Neil Morrice gives us his best bets and tips for Saturday’s racing from Newbury, Newmarket, Uttoxeter and Doncaster.
Race 2 No2 CREATIVE FORCE
Trainer: Charlie Appleby – Jockey: James Doyle
CREATIVE FORCE displayed Group potential in taking out a brace of handicap wins for owners Godolphin, and now moves up the class ladder in this Listed race. The gelded son of Dubawi faces Royal Ascot scorer Tactical, but can outpoint that rival to complete an early season hat-trick.
Race 3 Al Rayyan Stakes (Group 3)
No1 AL AASY (Nap)
Trainer: William Haggas – Jockey: Jim Crowley
While all eyes will be on 2019 St Leger hero Logician, who in an interrupted year ran only twice last season, the one to be on is AL AASY, who brings solid course form to the table courtesy of his wide margin triumph in the John Porter Stakes last month. The Sea The Stars colt came home four and a half lengths clear of Without A Fight, to signal he could be destined for top honours.
Race 4 No4 BAY BRIDGE
Trainer: Sir Michael Stoute – Jockey: Ryan Moore
This three-year-old only handicap has thrown up Group horses in the past, and while BAY BRIDGE has a way to go before being afforded that billing, he certainly looked useful when powering home on seasonal reappearance at Newcastle in early April. The son of French Derby winner New Bay has progressed in his subsequent work and will not mind this switch to grass for a stable that has its horses in good order.
Race 5 Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes (Group 1)
No8 PALACE PIER
Trainer: John Gosden – Jockey: Frankie Dettori
PALACE PIER will go off very short for the richest race run at Newbury this year but is hard to oppose, granted the way he shrugged off ring-rustiness to score on his reappearance in the Bet365 Mile. Timeform’s current highest-rated Flat horse in training carded the St James’s Palace Stakes and Prix Jacques Le Marois amongst his triumphs last year and will be a sharper version than we saw at Sandown as he moves towards a tilt at Ascot’s Queen Anne Stakes. The Aidan O’Brien-trained Lope Y Fernandez looks likely to get into the shake-up after a convincing success at Leopardstown and may follow the favourite home, with Century Dream the pick of the outsiders.
Prediction: 1st PALACE PIER, 2nd Lope Y Fernandez, 3rd Century Dream
Race 6 No8 SEA EMPRESS
Trainer: William Haggas – Jockey: Tom Marquand
SEA EMPRESS could yet emerge as an Oaks candidate if impressing in this Listed race. She’s among six fillies that put one race unbeaten records on the line, but is the subject of glowing reports from Newmarket, having thrived since her eye taking success on the all-weather.
Race 2 No3 JOHN LEEPER (Nap)
Trainer: Ed Dunlop – Jockey: William Buick
Named after the trainer’s late father John Dunlop, JOHN LEEPER started to live up to his top billing with a clear cut delivery at Newcastle last month. The colt is by Frankel out of multiple Group race winner Snow Fairy, who Ed Dunlop trained with aplomb. The Nap is therefore a blue blood in the purest sense and can go onto much better things.
Race 4 No17 SMEATON’S LIGHT (Each Way)
Trainer: Jack Channon – Jockey: Nicola Currie
SMEATON’S LIGHT landed some good bets when reappearing at Thirsk, showing good natural gate speed and running as straight as a dye to the line. The Dragon Pulse gelding has crept into this sprint at the very base of the handicap and needs to be taken seriously in his follow-up attempt.
Race 5 No10 AMETIST
Trainer: William Haggas – Jockey: William Buick
AMETIST looked useful when trouncing his foes on comeback at Wetherby, and could have been let in lightly for his first handicap assignment. The Dutch Art gelding will not mind cut in the ground and looks a good bet to complete a fine hat-trick, having also delivered on his final start at two.
Race 1 No1 CASCOVA (Nap)
Trainer: Nicky Henderson – Jockey: Nico de Boinville
The best is yet to be seen of CASCOVA, who kept good company before impressively opening his account at Ascot in March and should prove a useful asset to his connections with further successes through the summer.
Race 2 No4 EURKASH (Each Way)
Trainer: Paul Webber – Jockey: Gavin Sheehan
Dominating in this big field will not be easy, but if EURKASH can get onto the lead he can make a good fist of ending a frustrating run of near-misses. Though no match for Diligent at Plumpton last time, that form has been boosted by the winner.
Race 1 No10 IMPELLER
Trainer: Tim Easterby – Jockey: Duran Fentiman
Easterby is doing well with his handicappers and in IMPELLER possess an unexposed individual that can graduate up the ladder. In first-time cheekpieces the selection sluiced home at Southwell, and now switched to soft turf can make it back-to-back successes.
Race 2 No3 KODA LEGEND (Nap)
Trainer: Ralph Beckett – Jockey: Hector Crouch
KODA LEGEND plays the experience card in this novice stakes, having chased home Canonized on his second start at Goodwood. He’s learning all the time and should know too much for his rivals.