Future Clues: Craven Meeting
Our team pick out some of the performances from the Craven meeting that it might pay to keep in mind for future reference.
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Craven Meeting, Newmarket: 16/04/14
Ganges and Emirati Spirit - Alex Scott Maiden Stakes
The Alex Scott Maiden is often one of the better early season three-year-old maidens and this year's renewal had an impressive winner in Provident Spirit, who could easily make his mark in pattern grade sooner rather than later. However it was Ganges and Emirati Spirit, the fifth and sixth-home, that really caught my eye.
Ganges was not given a hard time and is now eligible for a handicap mark after two similar previous efforts in decent maidens. Here he was outpaced at a crucial stage but found his feet late on, finishing as well as tanything.
Breeding and visual impression strongly suggest he will be at his best over further (possibly up to 1m 2f) and he can make his mark in handicaps off a mark in the 70s or low 80s when given a slight step up in trip. His trainer James Toller knows how to place a good horse and it would be a surprise if he couldn't find a race or two for this straightforward looking Shamardal colt this summer.
Emirati Spirit was making his racecourse debut here for Roger Varian and was nibbled in the market in the minutes before the race. He was covered up behind the leaders, travelling well before utterly failing to handle the undulations when asked for extra effort, and also shut off from his run by those in front.
Having lost his chance, jockey Andrea Atzeni was very easy on him and he should derive plenty of benefit from the experience. His breeding suggests a step up in trip wouldn't go amiss and his high cruising speed will be a potent weapon over further. The future looks bright.
Aeolus - CSP European Free Handicap
The Free Handicap looked not entirely inspiring on paper and resulted in a bunch finish, but the time was quicker than the very well contested Nell Gwyn run half an hour later and although escaping nobody's attentions, Aeolus must be flagged up here.
The Ed McMahon inmate was extremely unlucky not to open his campaign with a win here, having been hampered by the weakening trailblazers Miracle of Medinah and Parbold just as the sprint for home was beginning.
Having lost momentum and several lenghts to the eventual first and second, he finished like a train up the near side and will be of significant interest going forward having only been beaten a head and a neck by two interesting types in their own right.
He was an impressive winner at Chester last season and there is a valuable seven-and-a-half-furlong three-year-old handicap that might seem an ideal target next, but he will need the handicapper to drop him a pound to get in and that seems unlikely.
Fourth-home Saayerr deserves a mention in dispatches too. He totally blew the start and appeared to have little hope at halfway, buit switched right by Jamie Spencer a rapid turn of foot put him right in the firing line before the early loss of ground told late on.
His trainer William Haggas likes to target the plethora of valuable three-year-old sprint handicaps that start coming thick and fast in the coming weeks and he looks to have a readymade candidate for those provided Saayerr can tidy up his start.
The Marco Botti-trained Min Alemerat in the 1m 2f maiden should be followed closely after this promising performance. Settled in rear of the mid division on the outside by Adam Kirby, he lost ground when outpaced three furlongs out but stayed on tidily again afterwards once the whip was shown and he came home a never-nearer sixth.
He is bred to be very decent and one would expect him to leave this run behind next time. It would be in keeping with his trainer's shrewd policy if he made his way north for a weakish maiden now to try and keep the handicapper in the dark about how far this colt might go.