NAP WINS BUT 28-1 SHOT WAS NATIONAL SECOND: What a day yesterday! Daqman’s two for the Kerry National, drifters to 15.5 (Hewick) and 39.0 (Recite A Prayer), were first and third coming to the last at Listowel but Hewick fell as he jumped into the lead, so the Prayer was left second at 28-1. Orbital Chime (4.1 taken) was gambled down to 2-1 favourite but was slow away. Royal Fleet, another gamble from 2.1, landed the nap at 8-11.

Wednesday: profit on the day 0.4pts
WON 8-11 ROYAL FLEET (nap, from 2.1 on BETDAQ)

Tuesday: profit on the day 5.20
WON 1-1 BELIEVE IN STARS (nap, from 2.21 on BETDAQ)

Monday: English racing abandoned.

Sunday: profit on the day 14.80
WON 17-2 IRIS DANCER (from 12.5 on BETDAQ)
WON 13-10 TUNNES (German St Leger)

Saturday: profit on the day 6.50
WON 9-4 ROYAL CHAMPION (BETDAQ 4.7; opposed 10-11 favourite)
WON 4-5 SAKHEER (Mill Reef Stakes; Fortune Cookie and nap; BETDAQ 2.26)

FORGET THE ROCKFEL AND THE ROYAL LODGE! The Newmarket Cambridgeshire meeting which opens today carries a red-flag warning for two of the quartet of famous two-year-old tests, the Rockfel and Royal Lodge Stakes tomorrow. Here are the trials to ignore and the ones to follow.


⭕ 3.00 Newmarket, Friday (Rockfel Stakes) First of a feast of two-year-old tests this weekend, this one a Group-2 of 7f which has fallen from grace.

The last six winners of the race, trained by such luminaries as Aidan O’Brien, John Gosden and Roger Varian have had a total of 28 starts since their day in the Rockfel limelight for a grand total of absolutely no winners at all. Not a one. In fact, only five placed!

* Roger Varian wants good-to-firm ground to remain for Eximious.

⭕ 1.50 Newmarket, Saturday (Royal Lodge Stakes) Roaring Lion made this event great again, winning in 2017 on his way to a fabulous three-year-old career of four Group-1 hits. But the race has been lodged in a rut again since.

Although Royal Patronage beat subsequent 2,000 Guineas winner, Coreobus, last season, he lost his next seven races (placed only in one of them).

In fact the four winners from 2018 to 2021 produced total overall returns of 3-28, hardly paying the entry fees for any one of them!

* Aidan O’Brien has four of the nine left in.


⭕ 2.25 Newmarket, Saturday (Cheveley Park Stakes) Alcohol Free and Tenebrism in the last two seasons have restored some of the faith in the Cheveley Park, which has gone to the Irish for the last six years, largely through Aidan O’Brien (5).

* O’Brien leaves in only Meditate, now 1lb behind Trillium after that one’s Flying Childers win for Richard Hannon.

⭕ 3.00 Newmarket, Saturday (Middle Park Stakes) Six winners in the last eight were drawn in the first four stalls, but with last year’s superstar Perfect Power the only one to come out of the one stall.

The last five winners have won nine top races since, with Clive Cox and Aidan O’Brien top recent trainers with two apiece.

* The ratings suggest a top-stable battle between Blackbeard (115) for Aidan O’Brien and Marshman (113) for Charlie Appleby.


⭕ 3.00 Newmarket (Tattersalls Stakes, Group 3) At face value a disappointing turnout for the only Group race on Thursday’s card but with the exception of Abravaggio (beaten 15 lengths on debut at Yarmouth) it does at least look competitive.

Sir Michael Stoute did us a favour earlier in the week with Believe In Stars landing the nap on Tuesday and the stable can also take this with the Sandown debut winner Nostrum.

The son of Kingman wasn’t particularly strong in the market ahead of his first run in July but quickened up nicely up the Sandown hill to beat the Charlie Appleby trained Golden Speech by three lengths. The runner-up has yet to run again since but the third horse Arrest came back to Sandown to beat Desert Order (another Appleby trained runner) in a titanic battle where the front two put plenty of distance between themselves and their rivals.

Sir Michael Stoute doesn’t have too many first time out two-year-old winners, so the hope must be that Nostrum, who should come on plenty in any event, is out of the top drawer.

There are two serious rivals in opposition though and the Betdaq Betting Exchange is struggling to work out the favourite between the trio.

Victory Dance was pitched into Group 2 level on just his second start and only went down by a head – beaten by Isaac Shelby. He then came out to win a Listed race at Newbury in good fashion and it will likely come down to his experience over Nostrum’s potential.

Holloway Boy caused one of the shocks of the season when winning the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot on debut at 40/1 and proved that was no fluke with his subsequent 1/2 length second to Marbaan in the Group 2 Vintage Stakes at Goodwood. The return to a flatter course should help but Karl Burke’s current strike rate of 3-42 is a slight concern.


⭕ 3.35 Newmarket (Rose Bowl Stakes, Listed) I wouldn’t be rushing into back Thunderous at around even money to land this. Whilst he is taking a big drop in class, I think it’s so far unproven as to whether he gets this trip. He was weakening inside the final furlong of a class 2 handicap at York last time out. After winning four of his first five races he hasn’t won in 11 starts since and not one to back at short odds for me.

Ranch Hand won this in 2020 but has been off the course for 467 days, his stablemate Nate The Great has been beaten National Hunt distances in his last three races – admittedly in much deeper waters.

Island Brave was tailed off in this race last year.

I’ll have a small interest in the complete outsider of the quintet. Skycutter wasn’t beaten far when eighth in a competitive class 2 at Haydock last time out but the jockey dropped his whip and was unable to ride a finish as he was injured. That form can be upgraded which just about brings him into this race which is full of question marks.


⭕ 6.45 Chelmsford The handicapper couldn’t do much more than rate Counterattack a lowly 54 but he looks the proverbial handicap project and it would come as no surprise to see him blow that mark to smithereens.

He showed at Leicester in July he has ability when finishing fourth to the odds-on Shamekh and shaped that day as if the step up in trip he gets tonight will help.

It’s a really weak race in the absence of Somedayonedaynever and against an exposed set of rivals he is the one that could turn the race on its head.


3.00 Newmarket (win 10)
BET 4.4pts win NOSTRUM

3.35 Newmarket (win 10)
BET 1.8pts win SKYCUTTER

6.45 Chelmsford (win 10, nap)

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