The opening race on the card at Newbury looks a very decent one based on the form of the horses that are contesting it. A couple of the big stables have a novice in here at the 2m5f distance and really you’re looking for who will jump around the best for horses at this embryonic stage of their career. Champagne Express will naturally attract a lot of support in the market and his 100% record (1 run only) in rules races has given him a stiff opening mark. There is every chance that he will be able to defy this mark and Barry Geraghty takes over from Gold Cup winning jockey Nico de Boinville so the stable clearly are impressed by that last run. For those reasons I am going to hope that a favourite can get the day off to a decent start.
Coologue is a horse that has run keenly on three starts before settling better the last day under front running tactics and finally getting his head in front. I am not sure whether these tactics will see his stamina just drift away here and in much better company.
Rebecca Curtis and AP team up for an interesting runner in Going for Broke and with 1 run 1 win in the bag it could be worth noting if proper money comes for this in the market. Naturally AP is over-bet and that causes those that watch the markets a bit of grief as he is sometimes turned over at unrealistic prices but this could be a horse for the notebooks.
Champagne Express (WIN)
Quite honestly there is some poor racing at Lingfield today and with the flat season approaching that is not really a surprise. The AW can be a tricky place to pick a winner yet there is one runner at 15:55 that could at least trouble the frame. Apache Storm has been running some big races recently and is tried again at the minimum trip after running a big race the last day under the same jockey. The horse has not won at this trip but Michael Appleby is a wily old operator and he wouldn’t have stuck the horse in here if he didn’t think it had an excellent chance.
Mignolino is getting weight from most of the market principles here and could be the biggest danger and that will be reflected in the betting. David Barron’s charge has run two very creditable races the last twice and this could be an opportunity to see that continue. The horse has run at a much higher level than this (handicap at York’s Ebor meeting) and bottomed out but could find too much for these and there is strict evidence that she acts on the Tapeta, yet the price is a touch too skinny.
Apache Storm (E/W)
We head back to Newbury for this class 2 handicap hurdle run over 2 miles and 1 furlong and what could be a trappy little race and therefore some value may be available. Minella Present comes here after being pulled up the last day in a race won by Unique de Cotte, who was placed in behind Call the Cops in the ‘Pertemps’. The horse also came 5th (admittedly out of 6) in a hot race at Cheltenham that was won by Parlour Games that also featured a few other festival runners. AP takes the ride here and the horse will like the ground having acted well on good, good to soft in the past.
There are many notable dangers to the selection and Gassin Golf could be the biggest one. The horse comes here on the back of some good runs (you could be tempted to put a line through his last race) and has hit the frame consistently. The jockey selection is somewhat off putting as Paddy Brennan has gone for another Tom George runner in the race and he is top weighted, but I still expect a big run.
Others that command respect are the course and distance winner Royal Guardsman and Parsnip Pete who will both appreciate the ground and any more cut will be certainly be the liking of Parsnip Pete. This could be a very good race.
Minella Present (E/W)