Race Time: 3.00pm Meeting: Newmarket
Full Race Name: Havana Gold Handicap (Class 2)
A six furlong cavalry charge in on the cards here and although the draw is of no real relevance in the wide open spaces of Newmarket, it may well be important to be drawn near the pace come race time, but with the draw unknown as I write, we have to bypass that aspect. Some decent sorts take part but as always they will also need the necessary rub of the green to get their nose in front where it matters, and we think there is every likelihood of a photo finish.
Dinkum Diamond (16/1) tops the weights today for trainer Henry Candy who is having a bit of a career revival in the past couple of seasons or so, and handles the impressive Limato – so he knows what a top quality sprinter looks like. Last time the seven year old ran in a handicap, he was a decent enough third to Demora at Ayr last June on soft going, but he has been slowly dropped a little while running in better quality events, and as four of his five career wins are on faster ground, conditions may well be even more in his favour today. If you are a clock follower then there is every chance you will be on Hillbilly Boy (22/1) who has run some respectable times that bring him in to the equation. His seven wins from twenty- six starts is not a bad record by any standards, let alone for a sprinter, and with Frankie Dettori booked to ride, all things are theoretically possible with the popular Italian looking as if he has got back his love of the game after a short spell when we weren’t convinced.
Blaine (14/1) is a talented son of Avonbridge who will win more races when they find the right ones for him, but he hasn’t scored off a rating as high as this (103), and may need to come down a pound or three to be that touch more competitive. That said, he ran well enough when fourth last time out at Musselburgh and will be race fit today, while the faster going should suit him more than the softer surface in Scotland.
Looking further down the weights we do like Boomerang Bob (16/1), a decent sort at his very best and undoubtedly well-weighted but only if he is back to his very best. Some pales in group races as a juvenile saw him rated as highly as 112 at his peak, though is most recent victory was in a Listed event at Windsor on good to firm going when rated 104. No wins and two places in his next eight runs have seen him drop down the weights to a mere 96 today which could be seen as extremely generous considering his overall abilities and he must be another tempter for all the each way thieves out there.
Meanwhile, punters who ignore the excellent Roger Charlton are usually poorer for their lack of foresight and as he is away and running quite early this year, we need to consider Huntsmans Close (12/1) nearer to the bottom of the weights. Having won a fast ground six furlong handicap from twenty-five rivals last time out at Ayr in the Silver Cup this race should hold no fears for the five year old and although he has been put up a massive seven pounds for that victory, meaning this would have to be a career best effort.