent card at Newmarket. I have selections in four races on the afternoon. The Dabbler (advised 20/1) was placed for the each-way bet in the previous column last Saturday.
Newmarket 2.50: Probe & Chairmanoftheboard
A wide open handicap with a huge field which requires two against the field.
With rain forecast during the day, PROBE‘s chances will undoubtedly be enhanced. Unraced until three, he looked a useful prospect on soft ground when winning for Dermot Weld at Killarney and Listowel in 2021. Those wins were over further than today’s 6f, but he has already shown in two runs since joining Jennie Candlish this year that he has the pace for sprinting.
Having shown little for the out-of-form at the time Weld last season, he bounced back to win at Wolverhampton in March in a small handicap. However it was his second over today’s course and distance at the Craven meeting that marked him down as a progressive individual. That race was not the fastest run of events and he tanked into contention at halfway before being outpointed by Orazio late on. A stronger pace and perhaps slightly more cover today can work wonders off just a pound higher and he remains well handicapped.
CHAIRMANOFTHEBOARD appreciates this undulating 6f and was third in this contest last year from a 6lb higher mark before largely disappointing for the rest of 2022. However a return to the Rowley Mile saw him run his best race for a long time when third, just behind Probe that day. First time cheekpieces might help sharpen up this fast finisher and he does seem to appreciate some cut these days, so any rain will assist his cause.
Newmarket 3.25: Majestic & Titian
The afternoon gets no easier for this next Heritage Handicap over 9f.
Trainer Jack Channon has started his career with a bang and his MAJESTIC looks certain to run a big race back at the scene of his biggest triumph, the Cambridgeshire, over the same distance. He remains unexposed beyond a mile and performed with great credit on testing ground in the Lincoln when fourth to Migration.
An extra furlong today will be in his favour and he can handle conditions well. He did not even make his flat debut until May last year so has few miles on the clock and a middle draw will allow jockey George Bass to make his own mind up about which horses to track on which side of the track.
At a big price TITIAN can run well, especially if the ground continues to soften. He was a fine second on Lincoln day at Doncaster on heavy ground in the Spring Mile, but is probably best over further.
Having failed at hurdling, he moved from David Pipe to Julie Camacho and as soon as he got on some softer going showed improved form to win over 10f at York. That preference for soft showed up again at Doncaster and he might be a little overlooked hailing from his small yard.
Newmarket 4.00: Twilight Calls
It looks safest to side with the proven class act in this Group 3 in TWILIGHT CALLS.
We have not seen him since he chased home Nature Strip in the Kings Stand at Royal Ascot last year, but he has won first time out for the past two seasons so there is no reason to think he will be overly in need of this outing.
It started out 2022 winning over this course and distance in a handicap at the Craven meeting with the minimum of fuss. He was only fifth in this race next time, but did not enjoy the run of the race, racing on the slower side of the track and being carried wide by a rival at the crucial time.
Ascot showed his true potential and whilst slower ground is a slight concern, he is drawn on the faster side of the course if the evidence of Friday’s card holds true today.
Newmarket 4.40: Flight Plan & Silver Knott
A later than usual Guineas to avoid a clash with the Coronation celebrations, and that might ensure the ground changes enough to bring the stamina horses into play against a number of talented but potentially doubtful stayers in the line up.
First choice would be SILVER KNOTT who has plenty of experience to call upon from his juvenile days. He won three times last season including over this course and distance in a Group 3. He then went agonisingly close to winning the Breeders Cup Juvenile being caught on the line by an Aidan O’Brien rival.
Stamina will be no issue at all therefore. He did disappoint on his one try on soft ground, finishing behind today’s rivals Chaldean and Indestructible, but the extra furlong today will suit my selection more and there is no doubt Silver Knott has improved since then.
The forecast rain has persuaded me to desert the speedy Little Big Bear in favour of an outsider FLIGHT PLAN. I loved the way this horse travelled in a listed race at Newcastle last month, and he will have the benefit of that outing to ensure he is fit and primed for today.
His action strongly suggests he will be better with some cut, and the forecast suggests he should get that. He did seem all at sea on debut on quick ground at Leicester but found the more forgiven All Weather surface much more to his liking at Newcastle, winning his novice there with ease over the winter. Trainer Karl Burke rates him a lively each-way contender and in stall 1 he might just be on the right side of the track too.
1pt each-way – Probe – 2.50 Newmarket – 9/1 Bet365 (1/5 odds 1st 6)
0.5pts each-way – Chairmanoftheboard – 2.50 Newmarket – 14/1 Skybet (1/5 odds 1st 7)
1pt each-way – Majestic – 3.25 Newmarket – 5/1 Skybet (1/5 odds 1st 6)
0.5pts each-way – Titian – 3.25 Newmarket – 25/1 general (most bookies 1/5 odds 1st 5)
1pt win – Twilight Calls – 4.00 Newmarket – 100/30 general
1pt each-way – Silver Knott – 4.40 Newmarket – 11/1 general (most bookies 1/5 odds 1st 4)
0.5pts each-way – Flight Plan – 4.40 Newmarket – 50/1 general (most bookies 1/5 odds 1st 4)