Day Three Craven Meeting Newmarket Thursday 20th April 2017

Day three arrives for the Craven Meeting 2017 and we have the race the meeting is named after to look forward to amongst a decent days racing at HQ.

The sprinters are on show for the Group Three Connaught Access Flooring Abernant Stakes over six at 3.00. Brando was running with credit in Group 1’s last season and should prove to have a bit too much for this line-up. The chestnut won on his seasonal reappearance at this meeting last term so the 187 days off isn’t a major concern and he should show these a clean pair of heels at 11-8. Ornate has moved stable and been gelded but never quite reached the standard he showed as a 2YO last season and is best watched for now; Tasleet, is not one to be trusted for me and even his own trainer William Haggas was saying yesterday "He probably wants seven furlongs and Brando will be hard to beat.”.

At 3.35 it is the Group Three Craven Stakes in which Group One Racing Post Trophy winner Rivet heads the field of seven. William Haggas shunned the more valuable Burradon Conditions Stakes at Newcastle last Friday in favour of a return to the Rowley Mile, where Rivet finished fifth in the Dewhurst last term. Martyn Meade's once-raced Frankel colt Eminent puts his Classic hopes on the line, while Richard Hannon runs Larchmont Lad, who was bought by Cheveley Park in the off-season. Saeed bin Suroor's impressive maiden winner Benbatl, Hugo Palmer's Gulliver and David Menuisier's Contrapposto also face the starter.

The one for me though is Aidan O'Brien trained War Decree. Not seen since winning the Group Two Vintage Stakes the form has been well and truly stamped by second that day Thunder Snow who went on to win the G.1 Criterium International at Chantilly last back end before excelling in Dubai winning the G.3 UAE 2000 Guineas  and G.2 UAE Derby. I don’t think this is the best three-year-old clot they have at Ballydoyle but he’s no slouch! Grab a bit of the 9-4.

Be lucky