We have dipped in and out of the UK and Ireland for our racing interest so far this week but we are back at home on Thursday where the final day of the Craven Meeting forms the centre of our interest for the day.
The main race should be a good watch but we don’t think it is one for a bet, or at least nothing stands out to us in it. That isn’t the case for the lucky last though where we are going into battle two-handed.
The closing race of the 3 day Craven meeting sees 12 unexposed 3 year olds go to post for this Class 4 handicap over the straight mile. 10 of the 12 runners have finished 1st or 2nd on their most recent run so it’s about finding one that’s ahead of their mark. Balearic, from the Cole yard, is the favourite after winning a poor handicap at Newcastle 3 weeks ago. He’s up 8lbs for that &, after failing to trouble the judge on 3 other career starts, doesn’t appear the most obvious type to follow up. Cressford is a danger to all but his price is plenty short enough whilst Rogue Force has run 3 good races this year but his opening mark is a little excessive & he goes without a hood for the first time.
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I’m taking a couple against the field, the first of which is Bullace. He’s raced in a trio novices last term & improved from run to run, with form figures of 211. He dwelt on debut at Sandown but came through nicely to grab 2nd at juicy odds of 16/1, with only the odds winner being too good. He then switched to the all weather & won a pair of races from the front but it was his battling qualities that really appeal. Firstly he had a duel with Lovely Breeze all the way up the Chelmsford straight & prevailed by a neck, with a further 5+ lengths back to the 3rd before again making all under a penalty at Kempton. Being a son of Toronado, he’s likely to improve at 3 & the step up to a mile, whilst his front running style should suit here at Newmarket. Assuming he’s ready to go after 5 months, I’d expect him to be in the shake up.
The 2nd bet of ours is Spirit Of Bermuda who, like my other selection, is having her first race of the year & has seen the track just 3 times. However, her profile is quite different as, after winning her maiden, she was stepped up into Group company but disappointed although getting bumped coming out of the gate didn’t help. On her last start, she was moved up in trip to a mile & went down to a high class rival in Soft Whisper at Pontefract. She was just 1lb lower in the weights with the winner there but the selection is now rated 81 (dropped 1lbs for that defeat) whilst the winner is racing off 108 after winning 2 at Meydan including the UAE 1000 Guineas before running in both the Saudi & UAE Derby’s. On that basis alone, she’s hard to rule out here but add to that is her trainer’s only runner on the card, having saddled 3 winners on Day 2, that’s yet another plus. The jockey/trainer combo is 2 from 2 in the last 2 weeks & with so much in her favour, I’d be shocked if she wasn’t to trouble the judge here.
WON – Back Bullace (e/w) for a 0.75/10 stake at 9.50 Skybet BOG (⅕ odds 1-4)
PLACED – Back Spirit Of Bermuda (e/w) for a 0.75/10 stake at 11.00 Unibet BOG (⅕ odds 1-4)