Two early non runners mean we will have a field of eight going to post for the penultimate race of the day at Newmarket on Friday evening, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: Bought for a jaw-dropping 1,600,000gns as a yearling, FIRNAS will be all the better for his comeback run and can go a small way to repaying his huge price tag with a win in this. He won a maiden on his second and only start of 2016 and returned this season with a respectable ninth at Newmarket, far too keen early on to show his best. He will be all the better for the run and William Buick takes the ride so with conditions to suit, he can breeze past these on to potentially better things. Chief dangers look to be What About Carlo who is on the same mark as when he was third last time out and UAE Prince, who is yet to justify his tall reputation at home.
1 WHAT ABOUT CARLO – Smart horse on his day for Eve Johnson Houghton who came home strongly to grab third in a handicap at Epsom earlier this month after being hemmed in at a crucial stage. He remains on the same mark for this and the good to soft conditions are of no concern for him. Charles Bishop takes the ride and his claims are obvious in this company once again, so he has to be respected.
2 NOBLE GIFT – Running well on the all weather at Chelmsford the last twice for William Knight, winning on his penultimate start at that venue before a second last time out. Return to turf is of no concern but a mark of 99 does demand more from him and he’s yet to win off a mark as high as this. Jim Crowley takes the ride which is a positive but he’s likely to find at least a few of these too good.
3 UAE PRINCE – Two wins from five starts for Roger Varian and although he has a tall reputation at home, he needs more if he’s to be justifying it on the racecourse. He won a Class 3 Handicap at Ripon on his penultimate start before being outclassed in a Listed Race at Ascot in May, disappointing as the favourite. He’s now four pounds higher than his previous handicap win and is up in class, so improvement is needed under Silvestre De Sousa.
4 FIRNAS – Godolphin inmate for Charlie Appleby who broke his maiden at the second attempt over course and distance, though he has a long way to go to be justifying his 1,600,000gns price tag. He was far too keen on his return from over a year off on the July course on his latest start, but he should be all the better for the run and still has potential left in him. Conditions will suit and the in form William Buick takes the ride, so he can prove his class by winning this today.
5 AL NEKSH – Largely progressive for William Haggas and he made a very promising seasonal debut on his latest start at York in a competitive handicap. In that race he travelled well in similar conditions to finish second behind a runaway winner, losing little in defeat. He is only up one pound in the handicap and he stays this trip well, so he looks sure to run a good race for Al Shaqab Racing. Ryan Moore takes the ride which is another plus and he has a place chance.
6 STORM ROCK (NON RUNNER)
7 BANDITRY – Won five starts ago at Lingfield on the all weather and he had a near miss at Chelmsford on his latest start, coming home with a rattle but not quite able to mow down the eventual winner. He is up four pounds in the handicap now in a tougher race though, which makes this very tricky and more is needed off a career high mark. He looks vulnerable for Ian Williams and is best watched on this occasion.
8 ZZORO – Won on his penultimate start here over the 1m 2f trip but he failed to back that up off his new mark at Chelmsford when last seen, well beaten in fourth. Cheekpieces go on but he looks set for a struggle now upped in class despite the conditions being to suit. Martin Dwyer takes the ride and he has an outside each way chance if the headgear works, but a win would certainly be a surprise.
9 TOTAL STAR (NON RUNNER) – Has been running consistently well of late for Luca Cumani and although he was last of five on his latest start, he wasn’t beaten all that far and the form is working out beautifully. He is now two pounds lower and although he’s up in class, he remains lightly raced and he’s capable of better in time. Luke Morris takes the ride and he looks set to fight it out for the minor honours.
10 MONTICELLO – Second here last week for Mark Johnston when narrowly denied by Weekender and that form ties in with Total Star, indicating he’s slightly ahead of that rival. Nonetheless, that race was in better conditions and these softer conditions look set to catch him out with all his best efforts coming on good or better. Yard are in good form as is jockey Joe Fanning so he’s given a sporting chance, but others make far more appeal for win purposes.