Simon Holt best bets for Newmarket on Thursday

Simon Holt fancies Brando to register back-to-back wins in the Abernant Stakes at Newmarket on Thursday and he also has another bet on the card.

Simon Holt's best bets

1.50 Newmarket

3.00 Newmarket

It will be a massive surprise if Roaring Lion, set to start odds-on favourite, cannot advertise his 2000 Guineas claims in the bet365 Craven Stakes at Newmarket on Thursday.

John Gosden's colt was unbeaten in his first three starts last season, beating recent Ballysax winner Nelson (now a leading fancy for the Derby) in the Royal Lodge Stakes over this course and distance in late September before losing out close home to Saxon Warrior in what looked a very strong renewal of the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster.

On official ratings, Roaring Lion has 6lb in hand over his main form rival, Masar, though Hugo Palmer's promising White Mocha, who is reported to have done well during the winter, might be open to greater improvement.

Earlier, BRANDO seeks back-to-back wins in the Connaught Access Flooring Abernant Stakes and, if reappearing in top form, looks sure to go very close.

Kevin Ryan's top sprinter is just a little unpredictable with his form varying last season between an excellent Group One win at Deauville and a third in the July Cup to complete blow outs on other occasions.

But Brando has an excellent record when fresh, winning first time out three times in his four seasons of racing, and seeks a hat-trick at this meeting having taken a five-furlong handicap here in 2016. This is his first outing since undergoing a wind operation and the stable seems in good form.

It’s certainly a stronger renewal than last year, however, with Le Brivido and Spirit Of Valor, first and second in Royal Ascot's Jersey Stakes last June, renewing rivalry.

French raider Le Brivido hasn't been seen since but it was only in the last few strides that he wore down his rival over the seven furlongs that day, and this could be sharp enough on his comeback.

In contrast, six furlongs could be the making of Spirit Of Valor this season as, while successful over seven at The Curragh after his Ascot effort, he didn't seem to be quite getting home in two later efforts over that trip.

A speedy type with plenty of ability, he could prove difficult to peg back providing Aidan O'Brien has him forward enough for this first run of the season.

Two others of interest are Projection, who ran a career-best when second to the smart Blue Point at Ascot last October, and Dream Of Dreams, who won two of his three starts for Sir Michael Stoute last autumn, including when beating recent winner Perfect Pasture (Sir Dancealot fifth, Gordon Lord Byron sixth) in a soft-ground listed race at Doncaster in November.

Earlier, the booking of Ryan Moore for Music Society has caught the eye of the bookmakers in the opening Handicap.

Sylvester Kirk's colt ran well on each of his three starts last season, winning on the all-weather at Chelmsford and then finishing second at Wolverhampton, and a bit of cut in the ground on turf should suit him well as his half-brother Kool Kompany did very well under such conditions.

However, he was very keen on the latter occasion and I will take a chance on ROCKIES SPIRIT capitalising on a possible fitness edge.

John Egan’s mount has already raced twice this year and probably didn’t get home over seven furlongs at Doncaster on soft ground last month.

Back in trip now, Rockies Spirit returns to Newmarket where he ran two sound races (on the July Course) last year and a reproduction of his front-running second to the promising Betty F, who looked to be crying out for further when beaten recently, could make him hard to catch at decent odds.

Recommended bets

2pts win Brando 3.00 Newmarket at 7/2 (general)

1pt e.w. Rockies Spirit in 1.50 Newmarket at 16/1 (general)

For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record

Posted at 1130 18/04/18.

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