Friday 19 May 2023

Friday 19th & Saturday 20th May 2023: Games Time at Newbury

It’s a busy one this week, cracking straight on with Newmarket and York.

Friday 19th May 2023

2.15 Newmarket (Maiden Stakes) – HIDDEN STORY

There are plenty of three-year-olds at this meeting and at Newbury with potential for the season, but the way Hidden Story ran on debut was pretty eye-catching and it would be a surprise if the Dubawi/Galileo cross didn’t go close. James Doyle rides.

2.25 York (Oaks Farm Stables Fillies’ Stakes – Listed Race) – SILVER LADY

There are a few fillies here with plenty of potential; Queen For You, Fakhama and Silver Lady being chief among them.

Arguably, Queen For You’s debut performance was a tad better than Silver Lady’s, but it was the manner in which she won that stands out and given how green she was that day you’d have to say there’s more improvement to come from her than the others.

2.50 Newmarket (Handicap) – HONITON

Gosden/Godolphin runner Honiton was disappointing on his return to action, but the ground was horrific and the turnout can be excused.

Based on his form from last season and his obvious potential, he may be particularly well handicapped now, more so certainly than Howth, Qaasid, Dual Identity and the rest. James Doyle is up top again.

3.35 York (Yorkshire Cup – Group 2) – SISKANY

After Stradivarius, this feels like a new era. The Cup division is a densely populated and competitive one this year, with this race offering the first real clues as to who the real players are.

St Leger winner Eldar Eldarov is classy and tough, but he carries a penalty here and his trainer has already stated that he will come on for the run and will be ripe for the Ascot Gold Cup.

Quickthorn is solid and goes very well here, while Broome improved for going up in trip in Dubai and got the better of Siskany there, only just.

He too now carries a penalty which Siskany does not, while going back down to 1¾ miles is also in the Godolphin runner’s favour. There is clearly some improvement to come, too. William Buick is on board.

4.10 York (Novice Stakes) – ZIRYAB

A most interesting novice race over a mile. New Business went off 5/4 for the Wood Ditton, though owner’s representative Bruce Raymond was very honest in saying it was guesswork and that he may simply have looked more forward than the others.

He was beaten home that day by Kathab who has potential and Jim Crowley has elected to ride him instead of Mostabshir. True, the Gosden runner carries a 6lb penalty, but his debut last year was better than Kathab’s and it wouldn’t surprise me if the second Shadwell colours got home first.

It may well be another Gosden runner who scores though. Ziryab was green and hung across the course when well fancied on debut but stayed on well to run fourth. He is a full brother to King Leonidas who had a similar profile and he looks more than capable of getting to the required level at a nice price.

Saturday 20th May 2020

3.00 Newbury (London Gold Cup – Handicap) – BOLD ACT

The form of the London Gold Cup, a 1¼-mile handicap, is always important. A future Group horse is often what’s required to win this race and, while it’s better to have such a horse further down the handicap, topweight Bold Act may be the one this time.

After a promising debut last July, Bold Act won four in a row. At Chelmsford he beat future Group 3 winner Brave Emperor and was then favourite for the race won by Canberra Legend. He has since been gelded and can reach a mark of around 110 now.

Desert Hero has been excellent on soft ground so may find this a little quick, while Exoplanet and Bertinelli are obvious dangers too.

3.15 Newmarket (Handicap) – CHANGING COLOURS

Charlie Appleby must feel like he has a pretty good handle on this race. His Striking Star is likely to go off favourite and his form is pretty good. Adam Kirby is the right man to have on board, too.

The first colours are in fact on Changing Colours and at a price, it’s the other Dubawi son I fancy most. He was a strong favourite for a race here last month but he lost his position then and, over six furlongs, didn’t have time to improve.

Now he’s fully ready, this seven-furlong trip can bring out the best in him and top apprentice Harry Davies takes off a valuable 3lbs. Chartwell House and Havana Blue are best of the rest.  

3.35 Newbury (Lockinge Stakes – Group 1) – MODERN GAMES

Mutasaabeq is finally reaching his potential, he’s overpriced and he may be pretty hard to peg back from the front.

On the downside for Charlie Hills’ runner, he has won weaker races from the front end and will no doubt be chased up a little in Group 1 company. If something is to catch him and sweep by, the most likely runner is Modern Games who has been there, seen and done it well.

A multiple Group 1 winner around the world, Modern Games was disappointing in the States last time but at least he’s had a run and he should be at his best on Saturday.

My Prospero is excellent but may be better at ten furlongs, Laurel is a lovely filly who will win at this level at some point while Jadoomi and Light Infantry are also capable.

4.10 Newbury (Handicap) – UNFORGOTTEN

Once a very serious Lincoln Handicap contender, Unforgotten is chanced to continue his overall improvement after a below-par run last time out.

I fancied Kingdom Come last time when he was a non-runner and if he takes to the turf he can go well, as can last-time-out winner Outbreak.

4.45 Newbury (Fillies’ Trial Stakes – Listed Race) – QUEEN OF FAIRIES

After Lingfield and York we still have one more chance for the fillies to stake their Oaks claim. Lmay and Inner Space have work to do, while Warm Heart and Crack Of Light also need to improve.

Bluestocking is well thought of and is a danger, but Queen Of Fairies is impressive and can put her soft ground disappointment at Newmarket well behind her under William Buick.

12.01 Pimlico (Preakness Stakes – Grade 1) – FIRST MISSION

Kentucky Derby winner Mage takes up his engagement here, a win putting him ever so close to being the next Triple Crown star.

He may be vulnerable to Godolphin’s First Mission though. He was striking in his Grade 3 Lexington Stakes win over a mile and who has been primed for this after not qualifying for Kentucky. Blazing Sevens and National Treasure were also considered.

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