One Chance in a Million
Man On The Spot previews all of the action from the opening day of Newmarket's Craven meeting.
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PROVIDENT SPIRIT was clear of the third when runner-up at Doncaster on his recent racecourse debut. That's the best form on offer and normal progress can see him off the mark for a yard rattling in the winners. Knockroon showed a big improvement on the Polytrack last time while Speculative Bid ran a couple of promising races early last term and has since joined a new yard. The latter is preferred to Master Of Suspense and Ganges while the Dante Stakes and Derby entry Emirati Spirit makes more appeal than stablemate Dynamic Vision of the newcomers.
Harry Hurricane is weighted to reverse running with Leicester winner FLYBALL. But the latter fought back well having been headed at one point and he gets the vote with further progress expected for a yard that has won five of the last 10 renewals. Abscent Friends will find this tougher than the maiden contest he won at Southwell and one of the newcomers could prove a bigger threat. Of those, Portamento is related to a winner in North America and Mind Of Madness has plenty of speed in his pedigree.
Wedding Ring returns from Meydan where she won the UAE 1000 Guineas trial over 7f. She has plenty of early pace and this shorter trip shouldn't be a problem. Toofi won a similar contest over track and trip in September before finding Oklahoma City too good. A line through the latter gives him something to find with Bon Voyage and the latter competes on favourable terms with Crowdmania, who completed a hat-trick on the Polytrack with a victory at Kempton last month. The maiden winners Magnus Maximus, Scrutiny and Naadirr have plenty of scope as they step up in class, but a speculative vote goes to ONE CHANCE. She's changed handlers since a below par effort here in July but had made the frame when third in the Queen Mary at Ascot before that and a similar effort should see her go close.
Garswood never figured in the 2000 Guineas after winning this last year. His trainer runs Parbold this time round and the latter finished well ahead of Saayerr when runner-up over 6f in the Gimcrack at York in August. Saayerr had won the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood earlier and is closely matched with Miracle Of Medinah on collateral form. Aeolus and Mushir have a bit to find on today's terms though the latter is unbeaten and entered in the 2000 Guineas having won the Rockingham at York in October. SHIFTING POWER is also undefeated after beating Treaty Of Paris six lengths in a novices event over 7f on the July course here in August. The latter went on to win the Acomb Stakes so the form looks rock-solid and Richard Hannon's colt gets the vote.
Speciosa in 2006 was the last winner of this to taste success in the 1000 Guineas. SANDIVA is currently 25/1 for this year's Classic having won a Group 3 event in France before fading in testing ground at Longchamp on her latest start. She's taken to reverse running with Queen Catrine back on a faster surface and gets the nod. The latter finished just ahead of Wind Fire when runner-up in the Lowther at York but Dorothy B looks a bigger danger on her fifth in the Cheveley Park over 6f here in September. Along Again ran well in last season's Princess Margaret at Royal Ascot but hasn't raced since and Blockade acquitted herself well in Group races last term without threatening the winner. Mickael Barzalona prefers maiden winner Folk Melody of the Godolphin duo while both of Marco Botti's winning fillies, Pelerin and Euro Charline, are entered in the Guineas.
Somewhat finished second in the Royal Lodge to Berkshire before a below par effort in soft ground. Mark Johnston has good record in this and sent out Bow Creek to beat Barley Mow at Lingfield recently so has a good line on the form. Saying that, Ryan Moore still prefers Barley Mow to stablemate Truth Or Dare and much better is expected from the former today. True Story, Madeed and Master The World all ended last season with victories in maidens and step up in class, as does the Irish raider OBLITERATOR. His win at the Curragh looks nothing special on paper, but he was put away for the rest of the season after that success and a string of fancy entries suggest Ger Lyons holds him in high regard.
MUNJAZ was beaten only a nose over a mile here in October and the half-brother to a Listed winner is expected to appreciate today's longer trip. Paul Hanagan prefers him to Mustadaam and the Gosden colt gets the vote. Dante Stakes entry Wrangler made a promising start in soft ground at Yarmouth and Venezia wasn't beaten far when third at this track in October. Wahgah, Eye Contact and Ian's Memory are others likely to improve this year while Ayrad, Connecticut and Min Alemarat are all newcomers to note for the future.
It's difficult to put a line through any of these. EXPERT failed to cope with Ertijaal, who heads for the 2000 Guineas, in Listed company on the Polytrack last month. Back over 6f today, his best form is certainly good enough to land this. Redcar's Two-Year-Old Trophy winner Ventura Mist should also be thereabouts while Mick's Yer Man returned to form at Leicester recently and Meritocracy ended last season with a victory at Kempton. Jockey bookings point to Kaab's chances ahead of Greeb and the likes of Danzeno, Quiet Warrior and Desert Ranger are open to further progress in a wide-open affair.