The British Flat season is truly underway when we get to Guineas weekend at Newmarket, and setting the scene to preview the opening race is regular contributor Chris Day, @chrisday100.
Newmarket 1400 BST
1m1f Class 2
We’re about to enter an exciting period on the flat in terms of Classic action but it’s the handicaps which really get these juices flowing at this time of year and Newmarket stage a superb curtain raiser to Guineas Day in the shape of The Suffolk Stakes, a rattling good 9 furlong contest from which you can bet pattern performers will emerge possibly sooner rather than later.
Topping the weights is dual Cambridgeshire hero, Bronze Angel, whose form over course and distance bears the closest inspection. If his Spring Cup run has blown away the cobwebs he’s a danger to all from a perch just 4lbs higher than when running away with last year’s Autumn highlight from Niceofyoutotellme.
Another Cambridgeshire winner, Educate, is next in and also has a chance at these weights. Best delivered late off a fast pace, he’s got the right man in the saddle and has had a couple of spins to get his mark down for this.
As a huge Paul Nicholls fan, I note with interest his booking of Frankie Dettori, breeder of Dodging Bullets for Graham Roche’s Irish acquisition, All To Go, who ran in a number of decent three year old contest last summer and ran fourth in a Kempton novice hurdle in October. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him go well.
Balty Boys, Spirit Of The Law, Rebellious Guest and Ruban all arrive in decent nick but all need to improve and I’d be surprised if something wasn’t lurking in here to prove better handicapped.
Halation, a good fourth behind Chatez in Doncaster’s Spring Mile, could be one and should appreciate the step up in trip here with a hood on for the first time.
Knight Owl is a horse I expect to win races from his mark and Persona Grata races for owners who know the time of day and will surely be adding to his already not inconsiderable haul of victories.
If, however you had told me that Top Tug would be starting this season off 94 after he dug very deep to beat Cloudscape at the course in May of last year, I’d have laughed at you but he’s obviously had his problems and has to prove himself but is a horse I believe will prove pattern class this season. There was a time when the Bajan Lord’s older handicappers could be backed blind at this time of year and, while this may no longer be the case, I strongly fancy Ryan Moore to have him just off the pace and kick on at the bushes to take this contest nicely.
Persona Grata and All Set To Go could be value for forecast and tricast backers.