Coral Blog: Newmarket news from our man at HQ
Every week our ‘man at HQ’ will be providing news, views and opinions from the Newmarket gallops and inside the stables themselves, as well as pinpointing the most fancied Newmarket-trained contenders in big races and highlighting dark horses to follow over the season.
The Guineas meeting has finally arrived in Newmarket. The hotels are full, the taxi drivers are rubbing their hands and the whole town is buzzing. I walked the track this morning and I haven’t seen such a good covering of grass on the course for years.
Thursday’s rain has definitely taken the sting out of the ground but just keep an eye on the drying conditions as Clerk of the course Michael Prosser could be forced to change the going description as the meeting progresses.
Whilst on the subject of the Rowley Mile, punters should note that this track in recent years has tended to suit front runners and horses that travel strongly just behind the pace.
With the ground drying out, it would be no surprise to see John Gosden pull Kingman out of the 2000 Guineas and opt for the French equivalent. I have always been a massive fan of Kingman and he looks to have progressed well since winning the Greenham.
Indeed he could well end up being Champion Miler. In fact, John Gosden’s three-year old brigade look to be the strongest he has had in years and the 6/1 that’s generally available for the big man to regain the Flat Trainer’s title is a huge price. Not only will Kingman help his cause throughout the season, but he has a serious chance of winning the Oaks with Taghrooda.
She has been working the house down of late and the 12/1 on offer is very generous. She takes her chance in the Pretty Polly on Sunday and will take all the beating.
Back to today’s racing and an each-way alternative to Kingman, the Guineas favourite, could be the William Haggas trained Ertijaal, currently a 33/1 chance. He hasn’t taken the conventional route of previous winners, but his shrewd connections decided to take advantage of the huge prize money on offer at Lingfield on All Weather Champions Day where he was duly crowned the Three-Year Old All Weather Champion.
I’ve been keeping a close eye on him since then and in my opinion those races have made a man of him. He will also relish the ground and I am convinced he will out-run his price.
Hors De Combat trained by James Fanshawe is a colt I’ve always liked. He blew up on his seasonal re-appearance at Newbury but ran well all the same. He is spot on now and will go very well in the 5.35pm, the last race on the Newmarket card this afternoon. The style in which he races will stand him in good stead on the Rowley Mile as he bounces out of the stalls and sits handy hard on the bridle which will counteract his trainer’s habitual tactics of having his horses held up way off the pace, giving them far too much to do.
Dark Horses To Follow:
Here are a couple of unraced 2 year olds to look out for in the next week or two.
Alasaal a colt by War Front trained by William Haggas
Melbourne Shuffle a filly by Street Cry trained by John Gosden