The curtain raiser for the beginning of Newmarket’s new season at the Rowley Mile, it’s the opening day of the Craven Meeting which sees one of the key 1,000 Guineas trials in the Nell Gwyn Stakes.
There are also a pair of Listed races on the card with the European Free Handicap as well as the Feilden Stakes, which kick started Golden Horn’s season in 2015 before he went on to win the Derby.
The first race at Newmarket on ITV in 2019 is the Weatherbys TBA Handicap where Ryan Moore takes his first ride for trainer John Gallagher on Green Power, who made a promising reappearance off this mark in a competitive race at Doncaster.
Azano ended last season runner up in a Group 3 which reads well as the winner that day followed up in the Greenham on Saturday. He’ll face no easy task in the European Free Handicap though with the likes of Shine So Bright who should appreciate the extra furlong and last season’s Tattersalls Stakes winner Arctic Sound.
Third in a Group 1 last season, Western Australia is the one to beat in the Feilden Stakes. But Kick On wasn’t far behind him at Doncaster and given his more lightly raced profile, could well have more improvement in him than his rival. Kadar was an impressive debut winner last campaign and given the regard in which he’s held by trainer Karl Burke, has to be feared.
Mot Juste got the better of Angel’s Hideaway in the Oh So Sharp Stakes over course and distance last season, but the latter didn’t get a clear run on that occasion and it’d be no surprise to see those placings reversed this time around in the Nell Gwyn Stakes. Main Edition was a winner at Royal Ascot last season and was third in a Group 2 to end the campaign so is another who could play a big part in an open renewal.
Our best bet of the day runs in the final race on the card at Newmarket and it’s Marhaban. Charlie Appleby and William Buick won last season’s renewal with subsequent Group 1 winner Old Persian, so their rivals could have a monumental task on their hands if Marhaban is cut from the same cloth.
He gave 7lbs & a beating to a subsequent two-time winning stablemate at Wolverhampton last time, making an opening mark of 88 look very workable. It’s highly possible that there is plenty more to come from the son of New Approach on just his fourth racecourse appearance.
A debutant to keep an eye on is Kemble in the 4.10pm at Newmarket. He has a fascinating pedigree in that his Dam is a half-sister to dual Group 1 winner Toronado, who was also trained by Richard Hannon.
Kemble is a son of Kodiac who is a prolific Sire of two-year-olds and often imparts plenty of speed into his progeny.
Simon Crisford is very good at readying his horses when coming back from a break, boasting a 27% strike rate and £15.75 level stakes profit in the past two years when running a horse from a break of 60 days or more. He has one runner under those circumstances at Newmarket.