Spring truly has sprung now, the Grand National has come and gone, and we really can concentrate on the Flat as this week we have the Craven Meeting at Newmarket, one of my favourite meetings of the year.
This three-day fixture was first staged in 1771 according to the people who know about these things and there is plenty to enjoy with Classic trials, several Pattern level races and a tricky handicap or two for good measure. The feature race is of course the Group Three bet365 Craven Stakes on the Wednesday for the Colts with the Group Three Nell Gwyn Stakes for the Fillies running on the Tuesday. My fancies for day one of the meeting follow.
Best bets for the horse racing at Newmarket
At 2.25 we have the Listed 7f bet365 European Free Handicap with just the five due to line-up. New Science has won for me before and has looked potentially decent but was turned over at odds-on in the Listed Jumeirah Classic out at Meydan back in February never really getting into the race and perhaps given a bit too much to do by James Doyle that day. He has some decent form in the book and a mark of 108, despite meaning he as top-weight here, might under estimate him. Charlie Appleby said this week “New Science has definitely come forward from his run in Dubai. If he brings the best of his two-year-old form to the table, it will make him very competitive.” He runs in this rather than a Conditions race on Thursday suggesting connections fancy his chances; get on at 13-8 overnight
Master Of The Seas can make it a quick double for the Charlie Appleby team in the 1m1f Group Three bet365 Earl Of Sefton Stakes straight after at 3.00. Beaten just a short head in the 2,000 Guineas last year he was then third behind Benbatl in the G.2 Joel Stakes before not settling and blowing his chance somewhat in the G.1 QEII at Ascot when last seen racing - he was of course at the Breeders Cup fir the G.1 Breeders' Cup Mile but after getting upset in the stalls had to be withdrawn. The snips were reached for over the winter (no surprise after some of his antics) and now as a four-year-old gelding he will be expected to win a few decent prizes. He can start with this and I have the 6-5 overnight. He goes particularly well here having won on debut for Charlie Appleby at the course as a two-year-old in 2020 (Also won the G.2 Superlative Stakes on the July Course) and he returned to start of his three-year-old season here winning the G.3 Craven Stakes before that narrow defeat in the 2,000 Guineas followed by the third in the G.2 Joel.
The race of the day at 3.35 is the Group Three 7f Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes with nine lining-up. This may not be the strongest renewal of the race truth be told with Cachet the jolly despite winning only once as a two-year-old in eight starts – that one win was on debut here over six in May. She mixed it with some of the best last season in fairness but lost out to Hello You in the G.2 Rockfel Stakes here in September. They met again in the G.1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies' Turf at Del Mar when that time Cachet was fourth and Hello You fifth. Hello You has a 3 lb penalty to shoulder here and that hurts her chances. Cachet looks the most likely to progress on breeding, sire Aclaim did, so she is the tentative pick at 2-1 overnight.