As the second day of the Newmarket Cambridgeshire meeting gets under way there are three very interesting Group races which I turn my attention towards for today's racing tips.
With the weather forecast remaining dry I can see the ground being good, good to firm come post time of the first race on Friday. Over the Newmarket Rowley Mile course, horses must be genuine individuals who can see out their respective trips well.
1.40 Newmarket (7f – C1 Group 3)
The day begins with a filly’s Group 3 which includes a lot of unexposed 2 year-olds looking to stake a claim towards a successful career at the age of 3. Normally these sorts of events are better to watch and take notes for future reference rather than races to get involved with; however the presence of the magnificently well-bred Sir Michael Stoute representative RADIATOR has tempted me.
This daughter of Dubawi ran a solid race first time out, shaping as if the experience would bring her on no end. Infact, on her return to the track at Lingfield of 7f last time out she finished an impressive 15 length winner. What I liked most about that race wasn’t the distance she put between herself and the field but the mature attitude she showed. As soon as she left the stalls Ryan Moore pressed her to move on to the rails from her wide draw so he could control the race and ensure they went a good gallop. Other less useful fillies would have burnt off too much following such orders, however RADIATOR duly obliged and went on to settle well once Ryan had positioned her. From that point the result was inevitable, as her rivals came off their respective bridles; she simply sauntered along looking as if she was engaged in a piece of work at home. She was asked to stretch close to home and she moved clear with consummate ease and, had she been truly pressed, she could well have doubled her winning distance.
Of her rivals in this field, there are a couple who pose the biggest threat to my selection. Midnite Angel has acquitted herself well in Group company, finishing second to Ihtimal and fourth to Amazing Maria, both are very useful horses in their own right. However she is relatively exposed and seems to need to be ridden patiently and brought on late from the rear, a tactic which today could see her lose too much ground early on.
Olly Steven’s representative Lightning Thunder is unbeaten and will be stepping up to 7 furlongs for the first time. In her last appearance at Doncaster she refused to settle early on in the race and still showed signs of greenness so there could well be more to come. She has an entry in the Irish Guineas next year and is highly thought of by the trainer and connections.
Although RADIATOR has only won a Class 5 maiden to date it is difficult to oppose her here. She has an impeccable pedigree and could well progress into a Group 1 performer with ease. She will be suited by the ground, the demands of the Rowley Mile course and looks to be a good prospect.
2.40 Newmarket (8f – C1 Group 2)
Unfortunately this race is far trickier than the last and revolves around the two horses who will surely head the market – Soft Falling Rain and MONTIRIDGE.
Mike De Kock’s representative Soft Falling Rain contested his first run on turf after remaining unbeaten abroad. He finished second in the Group 2 Hungerford Stakes at Newbury to Gregorian over 7 furlongs after being sent off the 9/4 favourite. In that race his low head carriage and lack of race pace hindered his chances as he looked to need the run and that he would improve substantially for it. After the race his jockey Paul Hanagan said he would come on but he would be best suited by a track with a bend.
MONTIRIDGE on the other hand ran an absolute shocker last time out in a Group 3 at Haydock. He pulled early on, never settled and then hit a severe flat spot when asked a question by Richard Hughes. The ground came up good to soft on that day and although he has previously won on that surface he is certainly seen to best effect when the ground is good/good to firm. His form prior to that run looked very encouraging as he swept past his rivals in a Group 3 event at Goodwood after emphasising his versatility by leading from the front and comfortably beating a small field in a Listed event at the Newmarket July course the time before.
My confidence in my selection is by no means 100% as I truly respect the challenge of Soft Falling Rain and can see him running a typically good race. However I have a genuine soft spot for MONTIRIDGE and before his last run I would have had no problems following this horse to the grave. He is my favourite horse in training so instead of thinking with my wallet I’m more than happy to give him a second chance. The fact that he has only had 20 days to recover gives the impression that there was nothing physically wrong with him either during, or after, his last race and he simply ran below par. Richard Hannon is a shrewd trainer who doesn’t enter horses simply to make up the numbers; MONTIRIDGE must have shown them something at home to warrant his place in this line up. His Group 1 entry (alongside Soft Falling Rain) in the QEII, the fact that he receives 4lbs in weight due to his age and that he will much prefer the ground are further positives and I’m hoping that with a bit of luck and a return to his previous form he will reward my loyalty.
3.15 Newmarket (8f – C1 Group 1)
Finally we have a very moderate Group 1 where two horses stand out by a mile on what they have achieved so far. Godolphin will be looking to notch up 4 consecutive wins with the impressive May Hill winner Ihtimal whilst Clive Brittain will have his dancing shoes ready in the hope that RIZEENA can double up her Group 1 success after winning the Moyglare at the Curragh and give us a winning horse racing betting tip today.
Ihtimal has a very progressive profile and looked a horse out of the top draw when he beat his stalemate at Doncaster over 8 furlongs last time out. The last five winners of that race at Doncaster have gone on to win this Fillie’s Mile so the result has to be respected. This horse has a potent turn of foot and a strongly run 8 furlong race suits perfectly. However, on official ratings she does have 11lbs to find with the selection and may well struggle to improve to that extent.
RIZEENA clearly has the best form on offer in the race. Although she finished third beaten 1¾ lengths at Deauville by the Norfolk Stakes winner No Ney Never, that was over an inadequate trip of 6 furlongs and she looked much more suited to the stiff 7 furlongs at the Curragh last time out. There she won well beating two Group winners in the form of Tapestry and Kiyoshi and looked to have more in reserve. As a filly by Iffraaj hopefully the extra furlong will be to her advantage.
It is very difficult to separate Ihtimal and RIZEENA as both horses are genuine Group 1 fillies and both tend to sit a little off the pace and therefore need luck in running to win. However, when in doubt it is safer to side with the best form on offer as opposed to relying on potential. Although RIZEENA will undoubtedly head the market and be a relatively short priced favourite my aim is to pick winners and she has to be considered the most likely to succeed.
Racing Tips Today
1.40 Newmarket – RADIATOR (NAP): Evens with Sportingbet
2.40 Newmarket – MONTIRIDGE: 10/3 with William Hill
3.15 Newmarket – RIZEENA (NB): 15/8 with Bet Victor
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By Marc Valentine