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Richard Hoiles: My 4 picks for Thursday at Newmarket

10 Jul | BY Richard Hoiles | MIN READ TIME |
Richard Hoiles: My 4 picks for Thursday at Newmarket

The horse racing broadcaster offers his selections for the first day of the July Meeting and updates his stable tracker.

The deluge of rain that fell at Newmarket on Tuesday looks to have a key bearing on two of the four ITV races on the first day of the July Meeting.

First up is the Group 3 Bahrain Trophy which, despite its valuable prize, never attracts a large field. It can act as a trial for the St. Leger and the soft ground looks a massive plus for ANCIENT WISDOM / (13:50 Newmarket). A horse with a big pounding action, his best two runs as a juvenile came when winning the Autumn Stakes on the Rowley Mile and then rounding off the season with a Group 1 success in the Futurity at Doncaster both on heavy ground.

This will be the first time he has soft ground this season and he doesn’t have to carry a penalty for that Group 1 victory. Space Legend is the obvious danger as he has improved with every one of his four career runs and the stable are in much more consistent form than earlier in the season. The more the ground dries out, the greater his chance becomes, as even though he won his maiden on a soft surface, his sire Sea The Stars does not have a good record on ground with significant cut (A/E 0.86).

The July Stakes will be particularly helpful in establishing the relative worth of the Royal Ascot juvenile races with the Windsor Castle winner Ain’t Nobody, the Coventry Stakes second Electrolyte and the Norfolk fourth WHISTLEJACKET / (14:25 Newmarket) all lining up. While the Coventry is traditionally viewed as the strongest of the three, my suspicion is that this year the Norfolk may be the best.

Whistlejacket was the only horse to be sent off an odds-on favourite during the whole of Royal Ascot week and just seemed to find it all happening a bit quick at 5f on fast ground. He still finished alongside Aesterius, who won at Sandown on Saturday, and the return to 6f with cut can bring about an improved effort. Electrolyte looked a little unlucky in the Coventry, having to briefly change course when staying on strongly and winning the race on his side of the track. He is feared more than Ain’t Nobody, who had the Windsor Castle set up perfectly for him by the US raider Gabaldon, who led the smaller stands side group at a brisk pace. The extra furlong and softer ground are both queries for him.

The big-field handicap of the day is the handicap over 6f for three-year-olds where the key line of form could be a similar race run at York on soft ground last month. Elmonjed did best of those that ran that day, finishing third in first-time cheekpieces, but always seems to be well found in the market. It could be that with that run under his belt TROPICAL ISLAND / (15:00 Newmarket) can reverse the form. It was a belated return to action for Richard Fahey’s daughter of Inns Of Court who just looked to need the run and has plenty of soft ground form as a juvenile.

The rain has also increased the chances of HAMISH / (15:35 Newmarket) lining up in the Princess of Wales’s Stakes. He is a wonderfully consistent horse and put up a super effort at Epsom in a falsely run Coronation Cup when chasing home Luxembourg. This race will, however, represent a rather different tactical challenge as it is likely Outbox will be ridden quite aggressively in an attempt to repeat his victory in the Jockey Club Stakes at the Guineas meeting.

Both Outlaw and Giavellotto have to give weight to Hamish, however, for their recent Group 2 victories, which is quite a big ask, and while the ground has also come right for Arrest, last season’s Derby favourite is never a horse I have particularly warmed to. Hamish has a great following and the wet summer is proving a real bonus in enabling him to line up in events he would usually have had to bypass.

STABLE TRACKER UPDATE

As things will get busier as the week progresses towards the weekend I will use the opportunity to update our tracker today instead.

It has been a quiet week with both Jewel of London (fourth, 11/4) and Games People Play (0, 11/1) coming off the list after having had three unsuccessful runs. Jewel Of London is a bit of an enigma, running well at Royal Ascot but disappointingly either side of that, while Games People Play had an excuse on the day in that he was one of the horses who slipped on the bend at Haydock, which ultimately led to racing being abandoned.

There is a runner on Thursday in ELLARIA SAND (17:50 Newbury) who, having run green early on at Yarmouth on her debut, flashed a very quick middle two furlongs before the effort took its toll late on. The race has already thrown up a winner at a big price in Naina at Brighton on Tuesday and I really expect a big run here.

Additions for the week also concentrate on the juveniles, starting with Brightwalton and Glamour Show, both from the same race at Newbury. Brightwalton met a lot of trouble in running but for which she would have been right in at the finish. She has a good pedigree, her dam won the Albany and was second in the Cheveley Park and she looks to have inherited plenty of that dash.

Glamour Show was a little less obvious, improving into the teeth of the pace at halfway on the outside flank before getting weary. She is a home bred and connections will be keen to get a win under her belt for paddock purposes and it looks as if she is qualified to run in Restricted B-D races, which would represent a significant drop in class.

Epicurian Lad caught the eye at Beverley and is now eligible for nurseries. The handicapper has given him an opening mark of 66 and it will be a big surprise if he is not competitive off that. Dropped to 5f, he met a bit of trouble but hit the line strongly, looking as if he had more in the locker especially back over 6f.

Removed: Jewel of London, Games People Play

Added: Brightwalton, Glamour Show and Epicurian Lad.

A full list of stable tracker horses can be found here.

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Richard Hoiles

Richard Hoiles

Richard is a horse racing broadcaster and commentator who has been involved in the sport since 1992.

Richard Hoiles

Richard Hoiles

Richard is a horse racing broadcaster and commentator who has been involved in the sport since 1992.