3.15pm Newmarket Tips & Betting Preview 20/05/2017

A competitive sprint for three year olds only, a race that has been won twice in the last six years by trainer Roger Charlton. It’s a fair jump up from winning a Class 4 maiden on firm ground at Bath to running in a Saturday Class 2 handicap, but such was the impression that Esprit De Corps made at the South West track, it would be folly to think that he isn’t capable of bridging the gap. He was entitled to win that race as he liked following on from a second to the well regarded Chessman at Kempton. A half brother to the smart Compton Park, who was rated 97 in his pomp, he has taken a step forward of about ten pounds each time he has run. Excellent apprentice David Egan is booked to take seven pounds off his back and a big showing is likely, if coping with the softer ground.

Richard Hannon was mob handed in the race at the five day declaration stage, but he has narrowed it down to just the top weight, Eqtiraan who will be partnered by Champion jockey, Jim Crowley. He was runner up in a similar course and distance handicap earlier in the month, looking all over the winner as they exited the dip. He was unable to hang on there but the powerful way he travelled on that occasion gives hope that a big field and strong pace will see him land a sizeable pot this season. He beat the Racing Post Trophy winner, Rivet, on his debut so there is plenty of ability to go to war with.

Hamdan Al Maktoum will also be represented by the Brian Meehan trained Ekhtiyaar who was runner up at Doncaster on his 2017 return. That Doncaster race was stolen from the front but he showed a likeable attitude to keep chasing the winner down all the way to the line. His half sister, New Providence, was a dual Group 3 winner over this trip so it’s likely that we are yet to see the best of this horse. Her wins however all came on a sounder surface than the one he will encounter here so the ground is a slight question mark against his chance.

Holmeswood was put in the notebook recently at Doncaster behind Ekhtiyaar, making up plenty of ground from the back of the field. His dam was third in the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot so he has a pedigree that suggests he is more than capable of taking higher rank in sprinting than his current mark of 85. The Doncaster run was on good to firm and being by Mayson, the rain that has fallen might see him in a better light especially as his dam was placed in the Group 2 Flying Childers on soft when she was a juvenile. Better off at the weights for a three quarter of a length beating and more likely to appreciate the underfoot conditions, he gets the nod to score for Michael Dods, fitted with first time cheek pieces.

Connections of Nautical Haven can consider themselves unlucky after their charge produced a career best when winning at Chelmsford last time out. The race was declared void by the stewards after the flagman mistakenly raised his flag after the start that signals a recall of the runners. He has been put up two pounds for that display in February, looking a far more powerful horse than he had as a juvenile. He has a few nibbles of form on soft last year so it will be interesting to see how he moves in the market.

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