1.50pm Newmarket Tips & Betting Preview 20/04/2017

With only three runs under his belt, perhaps Victory Angel can take another leap forward on his handicap debut for Roger Varian. He has been steadily improving since a poor debut at Yarmouth in June, finishing third at Doncaster in October before gaining a well deserved win at the same venue back down to six furlongs, despite being reluctant before the race. It was an encouraging effort on only his third start and he may well improve markedly this season. Silvestre De Sousa is booked to ride and conditions are suitable so he really looks the one to be on this afternoon and will carry our money accordingly.

Although a no-show in the Rockingham Stakes at York, Rich And Famous got worked up beforehand and should not be discounted on that basis. Before that he had been a very encouraging second in a competitive Goodwood maiden and improved on that performance to take a comprehensive victory here back in August. He got himself badly worked up when flopping in that listed race at York in October. However, he has been gelded since and we may well have not seen the best of him yet for Mark Johnston. He is entitled to get involved if at his best after a break and has to be respected under William Buick.

Hugo Palmer’s Castleacre looked very promising last season for Saeed Manana and could well be a lively danger on handicap debut under James Doyle. She was a comfortable winner on debut at Newcastle when fancied, quickening clear in good style and she was far from disgraced when fourth in a listed race at Newbury in October, pulling far too hard in the early stages. She should perform better on handicap debut and much more can be expected this season from the filly who also has a pedigree that suggests that she can improve significantly when upped in trip. She did, however, show enough speed in those first two runs to suggest that she can get involved, so she should not be ignored.

Hilario is another who improved nicely throughout last season and handicaps should be perfect for him based on his performance in a progressive three runs last year. Although not showing much on debut for Charlie Hills, he ran on with purpose when gunning down Dubai One in the final strides at Kempton in September, showing a good attitude to the job at hand. He finished his season when fifth in a listed race at Doncaster; he was keen early on which all but ended his chance towards the finish. It was still an effort full of promise though and he should be able to do some damage off a mark of 94 on handicap debut, with Ryan Moore an eye catching jockey booking. He has to be considered dangerous bearing in mind how progressive he was last season and is respected.

He does need to take a step forward, but his ability was abundant in his two runs last season and Akhlaaq could make a better three-year-old for Owen Burrows. He made the best possible start to his track career when quickening up smartly under hands and heels to take victory at Salisbury, winning by a neck, but you could have named the distance. He was slightly disappointing when only managing fourth at Doncaster in September, looking one paced after being keen early on in the hands of Paul Hanagan. A 400,000gns purchase for Hamdan Al Maktoum, certainly much better can be expected this year as he has a lovely sprinting pedigree and will be in the hands of Jim Crowley for this run. He should go close off 90 on handicap debut and is another to consider.

A useful performer on his day last season for the Burke yard, Medici Banchiere is another who needs to be brought into the equation on the best of his form. Second on debut at York in May, he was odds-on at Carlisle on his second start and duly obliged with a ten length thrashing of his rivals under hands and heels. He was always facing a tough task in the July Stakes here, but did himself no disservice when finishing fifth, staying on steadily but all too late. He was again far from disgraced in the Gimcrack Stakes at York in August, with his only poor effort of the season coming when well beaten at Redcar in October. He makes his handicap debut off a mark of 99 and he perhaps will find this easier than his previous assignments, with conditions to suit and Clifford Lee taking the ride. He is very interesting and should have his part to play if he performs well after a winter break.

Please Gamble Responsibly