We start off our Channel Four preview with a listed contest for older horses over the twelve furlong trip. With only eight declared it is not the best for each way plays given the likely hood of one defecting given the forecast good to firm conditions. Telescope is the current odds on favourite and while he clearly is the class act in this race he is too short to recommend. Also his last run left me bitterly disappointed, he travelled well and kicked for home only to be caught by a 7/1 shot. While Sir Michaels horses nearly always improve for the run. I feel this will be another stepping stone for Royal Ascot and he is easily opposable. Gatewood is an interesting contender, twice a winner at this time of year in 2014 he must be considered a doubtful runner. Gosden who has been in sensational form this week has only ever raced this horse on good or soft ground and will need rain to come. The same applies to Windshear. Balty Boys has been improving and left a good impression after his last win. He may just find this company a little warmer than he is capable. The selection is Godolphins Elite Army, he has some factors against him in that he must overcome a long layoff. However he is the most unexposed in the field and won a warm Royal Ascot handicap last year. That day he had Windshear, Arab Dawn and Chester Cup winner Trip to Paris in behind. The son of Authorized is likely to improve for another winter and this will be his second run over this trip. In my opinion he will take all the beating.
Elite Army (E/W if 8+ runners)
We head to HQ next for the second half of Channel Four coverage and the first handicap of the day. Just shy off two miles, this race has been dominated by four and five year old stayers since 2008. On that line alone this field is withered down to five runners, all have a chance. Elidor and Made In Rio have big weight to carry, the latter has struggled with that recently. He is still well above his last winning mark and while the yard continue to shine he is vunerable. Elidor will handle the underfoot conditions, will be fit from Meydan and a run at Thirsk but like Made In Rio has a big weight to burden. Aramist was a good winner last time out but it wouldn’t fill you with confidence that Fallon has switched off him. Resiliency is an interesting contender for Mick Appleby, formerly trained in Ireland with David Wachman hasn’t shown too much in way of ability but is well bred and may improve on second run for the yard. He has an E/W squeak. The main selection is Norab who is a distance winner and finished fourth behind Trip To Paris last time at Ripon. That form has been well franked since and could be the biggest improver in the field.
Norab (WIN) Resiliency (E/W)
From middle/long distance races we switch back to sprint over six furlongs in this listed contest. Waady is the favourite for in form connections and won both handicap starts this year. He steps up in distance today and by the way he has won it should pose too many problems. The form off them two wins has been well franked and he should take some beating. This is a tough race and while there are many unexposed runners in the race, Waady may just improve again and is taken to continue that progress here. Growl, Ahlan Emarati, Baitha Alga all had tough two year old campaigns and while talented may just suffer to beat an improver here. Elysian Flyer catches the eye as the choice of Richard Hughes but it is hard to know what he has beaten with the yards runners mostly needing the run this year. Jungle Cat is probably the biggest danger to the selection, he had a very productive two year old campaign. While only winning once, he ran Ivawood, Muhaar and the Wow Signal very close on a couple of occasions. I can forgive his last run as the distance just seemed to get the better of him. He will have ideal conditions today and should go close.
Waady (WIN) Jungle Cat (E/W)
Another listed event, this time over seven furlongs. A select field come to try and take this valuable prize. Godolphin hold the key here with Latharnach. Winner of two of three to date he looks full of improvement and the likely short priced favourite looks sure to go close. I’m opposing however given the short price in an open looking contest. Richard Hannons two look worthy of there chance but both Richard Hughes and Pat Dobbs going to Newbury suggest to me they won’t be winning today.
The selection is Markaz. Fourth in a group three last time looks top class form and I’m surprised he is not favourite here. Dropped in class he should run his race with the step back to seven furlongs will be no problem.
Stepping back up in distance next and a open looking handicap over a mile and a quarter. Prince Abdullah has the first two in the market and jockey booking would suggest that Time Test is the main fancy. However it’s Disillusion and Andrea Atzeni who get the vote from the market and myself. Won narrowly on first start as a three year old and the handicapper has been generous. Headgear returns and you get the feeling that there is more to come.
Space Age needs respect with some group entries in line for this horse. Coming back from a long lay off he needs to prove he handles the ground. On breeding it would be suggested that this is right up his alley.
Based on this I want him on side also.
Azraff is an interesting contender with James Doyle booked. He has shown that he trained on with two seconds this season. One over this trip. He looks well worth a second shot at the distance and could be overpriced.
Space Age (E/W if 4/1 +)
Our final stop on Channel Four at Newmarket sees a sprint handicap as there feature.
William Haggas saddles the market leader, a runner up on his first run this term. Properus looks to have an excellent chance but like so many today he needs to show his liking for the ground with his only win to date coming in a Redcar maiden.
After the day Mark Johnston had yesterday Subversive needs consideration, however all his winning has been done on all weather and he has a bit too prove on turf.
Grandad’s World was disappointing last time out and the yard are going through a quiet spell by there standards.
Kevin Ryan has showed his string to be in fine fettle and has them ready first time out. Captain Colby looks to have an excellent chance of he has trained on and could be well treated on the pick of his form.
Captain Colby (WIN)
So the final race on terrestrial television today. The Lockinge. Hannon won this last year with Olympic Glory and has the favourite again today in last years 2000 Guineas winner Night of Thunder. He didn’t win another race again but was competing at the top lever and has a favourites chance.
I can’t remember a renewal of this race with seventeen declared runners. It shows how open the race is, so I have three each way shouts.
Custom Cut has too be right at the top off the shortlist. Winner of seven of his last eight starts, he just keeps improving and showier that again last time out. This will need more but you write him off at your peril as all he did was improve race on race.
Mooharib looks a massive improver. Third in the Lincoln when running as if he’d never seen a race track. He followed up nicely next time at Ascot and looks sure to run a big race again.
The final selection is a bit of a punt in Cable Bay for Charlie Hills. This horse was a big eyecatcher is a messy race at the curragh. He finished third but would have been a lot closer with clear run. He looks a big price at 33/1.
Off the remainder Integral has a chance getting the fillies allowance while Toormore and Captain Cat need to rediscover there best form.
Custom Cut (E/W)
Cable Bay (E/W)