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ITV Racing Preview At Newmarket And Cheltenham: Get The Champagne Ready At The Craven

We had a good day on Wednesday with my bet of the day, Ottoman Fleet, doing the business in the Earl of Sefton Stakes for William Buick and Charlie Appleby. Hopefully the good form can continue, as we’ve got two strong cards at Newmarket and Cheltenham to get stuck into.

1.50 Newmarket – Blue Prince (Each Way)

Blue Prince has been holding his form really well across the all-weather this winter, which has included two wins at Newcastle and Southwell. The last time we saw him, he ran well to finish third on All Weather Finals Day at Newcastle, coming off the pace. He looks like a horse that could transfer his all-weather form to the turf, and David Evans has done well with very similar types in the past, with the likes of Rohaan springing to mind. Furthermore, Ryan Moore is booked for the ride, and he’s got a 32% strike rate when teaming up with David Evans over the last five seasons. With him being fit and ready to go, he looks to have a serious chance.

2.25 Newmarket – Padesha (Win)

This race is one for the future and one to not get too heavily involved with from a punting point of view, as every horse in the race is making their racecourse debut. The one that caught my eye was Padesha for Dominic Ffrench Davis. He’s got lots of fancy entries, including the Epsom Derby, the Irish 2,000 Guineas, and The Dante at York. His owners, Amo Racing, know the family well, as they owned his half-sister, who was a winner for them, so the fact that he is entered in a lot of good races suggests that they might think highly of him. 

3.00 Newmarket – Mill Stream (Each Way)

The Abernant Stakes has an open feel to it this year, and cases can be made for plenty, but the one I am going to side with is Mill Stream each way for Jane Chapple-Hyam. If you read my column on Monday, I made the case for him as a horse to follow this season, as I think he could develop into a top-class sprinter. Last season, he improved rapidly, going from hot handicaps to winning a Group 3 in France. It might be possible he could need the run here, as he ran dismally on his seasonal return at Haydock last year, but the season before he won on his racecourse debut, so I am willing to overlook that. The son of Gleneagles seems to handle most forms of ground, so there shouldn’t be any excuses for the way the ground is at Newmarket. Maybe one or two might be a bit sharper than him on the day, but I am hopeful he’ll run a good race.

3.35 Newmarket – Champagne Prince (Each Way)

I don’t think this is a very strong renewal of the Craven Stakes, so therefore I am going to take a chance on the outsider of the field, Champagne Prince. He’s unbeaten after two runs, where he won both on the all-weather at Chelmsford and Newcastle, but the way he hit the line hard on the bridle suggested he’s a classy type and he could be anything.

Of the rest, I don’t rate the favourite Native Approach; he didn’t look straightforward when he won at Kempton, and I think he could be a difficult ride. Alcantor is an interesting raider for Andre Fabre and is probably the one to beat on form. 

2.05 Cheltenham – Presenting A Queen (Each Way)

I don’t have a particularly strong fancy in this race, but I’ll just give my tentative selection to Presenting A Queen. The key to her is good ground, and the last time we saw her, she didn’t run too badly to finish second in a valuable mares race at Hereford. She arrives here after a little break, and her trainer, Chris Gordon, has been among the winners in recent weeks. Furthermore, I think going left-handed will suit her, as she’s shown a tendency to jump out to her right in the past. I have always thought she could land a decent race, and maybe this can be her day.

2.40 Cheltenham – On My Command (Each Way)

I am going to take a flyer on one here, and that is On My Command for Martin Keighley. It’s fair to say she’s been around the houses after being trained by Nicky Henderson and Harry Fry, but she has still shown he has ability. Her current mark of 117 is definitely workable, as she won off 3lb higher at Plumpton back in 2022. She loves good ground and can go well fresh, so at a big price, I’m willing to give her a go.

Bet Of The Day: 1.50 Newmarket – Blue Prince (Each Way)

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