Steve Hughes previews Day One of the Newmarket July meeting with selections from two of the longer distance races on the card.
Once again we have a quandary as regards the weather. The day dawns with quick ground prevailing on Newmarket’s July course, but it seems inevitable that it will rain during the day – the question is will it be enough to alter the going considerably? In the circumstances I have selected two horses from the Richard Hannon yard that have proven form on different types of ground.
Newmarket 1.40: Windshear
After a series of fine runs in handicaps this spring, Windshear has more than earned his first crack at pattern company in Newmarket’s opening contest and on the evidence of his excellent performance at Royal Ascot he can improve again for another extra furlong here.
An impressive winner on his racecourse debut at Sandown in September, despite showing signs of inexperience, he was given the rest of the year off by the Hannon team, a sure sign given the yard loves their juvenile winners that this horse was being kept back for a busier campaign this term as one with a long term future.
He began this campaign off an attractive looking mark of 80 and sure enough he has proved a much better horse than that. Second to the highly useful Cloudscape on the Rowley Mile course over 10f in April, he ploughed through very soft conditions at Sandown just a week later to win by the best part of 5l. He gave subsequent Royal Ascot winner Cannock Chase a real fright when a close second in a valuable Newbury handicap next time and he relished the step up to 12f on much faster going at Royal Ascot himself when just outpaced by Elite Army. He should not mind what happens weather wise and in any case looks to have the pace and class to compete in class 1 company.
Newmarket 2.40: Pethers Moon
Although he proved no match for Telescope at Royal Ascot, Pethers Moon showed once more on that occasion that he is an each-way punter’s dream as he keeps finding a bit more improvement with every race, yet still finds himself at attractive odds as he climbs through the grades one by one. However he definitely belongs at this Group 2 level and can make his presence felt once more here.
A solid handicapper last season having landed a modest maiden on the All Weather in the spring, the only time he failed to make the frame was at Royal Ascot when he was so badly hampered that the run can be simply ignored from a form point of view. Otherwise he was a game winner over this trip at Glorious Goodwood and after a solid third on softer going at Doncaster’s St Leger meeting, he finished the year off in style with a listed success on Kempton’s Polytrack.
He has put in three admirable efforts in defeat so far in 2014. Second to subsequent Yorkshire Cup winner Gospel Choir on the Rowley Mile course, he was just outrun by Gatewood on softish ground at Ascot before running a solid third in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot. A notable aspect of this race is the lack of an obvious pacesetter, but it is a role that Pethers Moon has successfully adopted in the past and with form over further in the book it would be no surprise to see Richard Hughes try to steal first run this afternoon.
1pt win – Windshear – 1.40 Newmarket (3/1 general)
1pt each-way – Pethers Moon – 2.40 Newmarket (10/1 general)