We have learnt a little bit in regard to the first Classics of 2019 over the last couple of days at Newmarket with Qabala, tipped on here at 12-1, winning the Nell Gwyn and going straight to the head of the 1,000 Guineas market; she did look good. The Craven was won by Skardu and the colt is now around 6-1 for the 2,000 Guineas though I am not convinced he will be in the thick of it back here next month; it was a messy race with some too keen and others getting trapped in pockets and switching left, right and centre.
It is day three of the meeting at Newmarket on Thursday with what might prove some informative races if not ones to bet in; the Montaz Restaurant British EBF Novice Stakes at 3.00 especially worth watching I expect.
The 1m1f Group Three bet365 Earl Of Sefton Stakes at 4.10 is the main event. Godolphin and Charlie Appleby have thrown three darts at this in the shape of First Contact, First Nation and Vintager. Hamdam Al Maktoum has also chucked a couple at it. Elarqam has never quite got to the level expected but remains lightly raced at four and has had wind surgery so perhaps he will fulfil his potential this season but you can’t be backing him following his fourth in a G.3 at Salisbury when last seen in 2018. Mustashry has to give them all 5lb and looks up against it with that penalty. Of the Godolphin trio, First Contact drops into calmer waters having last been seen running third in the G.1 Jebel Hatta out in Dubai last month. William Buick rides the grey suggesting he is the main hope. I have the 5-1 early as a tentative pick in what might be a cracking little race.
I put up Mubtasim out in Dubai twice this year on his first runs for Godolphin and Charlie Appleby when he won on yard debut and followed that up with a solid second behind the re-opposing On The Warpath. Interesting that William Buick prefers Mubtasim this time and as I said previously he was brought under the Godolphin umbrella for a reason having shown some smart form for William Haggas, with three wins as a 2yo and was placed in Group and Listed level at three and four. He can win the Bet365 Handicap at 4.45 before taking the step back-up to Group class. Bet365 have gone up first at 9-2 - I will get the best I can when others chalk-up. Cenotaph has been winning over the winter but his Turf form reads 0-9 and he looks up against it to me even with Ryan Moore steering.