Race Time: 3.20pm Meeting: Newmarket Distance: 1m 4f
Full Race Name: winner.co.uk Handicap Class Two
Our last handicap of the day looks like just about the most difficult to solve at first glance, but add sufficient work and effort and we won’t be far away from finding the winner. As if to make life that little bit more difficult there are plenty declared who arrive at the track in great form, but with only one course and distance winner we may as well start there. Peter Chapple-Hyam is a decent trainer and pretty good company as well to be fair, and in Farquhar (11/1) he has a potential weapon for the 2015 season. Once again the handicapper has not seen fit to be remotely fair on the four year old who he put up eight pounds for a win at Newmarket, but only put him down a miserly pound for two well-beaten runs since. When last seen he was sixth of seven in a Listed race at Ascot (beaten over eight lengths), and with no visible excuses. Prior to that he failed to handle the heavy going at Doncaster when beaten a ridiculous 93 lengths by Open Eagle which we can ignore, implying that if he gets his ground (Good or Good to Soft seems ideal), then he may well bounce back to his best and end the race with more behind him than in front. Of the recent winners, Luca Cumani could go looking for another big weekend pot with Penhill (2/1), the winner of his only race this season when just holding off New Year’s Night by a short head at Ascot after heavy market support (sent off the 13/8 favourite). There is a school of thought that he needed the race more than they thought that day and was seen breathing heavily in the Winners’ Enclosure, in which case he may improve enough to shrug off his seven pound weight rise and we await his return to action with interest.
Majeed (7/1) can hardly be simply ignored for our friend David Simcock after two wins out of two already this season, though they were both on the polytrack so we have to take his ability to handle the turf on trust. He likes to sit out the back and come with a late run to hit the front inside the final furlong if at all possible, so is particularly tricky to get a handle on, but doesn’t seem too harshly rated off a mark of 90, all be that eight pounds higher than when we last saw him in action. Others to consider, certainly for place only or each way punters, have to include Elhaame (9/1) who must be half decent for Godolphin to keep him in training at the age of five – well, that’s the theory. It looks likely that he will get the good to firm ground that seems to suit the son of Acclamation so well, yet he has never won over this mile and a half trip despite four attempts, which has to be a serious concern. Add a rating of 96 which seems a little high based on his known abilities, and the fact that this will be his first run since last September ands we feel a good run is a possibility – but not a winning one! Watersmeet (8/) is the one that rounds this race off for us as Mark Johnston looks to see him back in the winner’s circle for the fourth time this season. No surprise to add that the first three were on the polytrack, though his fourth place at Newmarket on the turf was good enough to suggest we cannot blame the surface, though we are pretty convinced a rating of 95 is at least three pounds too high, though a place is certainly up for grabs in a wide open renewal this year.