Greg Wood: A 7lb rise for Goodwood Crusader (3.00) is unlikely to stop him in the best betting race on the first day of Newmarket’s July meeting
There are no Group One events on the first afternoon of Newmarket’s July Festival meeting, but there is still something for pretty much everyone in the four televised events (on ITV3) including the Coventry Stakes winner Rajasinghe’s attempt to see off a fresh set of juvenile opponents in the July Stakes and a St Leger trial at the top of the card, but the race that offers the deepest, and potentially most rewarding, puzzle is the three-year-old handicap at 3.00, which is always one of the strongest of its type all season.
There is a long list of possible winners, most of which remain unexposed and open to significant improvement. Cartographer, the likely favourite at around 6-1, is the most obvious example after an easy win over this track and trip last time out, while Mostahel, a full brother to the King’s Stand Stakes winner Equiano, is another who could easily prove to be much better than a handicapper.
Goodwood Crusader (3.00), on the other hand, does not appear to be holding a great deal back, on paper at least. He has won his last five starts, moving from a mark of 71 to today’s 94 in the process, but the time of his latest win, over course and distance, suggests that it was another significant step forward and a 7lb rise is unlikely to stop him getting competitive today. Finley Marsh, his partner for all five of his wins, will not be claiming 7lb much longer at this current rate of progress and while a couple of his lightly-raced opponents might improve past him, 11-1 for Goodwood Crusader to see them off is too big.
Rajasinghe (2.25) also faces some interesting new opponents mixed in among those that he beat off in the Coventry, including Sound And Silence, who took the Windsor Castle Stakes at the Royal meeting, and James Tate’s Invicible Army. Richard Spencer’s colt should be good enough, but Raheen House (1.50) makes more appeal for betting purposes in the opening Bahrain Trophy.
Atty Persse is the probable favourite here after a convincing win in the King George V Handicap at Royal Ascot, but Raheen House has form at Group 2 level at the same meeting, having run fourth in the King Edward VII Stakes. Atty Persse may need to find more improvement than his odds suggest to get home in front, and Raheen House is a much better option at around 4-1.
Elsewhere on today’s cards, Beach Break (4.25) will be hard to beat at Doncaster while Tapis Libre (7.45) should take the Ladies’ Derby for the second year running at Epsom this evening.
Newmarket 1.50 Raheen House 2.25 Rajasinghe 3.00 Goodwood Crusader (nap) 3.35 Frontiersman (nb) 4.05 Maybride 4.35 Shamshon 5.05 Ronald R
Carlisle 1.30 Kynren 2.00 Savannah Moon 2.35 Poetic Steps 3.10 Olivia Fallow 3.45 Dealer’s Choice 4.20 Questo 4.50 Newt
Doncaster 1.40 Stoneham 2.10 James Garfield 2.45 King Of Paris 3.20 Panova 3.55 Flash City 4.25 Beach Break 4.55 Acadian Angel
Newbury 5.20 Wordismybond 5.55 Luis Fernandez 6.30 Autumn Leaves 7.05 Traveller 7.35 Love Conquers 8.05 Chocolate Box 8.40 Glory Of Paris
Epsom 6.05 Fair Power 6.40 Carouse 7.15 Native Prospect 7.45 Tapis Libre 8.20 Berrahri 8.50 Highland AcclaimRead more at theguardian.com