5 Races To Watch At The Craven Meeting


By Samantha

With the Aintree and Scottish Grand Nationals over and done with, attention turns to the flat and, more specifically, to it’s headquarters- Newmarket.

These three days of action contain two key trials for the Guineas. The fillies go first on the opening day in the Nell Gwyn Stakes. Last year’s race threw up the first, fifth and sixth in the 1000 Guineas. Billesdon Brook won the Classic but she was only fourth in this race so it may be worth looking at fillies who will come on for this run. The last filly to do the double was Speciosa in 2006 for Pam Sly. Eleven fillies are set to run in this group three.

Main Edition and Angel’s Hideaway met twice last year and they are one a piece in who crosses the line first. Angel’s Hideaway severely hampered Main Edition in the Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes last July and since then she has won a group three at Ascot. Her runs for the rest of the season weren’t great and she was behind course and distance winner Mon Juste on the last time we saw her so has a bit to find. Admittedly, she was carrying 3lbs more than the other runners who included Sunday Star and Mistress Of Love who go in this. Main Edition was unbeaten until that incident. She won the Albany and Sweet Solera at two so, with the normal improvement, is likely to figure at the finish.

I saw Come On Leicester win at the backend of last season and her jockey is on flying form. She may not be up to this standard but she could be one for the handicaps this year. Andrew Balding is in good form too and he has the Kingman filly Look Around, who won a Listed race in July. She’s not been seen in a while. Godolphin won this last year and their two may not be up to this grade but they are unknowns. The two once raced horses have a bit to find, with Qabala preferred to Mercenary Rose as she’s by Scat Daddy.

The trial for the colts is the Craven Stakes on the Wednesday. Last year, Iast year it was won by the Godolphin-owned Masar. The chestnut ended up third in the 2000 Guineas and the horse who finished third in this, Roaring Lion, was fifth. In actual fact, the Craven acted as more of a trial for the Derby last year. Masar won it and Roaring Lion got third.

Godolphin have two this year- Royal Marine and Zakouski. The former already has a rating of 113 after winning a class three at Doncaster and a group one at Longchamp. He was fourth in the UAE Guineas Trial and is an interesting type. Zakouski is better fancied in the market a winning debut by two lengths, eased down. He’s a half brother to a group three winner in Australia but this is a huge step in grade.

All of these come under the could be anything banner and connections will be hoping Price Eiji amounts to something as he cost a mind-boggling 2.6 million guineas. The form of his debut win has worked out well but he was only third in an average group three and then fifth in a listed race at Deauville. Set Piece, Skardu, Jackstar and Global Spectrum are all putting their unbeaten records on the line. Set piece has been a short price on all of his starts; Skardu was a shock winner here on debut but did it very well so could be a nice horse; Jackstar won well last time after a knee injury and Global Spectrum won a valuable race in Qatar on his last start, extending his unbeaten record to three and should go close.

Confiding was third in a group two and a group three after making a decent debut . He finished ahead of Watan in the group three. That Toranado colt was second in a group three before that so has some good form but was very babyish last year. He pulled really hard for most of the wway when winning easily at Leicester at the backend of last season so has a bit of star quality. He has to settle though. Momkin was beaten at 1/7 on his last start and has a bit to find.

The Feilden Stakes precedes the Nell Gwyn on Tuesday. Aidan O’Brien has one representative in the form of Western Australia. He is entered in the all of the big races- the Dante; English and Irish 2000 Guineas and the Irish and English Derby. He best performance was in the Vertem Futurity when he was third and that race has worked out well. He should appreciate the step up in trip. He beat Kick On that day. John Gosden’s colt won his maiden well and he is another who will flourish at this step up in trip.

Walkinthesand won a conditions race last time out beating a very classy Godolphin horse easily and was only denied a short head on debut so looks interesting. Kadar is another exciting sort as he was purchased for £700,000 and beat an odds on shot, who was subsequently not beaten far in a listed race behind I’ll Have Another, on debut. I’ll Have Another gets weight from the boys and she is so consistent. A dual winner, she was third in a Listed race at Pontefract in October and she gets this trip well. Boerhan was fifth, behind Western Australia, in a group three after two good runs but him and Spanish Mission, who has only ever ran on the All weather, have a bit to find.

Everyone loves a good sprinter who comes back year after year and it feels like Brando has been around forever even though he’s seven. He has won the last two renewals of the Abernant Stakes races on the Wednesday, just before the Craven. He is just 1lbs higher than winning this last year and, off level weights, he is miles ahead of these.

Yafta and Sir Thomas Gresham are both also course and distance winners . The former only put in one bad run last year which was in the Hungerford Stakes and he was a bit out-classed. Sir Thomas Gresham has been fifth on his two outings so far in 2019, not beaten far. Dreamfield was only beaten a neck at Royal Ascot an has been running at higher levels since. Gifted Master won the Stewards Cup and has won eleven of his twenty five starts so another bold bid is expected. Keystroke and Time’s Arrow are outsiders.

Thursday’s big race, which won’t be televised on ITV like the other two days, is the Earl Of Sefton Stakes and it is a group three contest. Forest Ranger won this in 2018 and won a group two next time out. He’s struggled since but likes it here. Mustashry won three of his five starts last season all in the top company and is highest rated. Zabeel Prince won the Doncaster Mile last year and ran twice subsequently. He’s a classy sort.

15:00- Western Australia
15:35- Main Edition

15:00- Brando
15:35- Royal Marine/Global Spectrum (EW) 

15:35- Mustashry

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