Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Newmarket and Goodwood on Saturday. View selections below.
IVAWOOD (3.45) can justify Richard’s Hughes’ brimming confidence by scooping the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket. Richard Hannon has mustered a four-pronged assault on the season’s first Classic and Hughes has been adamant throughout the big-race build-up that he is on the yard’s No 1 hope, despite stablemate Estidhkaar trading shorter in the betting. Ivawood made the most of his powerful juvenile physique, landing the Richmond Stakes at Glorious Goodwood and the July Stakes at Newmarket, both on quick ground. The colt reappeared in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury but was soundly beaten by Muhaarar and Estidhkaar. Hughes put that disappointing effort down to the fact that Ivawood wasn’t race fit and I fancy he’ll overturn that form, especially with doubts over Estidhkaar’s ability to handle Newmarket’s famous Dip on a slick surface. Another Hannon individual, Kool Company, defied a penalty to land the Craven Stakes and his proven track craft on fast ground is an obvious bonus. Aidan O’Brien’s Gleneagles heads the market after beating Toscanini in the National Stakes at the Curragh (good to firm) and finishing first past the post in the Grand Criterium at Longchamp. Gleneagles has little in hand of Andre Fabre’s Territories on that form line, and the French raider will have derived benefit from a winning comeback run almost three weeks ago. O’Brien’s second-string, Ol’ Man River, is vying for Derby favouritism but didn’t look short of speed on his two unbeaten runs last year.
TOP TUG (2.00) boasts bright prospects in the opening Makfi Suffolk Stakes. Sir Michael Stoute rarely keeps four-year-old geldings on the go unless they possess the potential to land a nice prize and Top Tug remains largely unexposed after beating useful Cloudscape in a thrilling finish (pair well clear) at this fixture last year. Top Tug wasn’t seen again until October when only seventh to Farquhar in a competitive Newmarket handicap but 1m 4f may have overstretched his stamina. Significantly, Stoute drops him back to nine furlongs with Ryan Moore aboard.
WATCHABLE (2.30) went down with all guns blazing on his reappearance at last month’s Craven meeting, finding only Astaire too strong close home. At first glance, the drop to five furlongs in the Palace House Stakes may not be ideal but David O’Meara’s Pivotal gelding was always in the firing line on his comeback and isn’t short of toe.
FULLON CLARETS (4.20) could take another scalp for the north, with Richard Fahey’s gelding only a pound higher for his easy all-the-way Lingfield success last month. This is tougher but Fahey usually means business when Paul Hanagan is booked around his minimum weight. Stablemate Sarista is a fast filly and this is her first start since running fourth to American star Hootenanny in the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot.
There is rain forecast at Goodwood and that could swing matters in favour of TIGRILLA (4.05) in the Betfred ‘ Double Delight’ Conqueror Stakes. This one-mile contest is confined to fillies and mares and the Cheveley Park Stud-owned pair Tigrilla and Provenance may well fight out the finish. Tigrilla, the only three-year-old, ran third to Moonee Valley on deep ground at Deauville in October and the mud was also flying when she lost her maiden tag at Haydock earlier in the year. Provenance, a Galileo filly, would greatly enhance her paddock value if Stoute can eke out a little improvement on her last run, when fifth to classy Albasharam in a Listed event at Newmarket in October.
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