2.00pm Newmarket – championsofracing.co.uk Suffolk Stakes (Handicap) Class Two – 1m 1f
Starting the day with a particularly tricky handicap and Sir Michael Stoute has two in here, headed we think by Intimation (5/1), who improved out of all recognition last season and could do so again in 2016. An eleven length ninth on his sole run as a juvenile hardly augured well for the future, but the son of Dubawi clearly needed more time and won both races last year, a mile maiden at Nottingham from Bella Nouf (who has won two races since), and a Leicester Class Four handicap over a mile and a quarter. If he handles the drop back in trip this afternoon (and recent flying gallop reports suggest that will not be an issue), then he seems the stable number one and is the one we think they all have to beat this afternoon.
With the Stoute yard in fine form, who is to say he won’t have the old one-two with the lightly raced Mutamakkin (10/3), a well bred son of War Front out of an El Prado mare with just the four career starts. Owner Hamdan Al Maktoum is not shy when it comes to getting rid of any deadwood in his yards yet they keep him in training after a solitary maiden win that suggests they think he has abilities not yet seen on the race track. After beating Nebulla (a winner twice since) at York he was last of six to Tupi in a Listed race at Newmarket where the firmer going was all against him, but returned in good heart when third to Accession at the same track on a softer surface where he looked as if he would improve considerably for the run. Sure to strip a lot fitter today, and with decent ground expected, he may well get the chance to show us what we have been missing, and a huge run is eagerly anticipated.
David Elsworth will also be hoping for a good run from top weight Master The World (16/1) who will have to carry nine stone ten and Silvestre De Sousa if he want to get to the post at the front of this field. He runs off a rating of 104 for the fourth race in a row and was a decent enough fifth to Big Baz here in a Listed race last October and is a class act, but he hasn’t had a run for seven months and giving weight away after that sort of lay off won’t be easy. A run of six races without success says it all about his weight in our view and today will probably be race number seven though a place at a big price remains a remote possibility.
Arthenus (5/1) is an obvious danger for Newmarket trainer James Fanshawe as the four-year-old gelding signed off 2015 with three wins in a row at Nottingham, Ascot, and York, though naturally those have not gone unnoticed by the handicapper. Put up in the weights again for his last win, and by a massive eight pounds for a head success, that was over this distance, and he was produced a shade cleverly by Freddie Tylicki and had something left in the tank. We can’t know for sure if he can improve enough just yet to shrug off that sort of punitive weight rise, though runner up Librisa Breeze did win next time out, all be it at Wolverhampton, and all things are possible.
Our last one against the field for now has to be Marco Botti’s Emerald (14/1), another who will be trying to make the most of a bit of juice in the ground. The four-year-old has had two runs already this season, a pipe opener at Doncaster and a second place at Chelmsford, just a length behind favourite Darshini, and fully fit this afternoon he should run well off of a pound higher mark.
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