Three and four year olds hold sway historically in this race with William Haggas taking it last season with the well backed Mitraad though this year he has failed to find a suitable candidate for our betting tips to consider.
Starting off our preview of the race is our tip – Column. He was very well backed in a competitive race at Doncaster just over two months ago on his seasonal reappearance, but he made no real impression on the leaders and finished back in 5th as 3/1 favourite. The form from that race is working out impressively though – the winner is now rated 99 from 86, second 96 from 84 and third 82 from 79 – and he was far from disgraced giving them all considerable weight. He’s been dropped a pound for that performance and could yet be very well handicapped at an attractive price.
The betting market is dominated by Godolphin who hold the overnight favourite and second favourite Blair House and Clear Water. Both are rated 90, but the former is edging favouritism following a good run in a Class 3 race last time out where he finished runner up. Both will cope with the Good to Firm ground with no problems but neither looks exceptionally well handicapped on what they’ve shown so far. Of the two, Clear Water would narrowly get our preference on handicap debut following an easy win in a weaker race last time out with both the second and third running well on their next starts.
The Owen Burrows trained Fawaareq made it two on the bounce with a win over Cincuenta Pasos last time out which has seen him put up another five pounds but boasts form figures of 2211 from his last four starts. He was running on strongly over seven furlongs that day so maybe the extra distance will see him shrug off that rise in the weights, although he has typically preferred softer ground up until this point.
Looking at jockey bookings it is noticeable that Ryan Moore has been snapped up by Simon Crisford to ride Weld Al Emerat. Although a beaten favourite at Newbury on his return over this trip he was entitled to need the run after ten months off and seems sure to strip a lot fitter for it, and even with an extra pound today he looks attractively weighted on his best form behind Cilento last year, but he’s more exposed than some and can be very hit or miss.
The only jockey with a higher strike rate than Ryan Moore booked in this race, with a 28% win rate at Newmarket compared to 20%, is Mickael Barzalona who rides one of the double figure outsiders in Mediciman. Henry Candy’s horses traditionally have a good record here at Newmarket but his three year old is yet to get within 3 lengths of a winner and was beaten 5 lengths on handicap debut in a lower class off this same mark. The quicker ground over this trip may help and he could be find a place at a big price.