There is plenty of horse racing this Friday with a number of the big-name tracks hosting meetings including an evening meeting over the obstacles up at Aintree. I am sticking to the Flat and the afternoon races and have fancies at three different meetings.
Best bets for the horse racing at Newbury
Charlie Appleby saddles Mysterious Night and Winter Crown in the Starlight Isla And Bella Maiden Stakes at 1.30. I would often back a Godolphin newcomer at Newbury but with two in the race it muddies the water somewhat and I have decided to watch rather than punt.
The first race I am betting in is the 2.40 the 7f Linda Murphy Novice Stakes. Juddmonte filly Whitebeam was third in a track and trip maiden last month which was a fair effort on debut taking into account just how green she was. She was slowly into stride and messing about quite a bit early but when the penny dropped, she moved quite nicely, the front pair had got away a bit by then and Richard Kingscote was far from tough on her at the finish when it was clear her chance had gone. Second from that race has won since giving the form a boost and the grey daughter of Caravaggio can get off the mark here with that experience under her belt. I have the 4-1 available Thursday.
At 3.15 we have the 1m2f Syder Foundation EBF Maiden Stakes. Falling Shadow ‘won’ at Wolverhampton in December on his second start but was disqualified for a prohibited substance later. The form of the race looks fair with the second and third both winning races since and you would expect the son of Invincible Spirit to have improved somewhat over the winter. He is fancied to get his first official victory in this and I have the 7-4 overnight. Zabeir was second here over a mile last month on his debut and is the obvious danger.
Best bets for the horse racing at Newmarket
There is one making debut for Charlie Appleby that caught the eye in the entries and he will run in the mile National Stud For Education Novice Stakes at 3.25; I really like to back Godolphin debutants at HQ it’s a system that has won me more than a few quid down the years. First Ruler is the colt in question and he is interesting being by Dubawi out of Zhukova a Group winning middle distance mare, including the G.1 Man O War Stakes, during her career with Dermot Weld. There are a host of big names on the pedigree page such as Dubai Millennium, Nightime and Galileo to name but three and much must be hoped for from him. Mighty Ulysses is jolly having won at two and he put in a fair effort when fifth in the Listed Blue Riband Trial at Epsom on three-year-old debut. That race was of course won by Appleby trained Nahanni so they have a line of form on the favourite and I find it interesting they appear happy to take the colt on with a newcomer. With the jockeys on these two both claiming 7lb the selection still has that weight allowance in his favour. I am on the well-bred newcomer at 7-2 overnight.
Best bet for day three of the York Dante Festival
For me day three of the York Dante Festival is a day not to get overly involved in as most of the races look very competitive and I can make a case for several in most. Stradivarius makes his reappearance in the Group Two Yorkshire Cup at 3.35 in what will be his final season before retirement. The eight-year-old is odds-on and if anywhere near his best should win.
The one bet I had planned for today from early in the week is Wild Crusade in the Paddy Power 'Fill Thi Boots' Handicap at 4.10 over 1m4f. I actually took 9-4 with Power on Wednesday evening. A late developer, he didn’t run until December of his two-year-old season, he has looked better the further he has gone and has two wins at Kempton to his credit this season at 1m4f. I think the colts current mark of 88 leaves plenty to work with, it should be remembered he is a full-brother to the top-class Group One winners Yibir and Wild Illusion. James Doyle rides with Buick at HQ. Obvious danger is stable mate New Comedy who made a winning debut in 1m3f novice stakes at Southwell in January despite greenness and followed that up at Haydock over a similar distance in April (tipped on here) following wind surgery. I almost backed the pair but think today Wild Crusade will have just too much for the Gelding.