Kate Tracey likes a course and distance winner to add to his tally at Newmarket
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Side with course and distance form in wide-open handicap
The first race to focus on is Newmarket’s My Odds Boost On Betfair Stakes which is a Heritage Handicap for 4yo+ over 6f at 13:50. . This is of course, a wide-open affair with 21 runners set to head to post. This provides the perfect opportunity therefore, for a nice priced selection which I’m hoping to get with Jumby.
This colt by New Bay has a solid and very likeable profile for this contest. Firstly, he’s a four-year-old with this race going to horses of that age in six of the past 11 renewals. He has an ideal rating on 106 which puts him bang there with the better calibre of horses in this handicap. He’s drawn in 12 where ideally, a high draw would be preferable, but he should still be able to track across to the stand side rail anyway.
Having one start in the season is another positive for this race. Jumby has had the sole outing in 2022 which came over this course and distance where he finished third of eight in the Group 3 Abernant Stakes.
Almost all variables appear to be in Jumby’s favour back at a course and distance he clearly does very well at. He won over this track and trip at around this time last year off a mark of 95- 11lb lower than he’s racing off here.
He was well supported on his reappearance last time out where he was beaten under three lengths into third behind Double Or Bubble and Garrus. Jumby showed signs early on of ring rustiness where he broke slowly and ended up in the rear but kept on well over the 6f trip and is certainly one who will appreciate a return to handicap company. William Buick is booked to ride and with the Eve Johnson Houghton horses continuing to run well, Jumby should have every chance.
Notre Belle Bete’s good form can continue
The following race at Newmarket is the Betfair Daily Rewards Suffolk Stakes which is another Heritage Handicap. This time the contest is for 3yo+ over 1m1f at 14:25. Once more, I have run the trends for this race and came down on the side of one horse in particular. That runner is the Andrew Balding trained, Notre Belle Bete who is a fair price at 8.515/2 to be siding with each-way with three places on offer.
This gelding by Zoffany has won three of his last four starts and returns to the turf here following a career best performance last time out when winning at Kempton. The concern for Notre Belle Bete is that the only time he’s been beaten in his last four starts was when returned to the turf. That penultimate start came in the Lincoln however, where he was far from disgraced in ninth.
He quickly bounced back from that lesser effort on a return to the all-weather when winning a Class 2 Handicap over 1m 12 days ago.
And he can be marked up for that performance also as he conceded first run
to the eventual second, King Zain who went down by a shorthead.
Notre Belle Bete did well in the circumstances to get up with the front two pulling over three lengths clear of the third.
He must carry a penalty for that success but is a horse who remains well handicapped if running up to the form of last time out. He has proven to be just as adept on turf in the past so is one to keep on side on a return to this discipline.
A big priced horse can reach frame in 2,000 Guineas
I couldn’t resist a play in the big one, the 2,000 Guineas at 15:40 where Native Trail bids to retain his unbeaten record and prove himself as the best out of a strong Guineas line-up. The three-year-old crop of 2022 looks a very good one and of course, Native Trail and stablemate and owner mate, Coroebus lead the way.
The thought of Charlie Appleby’s star colts kept many a flat fan warm throughout the winter. There was much debate following on from last season over which of the pair was better. Both horses are clearly highly talented but each has a very different running style.
Native Trail only does as much as he needs to in order to get the job done but he is economical with his running style as a result. The son of Oasis Dream hits a flat spot in his races before keeping on strongly to the line. He is a model professional where his consistency makes him a very popular horse to follow.
There has also been much debate over Native Trail’s handling of Newmarket where, despite being unbeaten from three starts at the track, many doubt his suitability for the test it provides. Of course, Newmarket is famously undulating where plenty of horses in the past have failed to handle the demands.
Native Trail is a horse who has changed his legs throughout his races at Newmarket when running into the dip. It was interesting therefore, to hear from Norman Williamson who sold Native Trail to Godolphin at the Craven Breeze-Up Sale, that he changes his legs to go quicker and not to balance himself.
Williamson recalled that when he rode him prior to his breeze-up sale that the horse would change his legs to accelerate. Therefore, there is further reason to expect him to bring his best form yet again to Newmarket.
Of course, Native Trail is going to be very difficult to beat and I certainly expect him to win the 2022 2000 Guineas. His talented yet more quirky stablemate, Coroebus has an awful lot of ability and will likely do next best of the rest. That’s provided he puts his best foot forwards which is no given for this son of Dubawi.
One of the talking horses of the season so far has been Luxembourg for all we have yet to see the Ballydoyle representative as a three-year-old. Aidan O’Brien has readied Guineas winners first time up more times than anyone so that is of little concern with this being Luxembourg’s reappearance.
The betting looks correct to have the three aforementioned horses listed in that order in the market. However, their prices reflect their chances accurately in my opinion, so I’ve tried hunting for a bigger priced horse in the pack to chance reaching the frame with an extra place on offer on the Betfair Sportsbook.
I’m hoping that is Eydon who runs for the very much in form Roger Varian stable. This three-year-old colt by Olden Times has had just three career starts so far. Each of those outings has come in the last four months with him making his debut in mid-December at Newcastle. He certainly didn’t begin his career in the conventional way for a 2000 Guineas candidate. However, he’s a horse who showed rapid progression on his turf debut last time out.
That latest outing came at Newmarket over 9f where he won the Listed Feilden Stakes by over 3 lengths. He beat the 107-rated Masekela home into second who was sent off as favourite. Eydon also won despite running against the pace bias.
It paid to be ridden prominently in that Newmarket contest yet still, Eydon was able to mount his challenge from last place before surging clear inside the final furlong. He proved himself over 9f last time out so with a good pace to aim at back in trip to 1m, he will have the stamina to see his race out.
He’s well drawn in 10 also where the Craven meeting told us that high draws were favoured. Native Trail has been gifted the box seat in 15 but Eydon has enough of a favour granted being birthed in 10.
Hopefully at a nice price of 19.018/1 Eydon is worth chancing each-way.