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Richard Hoiles: Six picks for Newmarket and Cheltenham on Thursday

17 Apr | BY Richard Hoiles | MIN READ TIME |
Richard Hoiles: Six picks for Newmarket and Cheltenham on Thursday

The horse racing broadcaster reveals his six selections from the final day of the Craven Meeting and the best of the jumps action from Cheltenham, plus a runner from his horse tracker.

Lots of variety again in the six ITV4 races from Newmarket and Cheltenham, and again plenty of runners as the ground looks just about perfect at both venues.

The opener at Newmarket looks fiercely competitive but, with Adrian Nicholls already on the mark this week, a small interest in INGLEBY IVY / (13:50) could be the way to go. He confirmed debut promise when scoring at Ripon before seeming to get bogged down in the ground in a Listed race at York. A mark of 80 seems fair and in drawing stall 1 he has the option of heading over to the far rail, following the path of Tees River’s victory on Tuesday.

Over to Cheltenham next, where JUNIPER / (14:05) has been humoured back to form by Anthony Honeyball and can land the hat-trick. Front running wins at Taunton and Stratford have been underpinned by her fluent jumping, which could be a big asset here. She is significantly higher in the weights than when second in this race 12 months ago, but her stable excels with Mares and so she just may be an improved model this season.

A rather unusual test next with the Wood Ditton for unraced three-year-olds. This used to be a traditional unveiling point for late-developing Classic contenders, but has considerably diminished since the introduction of the All Weather and the availability of maiden races during the winter months. PADESHA / (14:25) holds a few fancy entries and the owners always seem to like their horses to be ready to show their worth early on and cost 300,000 euros as a yearling. He looks more likely to be ready for now rather than further down the line which will no doubt be the case with a few of these who will need the experience.

Dan Skelton is throwing everything at winning the Trainers Championship and, with Harry Skelton booked for COTTIE / (14:40), she could be the answer to a tricky looking race. A winner for Henry De Bromhead in Ireland, her mark has been in freefall off the back off some modest efforts but the yard is adept at identifying specific handicaps and this could well have been the objective for a while.

Things hot up at Newmarket next with the Group 3 Abernant, where the admirable COMMANCHE FALLS / (15:00) lines up for his seasonal debut. A winner of 12 of his 35 starts, he managed to make the transition from handicaps into Pattern races last season and his second to Annaf at Ascot in October has been franked by that horse’s victory at the Saudi Cup meeting. He has won fresh before, was a narrow second in the race last year, and the bigger field should ensure the race is not too tactical, which has always been his Achilles heel. He is a real battler and is always one to have on your side.

The highlight of the three-day meeting rounds things off with the Group 3 Craven Stakes, which this year looks a mouthwatering renewal. Alcantor comes over from France, while Godolphin send out the very promising Native Approach, who made short work of his rivals at Kempton last time but takes a considerable hike in class and looks priced on reputation rather than actual achievement. Preference is for EBEN SHADDAD / (15:35 Newmarket), who represents the Dewhurst form and has plenty of Newmarket experience. He is quite an imposing type and if he has strengthened up through the winter could set quite a high bar for the others.


I’VE MADEUPMYMIND / (17:00 Cheltenham) travelled well on debut at Wincanton, just going down to Jubilee Alpha with the pair of them pulling clear. Jubilee Alpha ran second in the Grade 2 bumper at Aintree, while I’ve Madeupmymind ran perfectly well in a decent listed race at Sandown despite looking as if she would prefer better ground, which she should get 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.