RUN TO CONTINUE FOR INVINCIBLE DUNLOP
Classic clues galore this
week as the Flat season really gets going with Newmarket's Craven meeting attracting a host of smart three-year-olds all gunning for classic glory. The opening afternoon on Tuesday see's the fillies take centre stage in the Group 3 Nell Gwyn Stakes, a recognised 1000 Guineas trial. Most of the top yards are represented, and I believe the John Dunlop trained Massarra might take a bit of beating in this event. Second to one of her rivals Xtrasensory on debut last year, she went on to win her maiden comfortably at Goodwood before winning a Listed race at this course, and then ran a stormer when chasing home Zipping in a Group 2 sprint at Maisons-Laffitte. Interestingly, the winner of that race went on to push champion two-year-old Johannesburg very close in France and the form looks rock solid.
Henry Cecil's Half Glance may provide some good opposition here, having taken an unbeaten record to Ascot when she contested the Group 1 Fillies Mile last back end, before finishing fourth there behind Gossamer. She is a Group 3 winner in her own right of course, having won the May Hill at Doncaster last year.
Other interesting runners here are Michael Stoute's Alasha, Ayr winner and unlucky Rockfel Stakes third Misterah, and Mick Channon's Ya Hajar, although surely ante-post favourite Queens Logic would be the main hope of that stable for the classic itself.
Also run on Tuesday is the Listed Abernant Stakes, run over six furlongs, and I take John Dunlop to carry on his fine form here with the help of penalised top-weight Invincible Spirit (nap). This horse beat Mugharreb in a Listed race last summer, before heading off to Ireland where he picked up a nice Group 3 prize by beating Aiden O'Brien's Toroca, who went on to win a good race in France, and the well beaten third that day had previously won a Listed race too. The conditions should be ideal for him here, and with plenty of holes in his opposition, I take him to win first time out, with possibly the Mark Johnston three-year-old Falcon Hill following him home.
Wednesday's action features the Earl Of Sefton Stakes, in which the unstoppable John Dunlop saddles Doncaster winner Dandoun, and he's surely the one to beat here. Also on the card is the 2000 Guineas warm-up the European Free Handicap, which is a bit of a conundrum because of the way it is shaped, but
hopefully Leo's Luckyman and Bragadino will hold strong claims if they are forward enough.
And on the final days action, we see possible Derby contenders in the Fielden Stakes. Run over nine furlongs, this has been won by some decent cattle in the past, and I will be cheering on Fight Your Corner for the North in this one assuming he is allowed to take his chance. However I believe some of the honours will be staying in Newmarket, with the Craven itself possibly going to Michael Stoute's King Of Happiness, who is said to be well regarded at Freemason Lodge.
Newbury host's 1000 Guineas favorite Queens Logic on Saturday in the Fred Darling, and if she has trained on, then she must take the world of beating, but of course, there is no such thing as a certainty in this game.
Please get in touch with any questions you may have regarding the the upcoming classic trials, betting, or the sport in general. See you soon.
Article by Gary Christie
Photo of Grand National
2002 by Roving Eye.
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