Even in taking only the Pattern races across just Friday, Saturday and Sunday, there has been simply too much to write about this week on our belated return to UK racing.
Look out for support for Lake Lucerne in the Oaks Trial, Oxted should go very well in the Abernant, Ghaiyyath can prove he is a class act in the Coronation Cup, Sangarius in entered on Friday and Sunday, Moss Gill has a big chance in the Palace House and Waldkonig should win the Newmarket Stakes before going on to the Derby.
Even with all of those scrubbed off, some simply because they are too short in the betting, we have a mammoth TEN tips to start the British flat season proper.
Friday 5th June 2020
3.15 Lingfield (Derby Trial Stakes – Listed Race) – ENGLISH KING
A number of these are of broadly similar ability on known evidence; Berkshire Rocco, Sound Of Cannons and Dark Heart all fall into that category, while it will be interesting to see how much King Carney improves.
The one who’s performance I thought was very taking last year at first glance, and has perhaps subsequently been underestimated, is that of English King at Newcastle.
Winning over 1m2f as a juvenile showed he has the stamina for this, but what was impressive is how the son of Camelot easily got himself into that race before clearing off close home. He may well win this and put himself into genuine contention for the Derby in four weeks’ time.
Saturday 6th June 2020
2.25 Newmarket (Dahlia Stakes – Group 2) – MAGIC LILY
The top three in the market are likely to dominate here; the Godolphin pair of Terrebellum and Magic Lily as well as Queen Power with the former two preferred.
In terms of breeding, it seems Terrebellum should be more comfortable on softer ground, something backed up by her form, while all of the best New Approach fillies (Magic Lily’s sire) have been stayers, adding more proof to the fact that Charlie Appleby’s runner can be much better over this mile-and-a-quarter trip.
Magic Lily is fit after a couple of wins in Dubai and could be a Group 1 mare this season with the Nassau surely in her sights. Despite the 3lbs she gives away, she should be good enough to score.
2.40 Newcastle (Sagaro Stakes – Group 3) – ROYAL LINE
This is a competitive rearranged Sagaro, one in which plenty have place chances. Mildenberger, Ispolini, Nayef Road and Prince Of Arran all look solid while Northumberland Plate winner Withhold has to be considered too.
Rainbow Dreamer, 5/5 on the all-weather, could step up but the one who has a real chance at some glory over staying distances is John Gosden’s Royal Line and he is the call at a fair price.
The Metropolitan Handicap, November Handicap and Group 3 September Stakes winner is getting better as he gets older and looks ready to peak now.
3.35 Newmarket (2000 Guineas – Group 1) – PINATUBO
This is a very competitive Guineas should Pinatubo not turn up, but to be frank nobody who truly cares about horse racing wants that to happen.
Given the bold noises made by various trainers other than Charlie Appleby, it may well be that Pinatubo is allowed to go off at a backable price come off time so keep in mind that, even if the unbeaten son of Shamardal runs a couple of pounds below his best from last season’s juvenile form, he still wins.
He likes faster ground, he handles Newmarket, he’s fresh, he’s the highest rated juvenile since Frankel and according to those within his stable he has grown and strengthened up over the winter. He could be one of the best ever.
In behind the pick is impressive Vertem Futurity winner Kameko who is on for a fine season, while Charlie Appleby’s Al Suhail is on trial for the Derby and could run a very big race.
Aidan O’Brien’s Arizona and Wichita are closely matched, while the quicker ground may be against Military March. Juan Elcano and Persuasion could outrun their prices but Kinross may have been overrated in truth, but anyway this is (hopefully) all about Pinatubo and it is hoped he wins, and wins well.
Sunday 7th June 2020
1.50 Newmarket (Buckhounds Stakes – Listed Race) – FIRST IN LINE
Yet another competitive race at the beginning of this delayed season, and a fine quality one too for a Listed race. A number are in with chances; Trueshan has been touted but may be better on softer ground, Dashing Willoughby is too big a price now that he’s been gelded, Communique is proven but may need the run and Ghostwatch is back after a long absence but may end up being the best of this bunch.
