Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with eight to follow on Saturday at Newbury, Newmarket, Bangor and Uttoxeter. View selections below
The Lockinge Stakes is the feature race on a terrific Newbury card and we have the largest ever field in the history of the race assembled (18) for this famous Group 1 contest over the straight mile. If Arod ever learns to settle in his races he might yet fulfil his huge potential; I am tempted to have a saver on Peter Chapple-Hyam’s 4-y-old at 25/1 with BetVictor although he may have to make his own running dropping back down in trip.
Last year’s Guineas’ winner Night Of Thunder is a worthy favourite (9/4) but he failed to win in four starts at the top table after his classic success although he lost nothing in defeat to outstanding milers Kingman and Charm Spirit on more than one occasion.
There is not much pace in the race which might not suit Moohaarib (3.45) but I was very taken with his Ascot success, albeit only in listed company, last time and he remains open to further improvement. At 14/1 with BetVictor he might be worth an each way interest.
In the 6f Conditions race which opens the card I am sweet on the chances of Harvard Man (1.25) for Brian Meehan in what looks, arguably, the hottest 2-y-o race seen in Britain so far this term. Five of the six runners with racecourse experience are previous winners and the two debutants are beautifully bred including Shalaa who has his first start for John Gosden.
I’m not convinced it was Ryan Moore’s finest hour when Telescope (2.00) was beaten on his seasonal reappearance at Newmarket given he appeared to hit the front a long way from home at a time when the Stoute string were perhaps not firing on all cylinders. I expect to see him go one better this afternoon although Elite Army has only tasted defeat once in four starts and that was on soft ground at Sandown behind Windshear (reopposes) last spring.
A visor is reapplied to the progressive but lazy Dissolution (3.10) who has won his last two starts by a short head and a head and has only been raised 4lbs as a result. He will get further than today’s 10f trip in time, but is well drawn, has a feather weight of 8st 3lbs and he represents last year’s winning stable of Sir Michael Stoute.
At Newmarket Latharnach (2.50) can make a winning reappearance for Charlie Appleby and William Buick; the selection won two of three starts as a juvenile and holds Group 1 entries at Royal Ascot over a mile and six furlongs next month. He is not likely to get the easy lead he did at Sandown on his last run back in September but he looks a Group horse to me and can take this en route to better things.
Long House Hall (2.20) makes his chase debut for Dan Skelton and is hard to oppose at Bangor such was the authority of his latest hurdle success at Cheltenham. A winning point-to-pointer in his native Ireland connections were considering putting him away for the autumn but have obviously had a change of heart.
At Uttoxeter Caspian Piper (8.00) may not have got home over an extended 3m 2f at Fontwell over Xmas when last seen having his first start for Tim Vaughan but he had bits of form over timber in Ireland, including on good ground, which suggests he could be very well treated.