It is the second day of the Craven Meeting on Wednesday and after three winners from three selections to get our flat season betting underway we are going with three more bets from the live races on ITV4. We should get some pointers for the upcoming classics so this should be a decent afternoon of racing.
The first race is a decent looking 6 furlong handicap for 3 year olds. The favourite is the Charlie Hills trained Breath Of Air, ridden for the first time by Ryan Moore and it took some persuading to pass over him. He beat Greenham winner Mohaather last term and signed off his 3 race 2 year old campaign with a 3rd in a Doncaster listed race. He’s yet to face fast ground and should improve for it but the one slight concern is that he was only 8th of 10 when sent off at 13/2 on his debut so question marks over whether he may need the run. At just 2/1, we’ll be looking elsewhere.
The one to catch our eye is another lightly raced horse, running for the first time in a handicap, in Top Breeze. He’s had just the 3 runs, all on the all weather winning 2 of those. Those wins were his debut when he trotted up by 3 lengths over this trip and then last time out over 5 furlongs proving he has speed as well as stamina. His breeding suggests as such too. His only defeat came when long odds on but the horse who won that day by just under 2 lengths is Deep Intrigue who has since won 2 of 4 subsequent runs as well as finishing 2nd in a Listed race. Deep Intrigue is now rated 97 and yet our selection races off just 86 so he could prove to be leniently handicapped.
Good to firm ground should suit, there are no doubts over his readiness first time up and the only slight concern is whether he chooses to get into a battle for the lead, especially when there’s plenty of pace on. If he’s allowed to run his own race, he’s expected to outrun his odds.
WON – Back Top Breeze (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 10.00 Paddy Power BOG (⅕ odds 1-4)
The 1 mile Wood Ditton featuring a set of unraced 3 year olds sees many big reputations and even bigger price tags on the line.
With no form to go on, it’s a race to watch rather than bet in but the 2 at bigger odds for interest would be Kung Fu (De Sousa/Crisford combination has an impressive strike rate) and Geomatrician (stable started the season in excellent form and looks the part on breeding).
The 6 furlong Group 3 Abernant Stakes has attracted a field of 8 runners with the hot favourite being 7 year old Brando who is bidding to win this race for the 3rd year in succession.
However, Yafta is taken as the one to prevent that from happening. He’s now a 4 year old and his family improve with age, as underlined by his RPR which has improved on each of his 11 career starts bar his last run where he disappointed.
Previous to that, and ignoring his debut, he’s recorded 4 wins and 5 seconds in 9 starts including a win in the Group 3 Hackwood Stakes last term, He’s also 1 win and 1 second for 2 runs over course and distances and 4 wins, 3 seconds from 7 runs over 6 furlongs.
He is joint 2nd-best on ratings in this field and, admittedly, that’s 6lbs behind Brando but from a family that improves with age, he should come into his own now he’s a 4 year old and is fancied to be the one to halt the Brando bandwagon.
PLACED AT 7/1 – Back Yafta (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 7.50 Bet365 BOG (1/5 1-3)
The 2000 Guineas over a mile is the Craven Stakes and this is a proper trial. The 2 market leaders for this are Royal Marine who is 10/1 for next months first classic 10/1 and Zakouski, 7/1 for the big one.
Royal Marine won a Group 1 in France last backend but has something to prove after disappointing on the dirt in Meydan over the winter whilst Zakouski has only been seen once, winning a Kempton novice event in November. The concern here is that the runner up hasn’t exactly franked the form.
In contrast to that is once raced Skardu, who won here last autumn at odds of 33/1 over 7 furlongs. He stayed on impressively that day so the extra furlong is likely to be well within reach. The 2nd horse that day hasn’t raced since but the 3rd and 4th both won on their next starts. The front 4 were separated by 4 lengths that day but the other 10 in the field were over 13 lengths behind the winner so he certainly had his rivals strung out that day.
He looked a bit coltish that day and even pulled a bit during the race so massive improvement is expected. Quick ground suits and all things considered, he looks a superb each way bet to nothing.
WON – Back Skardu (e/w) for a 1.5/10 stake at 6.00 Boylesports BOG (⅕ odds 1-3)
Back it here: