For the final time this week Alan Thompson has two selections from the last day of the Craven meeting...
"There should be plenty more to come from him now as a three-year-old and conditions will suit today"
Back Almufti @ 10/3 in the Newmarket 15:00
If Almufti can reproduce his effort in a Group 3 last year he could win this
Hugo Palmer's colt, Almufti, didn't get his career off to the best of starts finishing sixth of nine at Newbury on debut and he followed that up with a three and a half length defeat after being sent off the 2.56/4 favourite on the all weather at Newcastle. However, he left those two disappointing efforts well and truly behind him when after a 71 day break he returned to score at Kempton in September, a race where he made all and won by an easy three and a quarter lengths. He then ran well behind subsequent Greenham winner Mohaather in a Newbury Group 3 when last seen in October. There should be plenty more to come from him now as a three-year-old and with conditions to suit today, he could improve past these.
Almashriq cost $1,200,000 as a yearling and on his only start to date he was a well-backed winner on debut at Newcastle in December. However, the horses behind him that day have run 19 times and only one of them has managed to win and that was a low class event at Southwell off a mark of 49. I accept that all he can do is beat the runners he was up against, but you would suspect he will need to produce plenty more than he showed that day to win this today. Of course given the connections and that hefty price tag he could be more than capable of delivering but at the prices I am happy to take him on today.
Mubtasim has found that winning formula again
The favourite in this race is the four-year-old course and distance winner Game Player who looked progressive for Roger Varian last season. But, he is stepping up in class here and is also running from out the handicap and I prefer others in the race. One I am more interested in is Mubtasim, who as a juvenile won three of his five starts, however he failed to find the winners enclosure in his next 13 starts during his three and four-year-old racing career. He has now moved from William Haggis to Charlie Appleby and Godolphin and made his first start for his new connections at Meydan in February, where he landed a decent handicap.
He then went very close to making it back-to-back wins, when just going down by a length to stable rival On The Warpath three weeks later at the same track. The two face off again today but perhaps the biggest tip is that, retained Godolphin jockey and first jockey for trainer Charlie Appleby, William Buick has decided to ride Mubtasim. With further improvement expected back on British soil, I think he can gain his second win from three starts for his new connections.