Steve Hughes looks ahead to a quality Friday card at Newmarket
Owner Jeff Smith’s famous purple colours have been carried by some great horses over the years such as Chief Singer and Persian Punch and can be seen to good effect at Newmarket on Friday with both my selections coming from the Smith team.
Newmarket 3.00: Dancing Star
The lone mare against seven opponents, Dancing Star can use her weight allowance to maximum effect.
Until recently we had not seen the 5yo beyond 6f, the distance over which she landed her biggest race, the Stewards Cup back in 2016. However her last two runs have come at this 7f trip and seen two of her career best performances.
She was an extremely unlucky second at Glorious Goodwood when continually being denied a clear run in the straight. She made no mistake at the Doncaster Leger meeting last time landing a Group 3 prize. You have to be able to stay well to win at that track and her combination of pace and stamina can work on this straight track too. There are plenty of veterans who might lack her speed here, whilst D’Bai is not straight forward and Mankib might prefer a bit more cut.
Newmarket 4.10: Rock Eagle
A surprisingly small field considering this is one of the most valuable 3yo handicaps in the calendar. This can go to Rock Eagle who should find improvement on his first attempt at 12f and a more galloping track.
He was an eyecatching fourth at Goodwood last time, despite seeming to fail to handle the undulations of that quirky track. He was doing all his best work in the closing stages once he found a level track, having been apparently struggling at halfway.
Prior to that he had won two Windsor novice contests where he appreciated the long finishing straight. All his runs have been at 10f to date, but the evidence suggests he will be better of a longer trip as he can take some coaxing at that shorter distance. The presence of the Aidan O’Brien trained Astronomer means he gets a nice low weight to carry today.
0.75pts each-way – Dancing Star – 3.00 Newmarket – 7/1 Bet365 (¼ odds first 3)
1pt win – Rock Eagle – 4.10 Newmarket – 7/2 general