Tag Archives: Craven Stakes

Thursday Selection – 14/04/2022

Third day of the Craven meeting. But my eyes are drawn to Bath for an eye-catching betting proposition. Though, I also want to take a look back at the Craven Stakes.

Native Trail was the main act on Wednesday at Newmarket. The way he won the Craven Stakes was impressive. Even though, one could also argue this was expected after what he had done as a juvenile.

Personally I think the performance was impressive for the simple fact that we have seen often enough in the past how these top-class 2-year-olds wouldn’t train on or simply lose their edge as the rest of the pack has caught up physically and mentally.

That sort of fate may still beckon for Native Trail later the year. For now he must be considered the prime candidate for the 2000 Guineas, though, and the betting market says as much. There’s no secret here.

However, the fact he ran out an easy victory yesterday, achieving a topspeed rating of 100 on his seasonal reappearance, is impressive in my eyes. He’s ran three times in a row to TS 100 now. That’s the sign of a quality colt. And I would be more than hopeful that he can improve on that if properly asked for full effort in the Guineas.

My eyes were naturally drawn to Claymore in the Craven. Having called him out as one of my 5 To Follow I was anxious whether the bubble would burst as early as his first run as a 3-year-old.

It didn’t. He finished a gallant runner-up. Clearly still green, raw and what Jane Chapple-Hyam called a “big baby” afterwards – who was also seriously unruly before the race – he’ll learn plenty from this experience. He’s not quite cracked topspeed 90 here, but improved on his debut 83 from last year. Surely there is more to come.

Chapple-Hyam mentioned the French Guineas as the likely target as opposed to the Newmarket classic.


4.20 Bath: Class 6 Handicap, 5.5f

As uncompetitive as this Bath opener looks, as much does experience tell us that these races can be pure carnage and tend to produce many hard-luck stories.

I still have to back favourite Fristel. He was one of my eye-catchers from last week and I feel this test over 5.5 furlongs will represent the ideal race for him. He finished much the strongest last Monday at Windsor on his turf debut while not getting a run until very late.

In this class and of his current mark I feel he is seriously well handicapped, particularly with another 3lb off the weight with apprentice Stefano Cherchi on board – which is his sole ride today.

This is Fristel’s 6th career start, only the third in Handicap company. He caught the eye as juvenile on the All-weather as well and as long as he gets a clear run, which is the main danger more than anything in this field, he will have a major shout.

Money is coming all morning so prices may vanish soon. any additional money is an obvious positive pointer to his chances.

10pts win – Fristel @ 7/2

Preview: Tattersalls Millions & Craven Stakes


Another successful day punting wise – Corbata won the Leopardstown Handicap as I had hoped he would. It was a bit of a surprise to see him going off the 9/4 second favourite, considering that I felt he was already too big at 15/8 last night. Anyway, BOG is a nice thing to have, indeed! Corbata travelled well throughout the race, though didn’t seem to find an awful lot off the bridle. But in the end the head was in front when it mattered. First winner for John Oxx this season btw…

Hakam didn’t quite enjoy the same fortune. He travelled much the best but had absolutely nowhere to go until very late. It’s fair to say he was the best horse in the race and would have won with a clear run. Well, that’s racing.


200,000 Tattersalls Millions 3-Y-O Trophy

This intriguing contest over 1m 2f looks wide open. As usual at this stage of the year it remains to be seen whether horses have trained on over the winter or not. Therefore I remain cautious about short priced three year olds on their seasonal reappearance.

Favourite Secret Belief certainly looked a top class colt in the making when landing the 500,000 Tattersalls Millions 2YO Trophy last season here at Newmarket. A subsequent disappointing effort in Group 1 company can be excused on the basis of the soft ground that day. On pedigree he looks to have the trip surely in his blood.

In fact she should actually improve for this stiffer test. The yard is in red hot form too – says Secret Belief should have a major chance to go very close if he has wintered well and is fit enough for his comeback run. I do like him, but 2/1 looks a skinny price nonetheless.

Lightly raced Rocky Rider won really well on the deep Chelmsford polytrack last month. Much more is required here though. He may well be up for it, but I can easily oppose him on the basis of his short price. Richard Hannon’s Azmaam kept on well in the 500,000 Tattersalls last season, but on pedigree he doesn’t look certain to stay the trip.

Cape Clear Island is very hard to fancy on what he has shown last season. He may improve for the step up in trip, but may well fall short of staying it either. O’Brien’s stable form isn’t exactly inspiring too.

I kind of like Mike De Kock’s Tannaaf. I’m pretty sure he can improve over the new trip. He was unlucky in his only run at Meydan earlier this year and remains on of the more interesting candidates in this race. He’s a fair price. Groor may be progress as well, 10f seems ideal on pedigree. But he had already nine career starts and others make simply much more appeal.

If there is one horse overpriced in my eyes then it must be the second Godolphin runner Greatest Journey. Trained by Saed Bin Suroor, this gelding has gradually improved over the winter on the All-Weather. The drop in trip to 7f was never to suit when he was the last time seen, though he wasn’t disgraced finishing third behind the subsequent 3yo AW Champion.

He has fitness on his side here I feel, but even more so looks likely to progress for this new trip. On pedigree he’s entitled to stay 10f and he has won comprehensively over 9f in the past. If he can transform his recent form to the turf I think he can be a big runner in this race.

Greatest Journey @ 9/1 Coral – 5pts win


4.05 Newmarket: Craven Stakes (Group 3)

There are a couple of potentially smart individuals in this seven runner line-up for the 2015 Craven Stakes, but two horses do really jump out here for me: Moheet and Hail The Hero. Both have been quite expensive as yearlings and logically both are bred to be really good horses. Pedigree isn’t all of course, but there is much more to them:

The Richard Hannon inmate Moheet is only a maiden winner to date. However the way he won on his debut last year at Salisbury couldn’t have been more impressive. The turn of foot he produced once Dettori pushed the button was instantaneous.

Yes, it was probably not the strongest of maidens, however this was visually as impressive as it gets. He looked special that day. One can only hope that he has wintered well and is fit for his seasonal reappearance. I believe he has the most potential in this field and is clearly the one to beat in my eyes.

As an interesting alternative I like to nominate Hail The Hero. He left Aiden O’Brien after a rather disappointing two year old campaign – even though a 2nd place to a subsequent close runner-up behind Gleneagles is not bad form at all. Though he didn’t quite progress as much as hoped, considering his huge 525k gns price tag.

On his seasonal reappearance at Doncaster last month he got finally off the mark. He travelled like a dream and put the race quite easily to bed. One would think that given his pedigree he’ll improve for the step to 1m. Now more mature, and with a recent run under his belt, I see no reason why he shouldn’t be capable of running really well. Mind you he is bred to be an absolute superstar and seems to get his game finally together.

Moheet @ 7/2 VC – 5pts win
Hail The Hero @ 22/1 – 5pts win