Hot on the heels of the Craven Meeting at Newmarket this week we have the Dubai Duty Free Spring Trials meeting at Newbury. Dubai Duty Free Spring Trials Saturday has three Group Three races on the card and is the day when we get to run an eye over potential Classic contenders with the trials for the fillies and the colts on the card plus the middle-distance older horses strutting their stuff in the other Black-type race. The going is Soft-good to soft in places with rain likely on the day.
Best bets for the horse racing at Newbury
We are straight into top drawer stuff with the 1m4f Group Three Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise Stakes at 1.30. Hurricane Lane was ultimately a disappointment last year being beaten in both his starts but reports suggest he is back to his best for 2023. Winner of the Irish Derby and St Leger in 2021 he also finished a close third in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and would be long odds-on for this had he shown any sort fo form last season. I am on at the 10-11 that was about on Friday afternoon that he can show the ability remains here before going for bigger targets later in the season. Charlie Appleby told the Godolphin website earlier this week “We are waiting for soft ground, or good to soft at best, for Hurricane Lane. He has been a grand horse for Godolphin, and we feel he should be able to pick up another major prize this year. With his programme, we are working back from the Arc, that’s our main aim. He revels in soft ground and there is a good chance he could get those conditions at Longchamp in October. You cannot fault the horse at home. He retains all his old zest and he looks great. We will know early in his five-year-old campaign whether or not the Arc is a realistic target.” Mojo Star chased him home in the St Leger of 2021 and can do so again here though that one will surely be aimed at staying races again this season having finished second in the Ascot Gold Cup last season.
The fillies are out at 2.05 for the 7f Group Three Dubai Duty Free Stakes. A wide-open renewal I could make a case for several in here so much so that I have decided to leave the race alone and take a watching brief.It is the turn of the colts at 2.40 for the Group Three 7f Watership Down Stud Too Darn Hot Greenham Stakes. Chaldean looked a talent last year and is a member of the Dirty Dozen for me in 2023. As I said earlier this year on the Dirty Dozen page he was brought along steadily by Andrew Balding the Juddmonte owned chestnut was fifth on debut over six-furlongs before winning a fair Novice Stakes on his second start at Newbury. He then won the G.3 Acomb, G.2 Champagne Stakes and the G.1 Dewhurst Stakes (all over seven furlongs) on his next three starts before being put away for the winter. All the connections including Juddmonte racing manager Barry Mahon, trainer Andrew Balding and Frankie Dettori have all described him as a 2,000 Guineas colt and it’s the obvious aim for the season; on pedigree I would suggest a mile will be perfect. He is also odds on, 8-11 I took Friday afternoon, but I can’t back against him. He won the G.2 Champagne Stakes on soft going last year and Indestructible franked that form and then some at HQ earlier this week.
I wouldn't blame you if you put these two in a double.
Best bet for the horse racing at NottinghamTucked away on the evening card at Nottingham Charlie Appleby sends one up to make debut in the 1m2f Castle Rock Harvest Pale Chase Maiden Stakes. Hidden Story is the unraced three-year-old in question and I will be sniffing about for a price in the morning. His sire is Dubawi needs little introduction but it's the Dam side that really interests me with this one. He is out of a Ballydoyle Listed winner Bound, who herself was by Galileo out of Remember When, a mare that never won on the track for Aidan O'Brien and the lads but has produced a fair few winners. Her Dam is Lagrion, a mare used a lot by Ballydoyle back in the day with some success as she is the Dam of Dylan Thomas amongst others. The female line is, in short, full of Ballydoyle middle-distance pedigree and it wouldn't surprise me at all if this one turns out above average. He cost Godolphin 550,000 Guineas as a yearling, was actually bred by Lordship Stud, and as he has already been gelded (suggesting he may have been a bit of a monkey) he needs to win races to pay back that investment now.