Craven Meeting Tips: Four to back on the first day of action at Newmarket

Will you back any of Tony's quartet?
Will you back any of Tony's quartet?

Big prices tipster Tony Calvin offers up a quartet of horses to back on the opening day of Newmarket's Craven Meeting...

"I wasn't expecting New Providence to be available at 10.09/1 in the Nell Gwyn at 16:05 so she gets the vote in an admittedly very trappy-looking race. Hugo Palmer has won with his only turf runner in 2015, and in New Providence he has one of the form fillies coming into this race courtesy of her course and distance third in the Rockfel in a good time."

The Craven meeting is not on C4 these days, but the two-day Newmarket card certainly wouldn't have looked out of place on terrestrial TV, so yours truly has been drafted in to hopefully point you in the right direction. It makes sense to attack the card in chronological order, so here we go...

Acaster Malbis and Akeed Champion are the form horses in the opener at 13:45 but it is no surprise to see Hakam near the top of the betting.

He was heavily-backed to make a winning debut at Lingfield but he was just worried out of it by a more experienced rival with solid maiden form that day.

This $450,000 yearling is well-regarded and I suspect that he will go one better here - Charlie's father Barry won this race four times from 2005-11 - but he will be winning without my money given his current odds are just shy of what I was expecting. He was 9-2 when the Betfair Sportsbook opened up earlier today, but he is only trading at the 4.03/1 mark on the exchange now, which just puts me off in a race full of unexposed horses.

Ravenhoe is the only horse with experience in the 14:20 and he effectively has a 6lb penalty courtesy of his Brocklesby win; he gets 3lb for the victory and newcomers get a 3lb allowance in this.

It is no surprise to see him head the market at around 6-4. And it's a guessing game as to which of the newcomers will be the sharpest, though David Brown won this race last year and had a first time out juvenile winner at Musselburgh earlier in the month and his Swirral Edge is all speed.

The Warrior looks a worthy favourite in the £100,000 3yo Sprint at 14:55 given that he is the highest-rated horse in the race and who made a winning reappearance at the Curragh at the end of last month.

But I am going to take him on with a horse rated some 25lb lower in the shape of Nuno Tristran at odds of 15.014/1.

Obviously, he has to improve dramatically to win this - though Magnus Maximus was similarly lowly-rated when winning this race at 25-1 last season - but William Jarvis obviously believes it is worth risking a very workable handicap mark of 81 to go for this valuable prize.

And Jarvis was pretty effusive about the colt after he landed a gamble by four lengths at Kempton in December. It takes a leap of faith to get with him here in this higher grade, but the price compensates and the 2,000 Guineas entry did create a very favourable impression at Kempton.

Faydhan is a red-hot favourite at around 1.454/9 in the Free Handicap at 15:30 and I wouldn't be in a rush to back him or oppose him. He looked a potential top-notcher when sweeping aside a very good horse in Dutch Connection last season, and I strongly suspect that he is much better than a 102-rated horse.

But as for backing him at 4-9, no thanks.

I wasn't expecting New Providence to be available at 10.09/1 in the Nell Gwyn at 16:05 so she gets the vote in an admittedly very trappy-looking race.

Hugo Palmer has won with his only turf runner in 2015, and in New Providence he has one of the form fillies coming into this race courtesy of her course and distance third in the Rockfel in a good time.

Obviously, we can only guess at the readiness of these fillies - the early betting is speaking in the favour of Lady Correspondent - but Palmer's string look in fair nick, and he does report her as "hard fit", so she is worth the risk.

We know Peacock is straight enough here, and he is also the joint highest-rated horse in the race alongside Disegno, whose stable have yet to catch fire this season.

So he is probably the safest betting conveyance, especially as the step up to 1m1f looks sure to suit on breeding.

Connections were talking in terms of a Guineas trial after he won at Kempton earlier in the month but on reflection the style of that win and his pedigree - he may be by Paco's Boy but his distaff side is all stamina - has prompted them to come here, and I think that's a wise move.

Back Peacock at odds of 6.25/1 in the 16:40. But keep stakes on the low side, as it is clearly a race full of question marks and Golden Horn has been nibbled at already.

The maiden at 17:10 is too much of a guessing game for me.

The 6f handicap on the end of the card has been won by plenty of horses who have gone to make their mark in the highest grade, not least July Cup winner Sakhee's Secret in 2007, King's Stand victor Prohibit in 2008 and Es Que Love, who took the Lennox Stakes last season, in 2012.

So your eyes are immediately drawn to the lightly-raced sexy types - such as Properus on his first run for William Haggas, or Spiriting - rather than seemingly more exposed horses such as Surewecan.

But it is the latter is who will be getting a few quid of my money at odds of 15.014/1 in the 17:40.

He only went down by ½ length to Charming Thought on his final start at Leicester, and we all know what the winner did next time up in the Middle Park, but things haven't worked out for him in three starts this year.

He showed very little in two outings over 7f in Dubai, but there was a lot of promise in his third over 1m to my Fielden fancy Peacock at Kempton last time.

Okay, it may not have matched up to his juvenile best but he came to win his race at Kempton - he traded at 2.0621/20 in-running, only for his stamina to run out.

That was only 11 days ago, so we know that he won't be lacking anything in fitness, and I think that he reverts to his optimum trip off a winnable mark of 93 on good ground that will suit.

In fact, coming back to the in-running angle, you may want to stick in a cheap in-play lay, as he has been chinned after trading at the following prices in running from his debut onwards: 1.011/100, 2.021/1, 1.910/11, and 2.0621/20 on two occasions.

At the prices, he would be my best bet of the day.


Recommended Bets
Back Nuno Tristan @ 15.014/1 in the 14:55 at Newmarket
Back New Providence @ 10.09/1 in the 16:05 at Newmarket
Back Peacock @ 6.25/1 in the 16:40 at Newmarket
Back Surewecan @ odds of 15.014/1 in the 17:40 at Newmarket

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