The opening day of the two-day Craven meeting at Newmarket is the feature of a magnificent days racing with jumps fans also catered for with a wonderful card from Cheltenham to boot.
It is some time since the Free Handicap caused more than a ripple in the Guineas’ betting and I would be surprised if today’s winner proved a threat to Kingman, Australia and Toormore in the colts’ classic next month.
That said it is a good race in its own right and the hope is that Parbold (3.30) can give weight and a beating to his five rivals representing the same connections who landed the prize in 2013 with Garswood.
The selection finished 2nd to Aidan O’Brien’s impressive War Command in the Coventry at Royal Ascot before finishing third to Toormore in the Vintage Stakes and Astaire in the Gimcrack. His form is rock solid and at 9/2 with BetVictor he looks a bit too big.
Richard Hannon’s unbeaten Shifting Power is the 13/8 favourite and Ryan Moore takes over from the injured Richard Hughes for his reappearance; the yard have not made the best of starts to the turf season and their Night Of Thunder was readily dismissed by Kingman in the Greenham at the weekend.
If the stable have a Guineas winner in their ranks it is likely to be Toormore (runs Craven Stakes Thursday) and Parbold gets the vote.
It is a big day for Fahey as he also saddles Sandiva (4.05) in the Nell Gwyn and the 3/1 favourite can give the handler a quick double with Frankie Dettori in the plate.
The filly was below her best on soft ground at Longchamp on her final start as a juvenile, but she had some excellent form previously including when an impressive winner at Deauville back in August.
Everything that red-hot trainer John Gosden saddles is highly respected and Dorothy B is a must for the short-list although she will have to improve again to trouble the selection and the main danger is likely to come from the once-raced Godolphin filly Folk Melody an impressive winner of a Newmarket maiden on her sole start.
She is likely to get further in time but could be anything and she won’t be 40/1 with BetVictor for the 1000 Guineas if she maintains her unbeaten record this afternoon. The Fielden Stakes has an interesting once-raced Irish raider Obliterator as its 10/3 favourite but I favour Godolphin’s True Story (4.40) (5/1 BetVictor) who looked a colt of some potential when scoring on the July course back in July.
The yard had an impressive winner at Pontefract on Monday and the selection is taken to improve past some more exposed British trained rivals.
A great card at Cheltenham where the feature race can go to Buywise (3.50) who made mistakes at the Festival in one of the hot Novice Handicaps but ran an excellent race to finish fifth 2 lengths in front of Persian Snow who re-opposes on the same terms. No 7-y-old has won the race since 2005 (last five winners 8-y-olds) but the selection coped with the good ground at the Festival and if his jumping holds up he can get back to winning ways.
In the last I like the booking of Charlie Deutsche for Refer (5.30) who has been crying out for some decent ground; the selection is not the most fluent of jumpers but gets into the finale off a feather-weight. Figaro is one of a number of dangers but we should get a double-figure price about Refer who can reward each way support.
At Beverley I can pass on a good word for a BetVictor Racing Club horse Real Tigress who suggested this step back up to a mile would suit when fifth at Thirsk on Saturday. The trainer (Les Eyre) is very keen to get a win next to her name and, whilst the draw could have been kinder, she is considered well handicapped. David Allan who rides work on the mare is back on board and we will be very disappointed if she doesn’t go very close.
For all your racing odds check out BetVictor.com