The one for today is most likely to be John Gosden’s First In Line. Like a few of these he stays more than this mile-and-a-half, handles this ground and the track and ended last season going the right way. He could be better than Listed class and will be ready to do the job first time.
2.05 Haydock (Pinnacle Stakes – Group 3) – FANNY LOGAN
This could go to yet another John Gosden horse in the shape of Fanny Logan, a four-year-old looking for her fifth win in 6.
Having finally come to herself she was labelled last year as a mile-and-a-quarter filly and/or one who needs softer ground, but I think neither is true. She simply needs a slight test, as proven by her admirable but ultimately under-par run at the Breeders’ Cup, and so this 1m3½f should be ideal now.
Old rival Manuela De Vega heads the resistance, while Vivionn and Shailene are both decent but could come up short.
2.40 Haydock (Brigadier Gerard Stakes – Group 3) – ELARQAM
At the time of writing the excellent Sangarius is entered in this race, however it is believed the Paradise Stakes at Newmarket on Friday is his actual target.
A few of these may well be of a similar ability now; improving Cambridgeshire winner Lord North, outstanding Winter Derby Trial scorer Bangkok and Dante Stakes winner and conqueror of Too Darn Hot, Telecaster.
Elarqam however, despite some problems, has always been seen as a top-class horse in the making and he went some way to proving it last season. A winner at Listed and Group 2 level, he ran a close and arguably unlucky third in a good renewal of the Group 1 International at York behind Japan and Crystal Ocean and could be on for a very big season at the top level.
3.00 Newmarket (Pretty Polly Stakes – Listed Race) – TIEMPO VUELA
Godolphin’s Alpen Rose and Roger Varian’s Queen Daenerys have solid form while it is almost impossible to know what is to come from Sir Michael Stoute’s Snow Shower or Charlie Appleby’s Endless Echoes.
John Gosden runs three; Moonlight In Paris who has most to prove along with Run Wild who we already know has a mark of 105, so it is interesting that their Tiempo Vuela is considered first choice.
A winner at Newcastle in good style, she was 5/1 and nowhere near as fancied as most Gosden runners at the track which tends to suggest she improved fast and has probably done so again. She could be a genuine Oaks contender.
3.15 Haydock (Spring Trophy Stakes – Listed Race) – SPACE BLUES
Charlie Appleby’s Space Blues went into another gear when dropped back in trip last spring and, had it not been for the stiff finish at Ascot, would have been a royal winner this time last year.
He went on to finish second and third in two Group 1’s, will love the race conditions here as a flatter and faster seven furlongs is ideal and could prove to be the best of them.
To add to the confidence, I get Mubtasim and D’bai pretty high up on the list here alongside Happy Power, so considering the first two named are stablemate’s of Space Blues but are very much second and third choice, it shows that the yard believe he is their best shout under James Doyle.
3.35 Newmarket (1000 Guineas – Group 1) – QUADRILATERAL
A fascinating renewal of the first fillies’ classic of the year, one that revolves around Quadrilateral almost as much as the 2000 Guineas does around Pinatubo.
Frankly, she should win and may or may not go on to contest the Oaks, with only her far side draw being a potential disadvantage.
Roger Charlton’s filly was always coming straight to this race and so has not been disadvantaged by the lack of a prep run unlike some in the race, and given the level she reached on only her third start when taking the Fillies’ Mile here she has arguably already run well enough to win a Guineas. The track and trip are perfect and there are few excuses.
Aidan O’Brien’s Love is the best in opposition but has already been beaten by Quadrilateral and should not reverse the placings, while Summer Romance could be a danger for Charlie Appleby. Of the Cheveley Park form I reckon Raffle Prize will see this out better than winner Millisle but really, it should be Frankel quickly adding another classic to his list after last year’s successes for Anapurna and Logician.