Day two dawns at HQ for the Craven Meeting 2017 and we have three Pattern class races to look forward to this afternoon.
First up is the Listed bet365 European Free Handicap at 2.25. It looked to me Sir Dancealot simply did not stay a mile in the Racing Post Trophy on his final start last year; he looked to be poised to make a challenge but the tank was empty. Dropping back to seven today very much in his favour and he has to be respected. Seven Heavens won a couple of races before messing about in the G.1 Dewhurst and if the hood that’s on today helps him settle he could play a part. The one that intrigues me most though is Aidan O'Brien's Whitecliffsofdover who should be open to plenty of improvement after only four starts. Fourth on debut he won a maiden at Naas before finishing second in the G.3 Somerville Stakes (Sir Dancealot third) and third in the G.1 Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Chantilly. The War Front colt comes here rather than Newbury at the weekend, tongue tie is on for first time, and at 9-2 with Paddy Power is the pick.
It’s the older generation at 3.00 for the 1m1f Group Three bet365 Earl Of Sefton Stakes. Godolphin appear to hold all the aces here with Charlie Appleby trained pair Folkswood and Viren's Army. Slight preference is for the colt Folkswood on the back of his G.1 second place in the Jebel Hatta out in Dubai. Talking in November last year Appleby said “very much the one we have in mind for the 3YO mile event, plan to have him rolling after Christmas”. 11-4 is available.
The three-year-old fillies take centre stage for the Group Three Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes at 3.35 over seven furlongs with Aidan O'Brien sending Roly Poly and Brave Anna across the Irish Sea bringing Group 1 form with them. You could flip a coin but for me Roly Poly is the pick, Winner of the G.2 Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes over six on the July Course last summer she was second in the G.2 Lowther Stakes at York before just being held by Brave Anna in the G.1 Cheveley Park here last back end. She gets a 3lb pull for that short-head defeat and I think the winner also get the breaks that day. I have the 9-2 with Power about her gaining revenge. Kazimiera went into my notebook when winning on debut and went well Listed heats after – she could improve at three whilst Andre Fabre-trained won on her sole start and could be anything.