Spring is allegedly here which means that the leading racecourses in the country open their doors for some decent flat meetings and the next to do that is HQ as Newmarket stages its Craven meeting for three days beginning on Tuesday.
In fairness there have been better fields and cards at this meeting but while we wait for the restrictions to end we have to take what we are given. It might not be the best card but we’ve found a decent bet to get stuck into.
The first day of the 3-day Craven meeting isn’t really the best from a betting perspective but there is one race that interests me & that’s the 13 runner Class 2 handicap over 7 furlongs. If you look back at last year on the Rowley Mile when the stalls were positioned on the stands side, there’s 2 things you just cannot ignore. Firstly, front runners were massively favoured & secondly, grabbing the rail was one of the biggest biases seen on UK racecourses.
In this field is the horse that went off favourite for the Lincoln just over 2 weeks ago in Charlie Appleby’s Eastern World. He is a winner at this track so will handle the undulations but, unlike the view of others tipsters, I just don’t buy the theory that a mile found him out at Doncaster. He won his maiden over a mile last year as a 3 year old & his win earlier this campaign at Meydan was over a mile & a furlong. Furthermore, he disappointed on his only try over this trip. Admittedly, both poor runs have come at Town Moor so it may just be that course he dislikes. Positives to his chances are his high draw & prominent racing style.
Double Or Bubble was progressive as a 3 year old & is very lightly raced, winning her last 2 including her first run in a handicap, but I’m not sure her mark is that lenient. Eton College is dangerous to dismiss having won from an unpromising position at Musselburgh just over a week ago & he does have form of 211 over this trip on turf. However, he’s no certainty in much better company here & his price is a lot shorter than I expected. Beat The Bon is back in a handicap but has a lot of weight, Fleeting Prince has plenty to prove after an unsuccessful trip to Dubai whilst Repartee is a danger if building on his reappearance. I do think Repartee will win a good handicap this year but may be one for later on in the year.
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Despite the price, I strongly fancy the chances of lightly raced Riot. Hailing from a top yard, he looks the one horse in this field that could be well ahead of his mark. As a 2 year old, he finished 2nd three times on the spin, going down by no more than a head on any occasion. Forget the fact he was a close 2nd as he did go off favourite each time, it was the horses that beat him in the latter 2 races that underlines his claims. Laser Show is now rated 109 & Tammani 106, whilst my selection has a mark of just 91 here. He did get off the mark next time out on the all weather but ran no more than an average race on his only start last year when failing to settle.
Fitness will be assured, however, as he’s already run this year, finishing a close 3rd at Chelmsford 11 days ago behind the well handicapped Sky Commander where he got no sort of run when trying to get off the rail & was involved in a prolonged barging match which surely put paid to his chances. That will have put him spot on for this but then add the fact he’s a prominent type, has the favoured rail draw, hails from a yard that targets this meeting & is in form, I just cannot leave him unbacked despite the price being tighter than I’d normally take.
Back Riot (e/w) for a 1.5/10 stake at 5.50 Coral BOG (⅕ odds 1-4)