Newmarket's Craven meeting provides the highest quality racing on Thursday but with a pair of tricky maidens to negotiate early on in the card, it doesn't look the easiest from a placepot perspective. Therefore, Timeform's Matt Gardner heads to Ripon for today's permutation...
"Swilly Ferry featured in the 2012 edition of Timeform’s Horses to Follow, and he is potentially very well treated on his best form..."
14:10 - The George Moore-trained Lady Poppy made her debut in the Brocklesby at Doncaster, shaping as if she would benefit for the run. She is a half-sister to the high-class sprinter Overdose, and could well make her experience tell in today's field of newcomers. It's also worth including Fly Fisher, who hails from the Richard Fahey yard and is a brother to six (including as a two-year-old) and seven furlong winner Puff, as well as being a half-brother to three other winners.
14:45 - With Invisible Man a non-runner, just four go to post in the minor event, leaving the race fairly looking trappy, With that in mind the sensible option is to include both Jet Away or Black Spirit. The former won a pair of similar races last season, at York and Lingfield, but raced too keenly returned to listed company on his final start. He has to concede weight all round, but looks a more likely winner than either New Hampshire or Wannabe King. Black Spirit largely held his own in decent races last year, comes to the race on the back of a solid effort when fourth in the Winter Derby, and looks to have leading claims.
15:20 - Swilly Ferry featured in the 2012 edition of Timeform's Horses to Follow, and he is potentially very well treated on his best form. Admittedly, he has shown only glimpses of his best since scoring at Newmarket in 2010, but he is entitled to come on for his debut for his current stable at Doncaster. Able Master was a pretty smart performer for Bryan Smart in 2009, and displayed much more encouraging signs on his first start for David O'Meara at Redcar earlier this month, finishing strongly. The sharp nature of today's track may not suit ideally, although he did win on his racecourse debut at the course back in 2008, and he could well stay on for a place.
15:55 - The Mark Johnston-trained Hajras, a half-brother to Middle Park winner Awzaan, was a decisive winner on his debut at Wolverhampton last month, looking green at stages but quickening clear to win in good style. He has the scope for plenty of improvement and goes in as our first banker.
16:30 - Turn your attention back to the Redcar race in which Able Master finished sixth, and one place further back you will find Toby Tyler. This hold-up performer thrived in 2011, winning six times, and is now just 3 lb above his last triumphant mark. He is yet to find his form this year, but he stayed on from rear at Redcar and may be up to making the places here. The Tim Easterby-trained Fast Shot was most consistent last year and looked in need of his reappearance when down the field in the aforementioned Redcar race. He is on a feasible mark if getting back to the sort of form he demonstrated last season.
17:05 - The John Gosden-trained Gravitate is selected as a final leg banker, as he is expected to improve plenty for his debut at Yarmouth earlier this month. Finishing third to Falcon In Flight, Gravitate looked to be learning throughout the race, soon off the bridle towards the rear of the field before finishing well. He represents powerful connections, and looks to be a big player.
14:10 - 2, 6
14:45 - 1, 3
15:20 - 2, 7
15:55 - 10
16:30 - 6, 10
17:05 - 7
= 16 lines
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