Race Time: 2.50pm Meeting: Newbury Distance: 1m 2f 6yds
Full Race Name: Dubai Duty Free Handicap Class Two
An interesting little contest for the guaranteed £75,000 in prize money sees the Neil Mulholland trained Marshgate Lane (50/1) all set to carry top weight despite not being seen on the flat since April 2014, when he was tenth of twelve to Grandeur at Lingfield in the Coral Easter Classic. Rated 104 that day, he finished one place behind Tinshu (and he was rated 84 when last seen in action), and one in front of Party Royal (rated 74), so how the handicapper has left him on 104 is totally beyond our comprehension, and much as we love his earlier form (wins at Wolverhampton and Lingfield), we cannot have him here at these weights. In 2007 Luca Cumani took this race with Monte Alto, a feat he repeated in 2008 with Presvis and again in 2010 with Forte Dei Marmi, and as no other trainer has even doubled up, his runners here need a second look. This year it looks as though he will be relying on the three year old Laurence (7/1), who looks to follow up his recent win at Beverly under a five-pound penalty here. He did catch the eye that day when quickening up in the style of a decent animal under the excellent Danny Tudhope, and seems sure to run a big race for a handler who knows exactly what is needed to be successful in this very race. One horse we have been waiting to reappear is the Amanda Perrett trained Burano (25/1), now a six year old and with the excellent Kieren Shoemark taking a very useful five pounds off his back. He has proved many a time that he handles or even prefers plenty of cut in the ground as seems likely here, and has won in the past off this mark or higher so we are not asking him to produce any miracles. A course and distance winner here in October last year, he has been running well recently without success but seems to like big field handicaps more than most, and is very much on the each way radar as we await up to date prices to make our final decision.
Looking for two others was never going to be easy in such a competitive renewal, but as Sir Michael Stoute seems determined to get a big handicap win out of Top Tug (7/1), he will be one of the two we have left to add. Four races so far this season have seen four defeats, most of which have seen the son of Halling well backed by his no doubt frustrated supporters as they have messed about looking for his ideal trip with runs over nine, ten, and twelve furlongs (twice). At the risk of treading on toes, he has been beaten by the likes of Notarised, Mount Logan, and most recently Memorial Day, but as we cant see anything of that caliber declared for this renewal, he may well do a lot better today. He has own a couple of races, one at Kempton over a mile in August 2013, and more recently over a mile and a quarter at Newmarket in May 2014, and we fully expect some serious market support in a race where we feel he has excellent each way chances. Lastly, it seems only fair to include at least one more three year old in our list as they have own four of the last ten renewals, and we suggest Faithful Creek (22/1) as a bit of an outsider with chances. Trained by our good friend Brian Meehan and likely to be ridden by Jimmy Fortune, this would be his first ever run in a handicap after recent efforts in Group and Listed company without success, and although he only has the one win to his name after an Epsom maiden victory last season, he is dropping considerably in class and if he is ignored by other punters, he could yet be an each way option for those who like a bet at the bigger prices.