Magnolia Stakes Tips & Betting Preview

A classy contest over this mile and a quarter looks in prospect in a race that has gone to the favourite or joint favourite in the last five years in a row now to the bookmaker’s horror no doubt! John Gosden has won three of the last ten runnings as has William Haggas, while the now retired Clive Brittain was responsible for another two, so a bit of an exclusive club. With the Haggas yard sadly unrepresented we cannot go down that route but John Gosden had a couple in here headed according to the betting by Linguistic (10/3) who will carry the Godolphin colours once again.  He looks as if he will need to improve to take hand here and is officially weighted a bit short of the other major players, but is only four and is rumoured to be working well on the Newmarket gallops. Lightly raced with just the six starts, the son of Lope De Vega has only won a maiden so far over this trip at Newmarket in the Tattersalls Millions but has run well since in better races with two runners up spots and a four and a half length eighth of nine to Across The Stars in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot last June. Not seen since, he clearly failed to get home over the mile and a half that day and ought to be better suited by the drop back in trip this afternoon and with the stable hitting a very useful 22% strike rate in the past fortnight he looks the value call this afternoon.

Absolute Blast (7/2) arrives here fit and fancied and in decent enough form after wins already this year at Wolverhampton over one mile one and a half furlongs and then here at Kempton over the mile. She then finished second to Carolinae back at Wolverhampton before changing yards and moving to Archie Watson in Lambourn from Iain Jardine after changing ownership. One run since saw a career best half length third at Lingfield in the Group Three Winter Derby when caught close home by Convey and Pinxolo in a photo finish. Her rating has gone up to a new high of 105, yet she gets weight from her male counterparts and if she keeps in improving as seems possible she could well have a big say in the final result here.

Godolphin are clicking in to top gear nice and early this season and Charlie Appleby’s Viren’s Army (5/1) arrives here on the back of a win last time out at Meydan in Dubai after which his trainer said “We fancied Viren’s Army first time to run a big race but he didn’t see the trip out (a mile and a half), that’s why we dropped to 2000m. He didn’t travel as well as I expected him to, that’s why I applied headgear….. Viren’s Army has obviously got a bit of an engine….” suggesting he has plenty of talent when everything goes his way, and in a small field today he seems unlikely to get crowned out which seems sure to see him run his race again this afternoon.

Sticking with horses who won last time out for now and Sovereign Debt (6/1)  picked up his eleventh career victory on his first run for Ruth Carr having left the now retired David “Dandy” Nicholls. Now an eight-year-oild, his earnings passed the half a million pounds mark in Doha when seeing off Aidan O’Brien’s Cougar Mountain by half a length over the mile and proving there is life in the old dog yet. As that was his first run since December he may well strip a little fitter now and as he has already won three races at Listed level and one at Group Three, if he can hold his form he is not without a decent chance of adding another victory to his CV this afternoon with Andrew Mullen in the saddle.

Last but not least and Mark Johnston’s Fire Fighting (5/1) is appropriately named and loves a battle given half a chance. Well exposed with a huge sixty-five career starts and eleven victories over distances varying from seven furlongs to a mile and a half, and on surfaces from Good to Soft to Firm and to Standard (on the all-weather), though is race record of one win from nine starts here is not his best. He can front run if needed and may well do so here to try and burn off any speedier rivals, while the yard are hitting at 20% which is pretty respectable for this time of year. Although he can run well fresh he has the benefit of a recent run at Dundalk when runner up to Elbereth when caught close home but will be race fit now after his first run in seven months and could be a different proposition now.

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