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13:50 Newmarket The opening contest from HQ sees some lightly raced three year olds do battle in what looks a very competitive contest. With all nine runners making their seasonal reappearance there’s a huge question mark over fitness so the form of this race may have to be taken with a pinch of salt. Trainer Roger Varian has hit the ground running with a 36% strike rate in the past two weeks and as such Victory Angel looks to be the one to beat. He looks to be the one to beat but his last two races were in maidens where some of his rivals have competed at listed and group level so I wouldn’t get too carried away backing the current favourite. One of the horses that has competed in a higher grade is Castleacre. A fourth placed finish in a competitive listed race at Newbury last year reads like decent form. He struggled to settle in that race and ran on ground that didn’t seem ideal. He still finished the race strongly and a quicker pace, on firmer ground should play in to his hands. A decent price for the Hugo Palmer entry is worth taking for each way punters. Castleacre (E/W)

14:25 Newmarket According to the betting this is only a two horse race between Salateen and Tabarrak. That sort of stance is unfair on John Gosden’s Castle Harbour who holds a 100% strike rate including a course and distance success here at Newmarket. The downside however is the horses level of consistency and how he’ll handle this harder going. A decent horse but not as classy as the front two. If Tabarrak can put his lengthy layoff behind him and continue in the same vein that saw him win at Ascot last time he’ll be hard to beat however with fitness a question mark I’d rather side with David O’Meara’s course and distance winner. Newmarket plays into the hands of front runners such as Salateen and a return to a venue he’s been successful previously is another plus. He has the benefit of a recent run and should strip fitter than today’s rivals so hopefully another trip to the winners enclosure for Ryan Moore. Salateen (WIN)

14:40 Cheltenham As a punter it’s always good to try and find value in a race but sometimes you just have to concede to the fact that a favourite is the favourite for a reason. Paul Nicholls saddles Antartica De Thaix who is looking to make it four wins on the trot after racking up three consecutive victories. These past three wins have seen the seven year old win by a combined eighty lengths! The horse hasn’t beaten the very best in the chasing division but she’s not put a foot wrong and still won a listed chase in the process. The opposition looks a bit tougher but judged by her last efforts this race is well within her grasp. Of the rest Briery Belle looks to pose the biggest threat with a previous course success to her name. Course form at Cheltenham is a huge plus and the Henry Daly runner looks to give the favourite the most to think about. Antartica De Thaix (WIN)

15:00 Newmarket Sadly for this Group 3 contest there’s only six runners set to line up. Brando has the best form by far and deserves his slot as the market leader. Unfortunately the Kevin Ryan yard aren’t firing on all cylinders as of yet. In fairness I’m not sure the yard need to be banging in the winners in order for Brando to scoop the victory but at odds-on I have to look elsewhere. In hunt of an outsider worth backing I narrowed it down to Kassia and Windfast both who’ve won here at Newmarket before. Windfast is unbeaten over six furlongs and it seems he’s now found his optimum trip. He’s won on seasonal debut once before but equally has finished last and seventh in his other two seasonal openers. Equally Kassia’s reappearance also left a bit to be desired too. Of the two I’m swaying slightly more towards Windfast simply because Brian Meehan looks to be in better form and the horse seems revitalised as a six furlong sprinter. Not a race to play big in with just the two places on offer but a small bit of each way interest to go at. Windfast (E/W)

15:35 Newmarket The showpiece race of the day and once again a race with just two places on offer thanks to only having seven participants. Benbatl should have fitness on his side after winning his maiden earlier this month. Godolphin have to be respected here at their local course and he could pounce if some of the big players falter. Trainer Martyn Meade has the magic touch with horses here at Newmarket and for whatever reason has a great strike rate at today’s course. Eminent already has a course and distance win to his name and is another runner at a bigger price that could go well especially as the son of Frankel. Sadly due to the lower number of runners I can’t bring myself to tip either of the two aforementioned runners and instead go with the favourite. Ballydoyle seem to have hit the ground running and picked up a win here yesterday. War Decree has been supported in the betting and looks to have a touch of class. Rivet also deserves a tonne of respect but with five runs already to his name may have less room for improvement than some of the others. War Decree (WIN)


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