3.00pm Newmarket – Betfair Acca Edge Handicap Class Two – 1m 6f
A mile and three quarters on decent ground can actually turn in to a real stamina yet with the front runners inclined to go off far too quickly, and that may make life very interesting for both punters and jockeys come race time. Looking for an interesting contender to kick things off and Poyle Thomas (10/1) returns after a long lay off, but could still be of some interest. Trained by Ralph Beckett, he had been competing in this sort of class without success in September and October 2013 but was then dropped in class to win here and finish a short head second at Kempton – in July 2014 when he was last seen. We would have expected him to be put up in the weights for that run, even just a few pounds, but he gets in here of the exact same mark which ought to make him competitive at the least. His long lay off I obviously a major concern, and we would need to see him priced accordingly to make him as any kind of value here, but the stable are in reasonable form and he is not without an each way shout.
In a race full of intrigue and unknowns, Wolfcatcher (4/1) stands out having been trained by Andre Fabre in France before transferring to John Ferguson for a short hurdling career and is now with Charlie Appleby and Godolphin. That seems a pretty unusual route to us, and suggests Mr Ferguson thinks he has a bit more to offer on the flat after all, which is why we are taking a closer look. His French form is actually better than it looks at first glance, and includes a victory over Pilansberg who ran well in Group races afterwards, and off a rating of just 94 today he has to be of some interest and looks the value call in a really interesting renewal.
As mentioned elsewhere, David Simcock has his Newmarket string in fine fettle, and if he lets Desert Encounter (7/4) run here (he is also entered at York), then he has to be on our short list. Like many offspring of the great Halling he seems to be a late maturing sort, and has only had the five career starts, winning his maiden comfortably at Musselburgh by six lengths on his last run of 2015, and carrying on where he left off with a smooth victory at Doncaster at the end of April. Put up seven pounds for that win, it seems unlikely that will be enough to stop him, especially if he improves for his first race in over five months as we would expect him to. The extra quarter mile here is interesting and possibly even questionable, but he hasn’t been stopping over a mile and a half and if it brings improvement, he could be the one they all have to be wary of.
Poor Vive Ma Fille (6/1) is lumbered with top weight today but Mark Johnston is nobody’s fool and if he thinks she is up to the task, then we daren’t argue. They clearly think she is pretty decent as her last fie runs have been in Listed or even Group company so the drop back in to handicap class could well help her cause. She has been tried over two miles so stamina seems unlikely to be the issue, though she is no “good thing” with one career win (in a maiden) from ten starts and as things stand, she is not for us today.
Our last option will be Michael Appleby’s Resiliency (10/1) if only because his trainer can pull off the odd miracle now and then. He is yet to win since arriving from the David Wachman yard in Ireland, but he runs off his lowest weight for some time which is reduced still further by the five pound claim of jockey George Bucknell, and if there is a surprise, he could possibly be the one to provide it.
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