Friday Racing Tips: Take a Journey to the pay-out counter with Gosden colt

Tony has two selections for Friday's racing at Newmarket
Tony has two selections for Friday's racing at Newmarket

With some tricky conditions races, as well as a four-runner contest, amongst Channel 4's offering from Newmarket, our big-price value hunter Tony Calvin is keeping his powder relatively dry with just the two selections for you to consider...


"She was sent off a 33-1 chance at Salisbury last time after a modest run at Newcastle, but she absolutely bolted up in the style that screamed Group 3 class at least, beating the 100-rated favourite Suffused 2 ¼ lengths, and the merit of the performance was backed up by a good time."

Back Journey @ 5.04/1 or bigger - 14:30 Newmarket

When all is said and done, it isn't the most attractive betting card I've ever seen at Newmarket on Friday - tightly-knit conditions races rarely are - and I suspect that many punters will be looking to Spangled to get them off to a winning start in the opener at 13:55.

But, while I think that she is much the likeliest winner, the question is do we get involved at the top end of the market in a trappy race?

It is not the kind of price we normally play at, but I thought odds of 5.04/1 and bigger were pretty fair. So the answer is yes.

Spangled is highly-regarded by the in-form Roger Varian stable and plenty went wrong for her over 7f at York last time, where she was always playing catch-up after a poor start.

She clearly shaped very promisingly though in staying on to be fourth, and the step up to 1m with ease in the ground will surely see her step forward. But she does need to.

Lavender Lane is rated 9lb her superior on the form she showed when a close-up sixth in the Group 1 Prix De L'Opera last season, while another five in here are also officially better than Spangled as it stands.

But I think Spangled will improve past them all, with perhaps Ascot handicap winner Light And Shade for those who want a bigger-priced alternative.


*****


If Journey is as good as she looked at Salisbury last time then she will take a world of beating in the 14:30. The problem for her potential backers is the extra 2f and the easier ground. And a 3lb penalty.

But, as with Spangled in the first, I thought that odds of around 5.04/1 and bigger were fair, as I was expecting her to be a point or so shorter.

She was sent off a 33-1 chance at Salisbury last time after a modest run at Newcastle, but she absolutely bolted up in the style that screamed Group 3 class at least, beating the 100-rated favourite Suffused 2 ¼ lengths, and the merit of the performance was backed up by a good time.

Robert Havlin got off and said the filly "gave me the feeling that she may stay a mile and a half", and the breeding suggests it shouldn't be a problem. And the ground is drying out all the time at Newmarket.

I may even put the two selections in an each-way double, as I'll be disappointed if they aren't at least placed. But it's a low-stakes day, for sure.


*****


Two-year-old old Group races packed with unexposed horses aren't usually my cup of tea, and it is no surprise that the Rockfel Stakes at 15:05 doesn't float my boat.

Prestige Stakes winner Hawksmoor looks the most solid of the septet, but her price reflects that and it wouldn't be the greatest surprise if any of the maiden winners stepped up and improved past her. No bet.


*****


And the same is true of the Group 2 Joel Stakes at 15:40.

Quite how a £100k Group 2 race likely to be run on perfect ground can attract just four runners is little short of a disgrace, but at least the last horse home is assured of £5,360. It is a joke, quite frankly.

Time Test captured the imagination of most when winning the Tercentenary at Royal Ascot in a great time but he disappointed somewhat in the International last time, and connections are stepping him back to a mile and down in class.

The hallmark of his Ascot win was his change of gear, so I don't envisage the trip being a problem, but whether I want to back him at odds-on against Custom Cut (actually rated 1lb higher) and two other capable horses on their day is another matter.

One thing is for sure. The sponsors and course deserve better for staging such a valuable race.


*****

The remainder of the card is on RUK, and the Silver Cambridgeshire is definitely worth a second look on the end of the card, but I'll just go with the two small-stakes selections on a tricky day.

If the bets aren't there, don't try to force them. If there is one thing our fixture list ensures, it is that the next decent punting opportunity isn't far away. And that is tomorrow.


Recommended Bets

Back Spangled @ 5.04/1 or bigger - 13:55 Newmarket
Back Journey @ 5.04/1 or bigger - 14:30 Newmarket


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