No joy today – Jack Steel travelled well for a long time but managed only to finish 3rd in the end. He faded badly after jumping the last. He was quite a drifter in the betting (SP 10/1) before the off as well. I suspect he may need bit further and then it also depends bit on what the handicapper does next. But he’s clearly capable of winning a race. The other two selections didn’t go close at all!
2.50 Newbury: Greenham Stakes (Group 3)
This is a spectacular renewal of the Greenham Stakes! So many promising individuals unified in this one race – it’s simply got the be spectacular. Does that mean there should be a 6/4 favourite? Certainly not! There’s certainly plenty to like about Ivawood, but the price is madness in my mind.
Ivawood was a top class sprinter as a juvenile, a winner of two Group 2’s over six furlongs and an excellent runner-up in the Middle Park Stakes when probably unsuited by the soft ground. With quick conditions to suit here and the step up to 7f possible to work on pedigree, he has a big chance to go really close. But so can a couple of others here too. And as long as he hasn’t tried the trip, you can’t be sure if he can stay and even improve for it.
Personally I’m not the biggest fan of Estidhkaar. He is fine horse and had a good last season, but I expect him to fall short against some really good rivals. There is Belardo for example, the champion two-year old. He won the Dewhurst, though has to prove his class on much quicker ground now. Flaming Spear was a very impressive maiden winner, there is likely more to come from this lightly raced Lope De Vega son.
Aiden O’Brien throws in the Phoenix Stakes winner Dick Whittington. This form has been franked earlier this week by Craven Stakes winner Kool Kompany, who was half a lengths beaten in second by Dick Whittington at the Curragh last August. More is likely to come from this Rip Van Winkle colt, though he failed to get the 7f trip at his only try last year. Toocoolforschool and Muhaarar are both Group 2 winners but looked more home over sprint trips than over seven furlongs when tried last season.
The horse I do really fancy to have a big season is Fanaan. He is part of my Horses To Follow List and I have to admit I’m somewhat baffled by the huge price available. I expected him to be much shorter. Why? Because he was ultra impressive in two starts last year. On his debut he got easily off the mark under hands and heels, but even better was his performance in a Conditions Stakes race at Newmarket. Only three runners that day, but the runner-up is a fair individual in his own right as he’s 104 rated, as well as won subsequently – but was easily beaten by a devastating turn of foot from Fanaan.
The interesting part is that Fanaan, who is obviously very well bred, did all his racing with at least a bit of cut in the ground. However on pedigree he should actually be better on a sound surface. That says he’ll appreciate the quick ground at Newbury and the trip won’t be an issue at all. I believe his chances are underestimated here and he can have a big season.
Fanaan @ 11/1 William Hill – 5pts win