Any racing at headquarters especially on the July course on a sunny afternoon is a wonderful experience and made even better when there is a wealth of top class racing to experience as we have over the next 3 days.
Starting with today’s card where a couple of group 2 races take centre stage with the first of these the Arqana July Stakes looking a real tricky race to call. Nothing really stands out in this and says “come and back me” and therefore in my opinion from a betting perspective it is for me a race to leave alone. If pushed however I would probably have a small punt on Eltezam whose 3rd in the Coventry looks a solid effort.
The other group 2 The Princess of Wales Arqana Racing Clubs Stakes sees the unbeaten Mahsoob put his 100% record on the line and although this is a step up in grade from his listed success at Ascot last time out that race was won a little easier than the winning margin suggests and I believe he holds every chance of making it 5 out of 5 here. His price however is a little bit on the skinny side for a horse jumping from listed to group 2 and for that reason I will probably not have a bet in the race unless I can get 3/1 about him which I think is very unlikely.
In the 2 maidens on the card there is not a lot to go on with plenty of newcomers on show from top stables who could be anything so I will be leaving these races well alone as I will the opener where I think Mr Singh is to short but is a race again where I can’t make my mind up what I fancy so in these instances I think it is wise not to bet rather bet for the sake of it.
This leaves 3 races to try to find something concrete that I like the look of and in the 3.45 the Unibet handicap Muntadab fits the bill. This lightly raced 3 year old has won his last two starts latterly over this trip at Sandown where the form is working out well with both the second and third in the race subsequently going on to win. He is from a top stable who commands plenty of respect and he is the type to improve with his racing. I am however wary of the Queen’s Awesome Power who will relish the step up in trip and whose reappearance also at Sandown was very encouraging but slight preference here is for Muntadab (who gets my top system rating) although I would like to see 4/1 about him which as I write this is not available (best price 7/2) but could be if Awesome Power is backed in which I expect him to be.
In the Sir Henry Cecil Estidhkaar heads the market and is the likely winner but I couldn’t get carried away with him at the price so I have looked elsewhere for a bit value here and Johnny Barnes at 10/1 certainly looks to be overpriced and will therefore have my each way support providing the declared 8 runners stand their ground.
In the first day finally Jan Van Hoof looks to be one to keep on the right side of. I was impressed with his seasonal reappearance at Pontefract recently where he won convincingly and although that was in lesser company than today he is lightly raced for a 4 year old and I hope that he finds the necessary improvement required to win this.
3.45 Newmarket – Muntadab 1 point win
5.30 Newmarket – Johnny Barnes 1 point each way
6.00 Newmarket – Jan Van Hoof 1 point win