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Newmarket preview: European Free Handicap (15:30)

| 15.04.2015

The hugely exciting Faydhan can cement his position towards the top of the ante post betting for the 2000 Guineas by landing the European Free Handicap at Newmarket today (15:30).

This colt is currently 4/1 second favourite with Coral for the classic, behind the Aidan O’Brien trained Gleneagles (3/1), and looked something out of the ordinary when winning his sole start as a juvenile at Haydock in spectacular fashion.

After being carried right at the start and running green in the first half of the 6f contest, the John Gosden trained son of War Front picked up in tremendous style to lead approaching the final furlong and storm clear to beat Dutch Connection by six lengths.

It was a breathtaking performance which oozed class, and the runner-up went on to land the Group 2 Acomb Stakes at York and finish a solid 2 1/2 length third to Gleneagles in the Group 1 National Stakes at the Curragh to give the form a solid look.

Faydhan suffered a setback after that success and missed the second half of the season.

However, he is reported to be in good shape by owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum’s racing manager Angus Gold and may not have to be at his best to land what looks a weak renewal of the Listed contest.

The step up to 7f should certainly suit judged on how Faydhan forged clear and showed no signs of stopping at Haydock, and it will be hugely disappointing if the long odds-on favourite doesn’t come through this test with flying colours.

Trainer Hugo Palmer enjoyed his first Group successes last year, courtesy of Aktabantay and New Providence, and his Home Of The Brave looks the most likely one to capitalise if Faydhan fails to live up to expectations.

The colt came good at the sceond time of asking as a juvenile when making all to easily beat Atletico by four lengths over 6f at this venue, and was the far from disgraced on his final start of 2014 when third to Burnt Sugar in a Group 2 contest at Kempton.

Home Of The Brave pulled far too hard fo his own good in the latter, and has reportedly done terrifically well and strengthened up significantly over the winter.

Connections are also now fitting him with the tongue-tie for the first time, and providing Home Of The Brave settles he looks sure to go well.



David Metcalf

A lifelong Manchester United supporter, David has over 25 years’ experience in the media industry having worked for regional and national newspapers. He is a huge horse racing, football and greyhound fan and has done interviews on various radio and TV stations, including talkSPORT and Sky Sports, whilst working as a PR front man for a betting firm. David has also written for most of the top Premier League football fan websites, and produced a Cheltenham Festival guide with former eight-times champion national hunt jockey Peter Scudamore, MBE, after helping him to set up a syndicate for his trainer son Michael.