They go at HQ Newmarket Tuesday for day one of the Bet365 Craven Meeting 2018 on the Rowley Mile and there is plenty to enjoy with some decent races, 2yo’s to watch and hopefully a 3yo setting out on his Classic season in winning style plus racecourse gallops for a couple of big names before racing so get down early. The going is good-soft overnight with a sunny day forecast so it should be perfect racing ground and weather.
Leading 2000 Guineas contender Elarqam will be one of the star names to gallop before racing. Elarqam won each of his two starts as a juvenile, including the Group Three Tattersalls Stakes at Newmarket in September, and is among the favourites for the first Classic of the season on 5th May. He will gallop over a mile under owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum's retained rider Jim Crowley in company with two companions at 12.50pm, just 10 minutes after John Gosden's top-class colt Cracksman struts his stuff in the hands of Frankie Dettori.
As for the actual bets on day one of the Craven Meeting, Charlie Appleby sends unraced three-year-old Aurum to make his debut in the first at 1.50 the Alex Scott Maiden Stakes. By Exceed and Excel the colt is a half-brother to 3 winners notably Amadeus Wolf who won the G.1Middle Park & G.2 Duke Of York during his racing career, dam Rachelle was an Italian 1m winner. I am prepared to take a chance on debut at a skinny looking 7-4 as he is bred to be pretty good and the Godolphin team tens to save their better maidens for here.
Appleby will also be saddling Symbolization for the British EBF bet365 Conditions Stakes at 3.35. the Cape Cross colt was second on debut here before getting off the mark as a two-year-old at the second time of asking in a ten runner minor event at Kempton over seven furlongs in September, a race in which the form is working out well – 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 10th all won since. There should be more to come this year and he is strongly fancied to get the better of Purser though he is also proper skinny at 4-5.
The three-year-old I am hoping puts in a big performance on his way to one of the Classics later in the season is of course my St Leger ante-post punt Kew Gardens from the Aidan ’O'Brien stable. He goes in the Listed 1m1f bet365 Feilden Stakes at 4.45. He signed off his 2yo campaign making all in the Listed Zetland Stakes here (10f) which was the performance that made me take a punt on the St Leger. I am hopeful he can pick up this prize, despite a penalty, before bigger pots later in the season. I have the 15-8. Charlie Appleby expects Stage Magic to put up a bold show. The Dark Angel colt was a Group Three winner in France last season when he defeated Olmedo, who was beaten just a short head in a Classic trial at Longchamp on Sunday.