Turf Talk: French fancy at Newmarket

editorial image

THE Newmarket July meeting is one of the highlights of the flat racing calendar and this year’s three day festival commences on Thursday with a fantastic line up that includes such prestigious races as the Bahrain Trophy (Group 3) and the Princess of Wales Stakes (Group 2).

This is followed up on Friday with the spotlight on the fillies with the Falmouth Stakes (Group 1) and the Cherry Hinton Stakes (Group 2).

Our first stand out is SAPHRESA, who runs in the Falmouth Stakes on Friday. The French mare is extremely tough, as could be seen when she battled to win the Sun Chariot Stakes in October. She beat a good field that day, including group winners Strawberrydaqiri, Spacious, Aviate and last years Falmouth winner, Music Show. She doesn’t want it too firm underfoot and if the ground dries out too much however, it could be worth looking at the Sir Henry Cecil trained Timepiece, or the Mike De Kock South African import River Jetez.

The best bet on Thursday could be REDWOOD, who looks to go one better in this year’s Princess of Wales Stakes. The form of his second in this race last year is rock solid, with the winner Sans Frontieres having gone on to land Group 1 success and, from further back in that field, Tazeez and Holberg have both since tasted further group triumphs. Redwood has raced exclusively in Group 1/Grade 1 races in the interim, racing on three continents in the process, and has yet to be out of the first three. His second to Rewilding in the Sheema Classic has since been franked by both Rewilding and So You Think, and he looks to be the best bet of the week.

The last selection runs in the Bahrain Trophy on Thursday and is a horse that has previously been successfully tipped up in this column, the John Gosden trained MASKED MARVEL. He won the Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood impressively, with Queens Vase winner Namibian among those behind. His run in the Derby, where he finished 8th of 13, may look disappointing on paper but it was a very solid effort. Memphis Tennessee, Carlton House and Seville franked the form in the Irish Derby, and Pisco Sour, from further down the Derby field, won The Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot. Masked Marvel may benefit from missing Royal Ascot and looks the class act in a weak renewal.

Newmarket (Thu) 3.00 – Redwood (Nap)

Newmarket (Thu) 1.20 – Masked Marvel

Newmarket (Fri) 3.00 – Saphresa