Newmarket Racecourse

Craven meeting at Newmarket betting pointers and Rowley Mile tips

Gosden(s) always a meeting master

There might be a second name on the training license this season, but in every other sense it appears to be business as usual at Clarehaven Stables.

While John Gosden is now sharing training responsibilities with son, Thady, there is no reason to think anyone associated with this powerhouse stable will be taking their foot off the gas, and Mishriff's brilliant victory in the Sheema Classic was the perfect way to rubber-stamp the working partnership.

One thing team Gosden has usually been good for is hitting the ground running when the turf returns, particularly at the Craven meeting.

In fact, Gosden has landed three of the last five renewals of Tuesday's Feilden Stakes, while it would be dangerous to discount the stable's two representatives in Wednesday's Nell Gwyn Stakes given Gosden has won the race five times already, including in 2016 and 2017.

With Global Giant, Riot and a host of choicely-bred maidens set to turn out for the yard on the Rowley Mile over the next few days, expect the Gosden name to take centre stage once again.

Thady and John Gosden now hold a joint-licence

Stick to the stands' side rail

When racing belatedly returned to Newmarket last summer, there was an immediate familiarity with proceedings.

Frankie Dettori was back in the winners' enclosure by the second race and the opening event on the card, a five-furlong maiden for juvenile fillies, was trademark Newmarket with jockey James Doyle scraping paint on the stands' side rail aboard eventual winner Sacred, steadfast refusing to switch his mount to the outside and instead holding his nerve and waiting for the gap to appear between runners inside the final furlong.

That, in a snapshot, is the Rowley Mile Course, and when 25/1 outsider Bright Devil made all the running against that same rail in the third race, Creative Force in the race after, before 33/1 chance Bungee Jump in the finale, it was hard not to think 'here we go again'.

As the summer developed, time and time again bagging the rail proved to be a huge advantage when the stalls were positioned on the stands and this has been a running theme here for a while now. Think Churchill's victory in the 2017 2000 Guineas for another high-profile example.

Churchill winning the 2000 Guineas

That's not to say you can't win by coming away from the rail. Of course you can. And as jockeys push and shove to try and claim an early pitch on the 'golden highway' there will inevitably be times when the pace collapses and those in behind can sweep down the outer.

Still, for now at least, you'd certainly prefer to be drawn near to that rail (high), and prominent racers with the speed to make good use of a favourable draw will surely continue to benefit, as will riders like Ryan Moore and Oisin Murphy, who haven't missed a trick with this trend in recent years.

The Ballydoyle conundrum

Talking of Moore, the in-form former champion jockey will be back in Newmarket on Tuesday having spent the last few weeks getting reacquainted with the Aidan O'Brien's string at Ballydoyle.

Moore partnered leading Epsom Derby hope Bolshoi Ballet to a stylish success in the Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown on Sunday and rides another promising middle-distance prospect in Arturo Toscanini in what looks an excellent renewal of the Feilden.

Ordinarily, O'Brien heading over to England with an unbeaten son of Galileo would have layers running for cover, but the master of Ballydoyle has tended to use this meeting as a fact-finding mission, with his lesser lights enjoying a trip away and allowing the trainer to ascertain where his big guns back in Tipperary stand in relation to their English counterparts.

Aidan O'Brien

By way of examples and ignoring last year, owing to the delayed resumption, Western Australia returned a disappointing 6/4 favourite in the 2019 running of the Feilden, while Kew Garden was turned over at similarly prohibitive odds in the same race in 2018.

Also in 2018, Deauville was another expensive loser as he finished second in the Earl Of Sefton, while Dramatically offered nothing in the Nell Gwyn at the same meeting.

With O'Brien having a host of potentially big chances in the coming days — most notably Group One winner Van Gogh in Thursday's Craven — punters might just be advised to tread with caution when preparing to pile into the Ballyodyle battalion, for all the stable has started 2021 in scintillating form.

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