Steve Hughes has selections from two races on the second day of Newmarket’s July meeting.
After a frustrating day of near misses on Thursday, we hope for a bit better for the second day on the July Course. The highlight of the day is the Falmouth Stakes, but the rain that fell yesterday has thrown some uncertainty over who will actually turn up in the contest. Therefore I am looking elsewhere and have chosen two of the handicaps on the card.
Newmarket 3.15: Gamesome & Charles Molson
One of the more valuable 3yo only sprints of the season, we have the usual competitive line up and a preponderance of early pace to ensure a true gallop. Both my selections can travel well through their races and I expect them to come on strong when they come to the finishing hill.
Gamesome in particular should revel in this type of contest. Trainer Olly Stevens has found his niche at this level having initially pitched him into listed class on his seasonal return. The very fast ground at Newmarket that day would not have helped this soft ground maiden winner either, but he looks better suited by the strong end to end gallop you inevitably get with this big field. Fourth in a similar contest at York last month, he caught the eye when cruising into contention at Windsor against older horses last time before getting caught by Fairway To Heaven late on. Jamie Spencer excels in this sort of contest in judging the right pace to race at, and given luck in running, expect to see him delivered even later today. The rain on Thursday will have done his cause no harm either.
Charles Molson looks a more than interesting alternative. A maiden winner on soft ground at Bath last autumn, he made a promising reappearance on similar going at Sandown in April over 5f, staying on nicely in the closing stages. Fifth in a similar grade on the Rowley Mile course in May, he looked ill at ease on very firm ground that day and could never quite get into contention at York last time. He is another for whom the rain yesterday will have helped and I think the stiffer finish on the July Course will play to his strengths too.
Newmarket 5.00: Johnno
There are plenty of unexposed young types taking part in this finale over a mile, but it is one of the older brigade in Johnno that could take some catching.
Somewhat inconsistent when trained by John Hills, he nevertheless won three times for him, including on his last start for the yard at Lingfield last October when achieving a fairly rare feat in making all on the All Weather track there. Those tactics have been adopted more regularly since joining David Nicholls in the winter and that option is paying real dividends with two wins and a place from his last three races.
Both wins have come on Carlisle’s stiff mile where he has seen out the trip there without a problem, so this track and its stiff climb in the final furlong should hold no fears for him. His win in the ultra competitive Carlisle Bell last time was a great effort given the big field and he could conceivably get a much easier time from the front in this smaller field. Arguably he ran just as well in between those two wins when coming third from a hopeless stall 16 at Chester, so there looks to be more to come from his new mark of 88, just 4lbs higher than his career high mark to date. Having won on good-to-soft ground before, the rain should not have caused too much of a negative for him, but the fact is conditions may be drying out nicely by the time of the last race which will suit him better.
1pt each-way – Gamesome – 3.15 Newmarket (12/1 BetVictor)
1pt win – Charles Molson – 3.15 Newmarket (15/2 Paddy Power)
1pt win – Johnno – 5.00 Newmarket (5/1 general)