Saturday Racing Preview: Newmarket Provides The First Classic Of The Season

Betfred's Matt Hulmes gives us his best tips across a busy Saturday of horse-racing action
16:10, 29 Apr 2022

The first classic of the season at Newmarket tomorrow is the highlight in front of the ITV cameras with some good racing at Goodwood and Thirsk to focus on too.

1.50 NEWMARKET - RAATEA

A wide-open sprint handicap with a multitude of chances. 

Asjad impressed on stable debut at Redcar and will be dangerous under a penalty while the lightly raced Tarhib right down the bottom of 8-0 under Hollie Doyle will be popular. Jumby can be expected to come on for seasonal debut a fortnight ago but so too can RAATEA who did well to get within half a length of victory when third at the Craven meeting.

His Newmarket form figures are 312 and was a close second at Doncaster’s St Leger meeting in September. He could still improve after just 14 starts and is worth an each-way play.

Tactical is the class of the field off top weight with Ryan Moore on board. He ran in group company all last season and has had a winter wind operation. 

1.50 NEWMARKET BETFRED ODDS*

2.05 THIRSK – STARSHIBA            

STARSHIBA is quite lightly raced 5yo from David Elsworth who has switched to David O’Meara’s yard after being purchased by the shrewd Horse Watchers outfit. He is a half brother to the brilliant one-eyed mare Barshiba who was a Group 2 winner and has plenty going for him on his seasonal return. He has a good draw in stall two, is back down to his last winning mark off a low weight and has Megan Nicholls assisting in the saddle. He does usually need a run to be at his best but ran some good races in defeat last year of higher marks and he looks sure to be rated higher in the not-too-distant future.

Astro King was third in this race last year but is 7lb higher this time, while Trais Fluors is dangerously well treated and Silvestre De Sousa heads north to ride.

2.05 THIRSK BETFRED ODDS*

3.00 NEWMARKET – TWILIGHT CALLS*

The Palace House Stakes is the first big five furlong sprint of the season and as a sucker for a Henry Candy sprinter, I am all over TWILIGHT CALLS. I remember fondly the days of Airwave and Kyllachy who were so brilliant at this discipline before Twilight Son came along and also reached the top of the sprinting division. It is his son, TWILIGHT CALLS who could climb the ratings ladder successfully this season if his reappearance is anything to go by. He had three lengths to find hitting the dip but flew home under hands and heels to win cosily. That was only a handicap but the assessor put him up 6lb and despite him being the second lowest rated in the field, he still has lots of improvement ahead of him. 

Lots of the other runners have already shown their hand but I feel the selection's best days are ahead of him.

3.00 NEWMARKET BETFRED ODDS*

3.40 NEWMARKET – NATIVE TRAIL

The first classic of the season and it is hard to see beyond the favourite NATIVE TRAIL who was top two-year-old last season and has the benefit of a preparation run in the Craven Stakes seventeen days ago. That took his tally to five from five and it is his devastating turn of foot that sets him apart from his peers. He demonstrated it again over this track and trip in the Craven to put the race to bed in a matter of strides and he truly could be the next superstar from Godolphin. 

His stablemate Coroebus went too son in the Royal Lodge but made amends in the Autumn Stakes last year. All his three runs have been over course and distance, and he is the main market rival. 

Luxembourg is the Derby favourite and may just lack the pace of the favourite, while Point Lonsdale is held by the selection on National Stakes form when losing his unbeaten record but has Frankie Dettori on board. 

Those front four of the market represent either Godolphin or Ballydoyle so it really is a battle of the biggest breeders this year.

Perfect Power has stamina queries despite winning the Greenham well two weeks back.

If there is one at a price to run well it could be Checkandchallenge. He is two form two on the all-weather but was very impressive in winning the Burradon at Newcastle on Good Friday, form that ties him in very closely with Coroebus yet is four times the price.

3.40 NEWMARKET BETFRED ODDS*

*18+ | BeGambleAware

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