Paul Ferguson has three selections for us on Saturday; Modun 1:35 Newbury: Kirthill 4:50 Newbury and Fourth Estate 5:35 Ayr
All eyes will be on Frankel at Newbury this afternoon, as the 2,000 Guineas and Epsom Derby favourite reappears in the Greenham Stakes, and it will be fascinating to see how Henry Cecil’s colt has trained on.
There are much more interesting races from a betting point of view on the card however, none more so than the opening Dubai Duty Free Millennium Handicap, in which Sir Michael Stoute’s Modun (1:35) is worth siding with.
I put him up in my column back on 21 October, when he was touched off on the all-weather at Kempton, but the King’s Best colt remains a horse of some potential and I’m keeping the faith.
Stoute has yet to click in to top gear, but he has a strong team at the Berkshire track today and he can get off to the best possible start courtesy of his unexposed four-year-old, who shouldn’t be inconvenienced by the drop back in trip at this stage of his career.
Luca Cumani is another trainer yet to get going, but Kirthill (4:50) is reportedly held in high-regard by connections and he can provide the Newmarket based handler with his first winner of the season in the first division of the mile maiden.
The Danehill Dancer colt was a real eye-catcher on his sole start at two, when runner-up in a Doncaster maiden last October, and the 2,000 Guineas and Derby entry won’t need to improve much to go one better here.
Up at Ayr, the best bet on Scottish Grand National day comes in the concluding bumper courtesy of Nicky Henderson’s Fourth Estate (5:35) who created a really good impression when winning at Doncaster on debut.
Henderson took this race with the high-class Sprinter Sacre last year and, given that this five-year-old is a Darley cast-off who appears to need a decent surface, this has probably been the target ever since that debut success in early March.
The form on his victory has taken a couple of knocks, but there is every chance that the son of Fantastic Light has plenty more to offer and he can land back-to-back runnings of the race for the Lambourn stable.
1:35 Newbury: Modun
4:50 Newbury: Kirthill
5:35 Ayr: Fourth Estate
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Last year’s selections included:
Hurricane Fly: 3/1 winner of the G1 Rabobank Champion Hurdle
Copper Bleu: 12/1 winner of the Jewson at Cheltenham
Great Endeavour: 18/1 winner of the Festival Plate
Tranguil Sea: 11/2 winner of the Paddy Power Gold Cup
Sizing Europe: 6/1 winner of the Arkle
Weapon’s Amnesty: 10/1 winner of the RSA Chase