With the ITV cameras in town, we asked Mark Milligan to take a look at the second day of Newmarket's Cambridgeshire meeting and our man has a pair to back...
"Fireworks could well be chucked in starting off life in handicaps from a mark of just 86..."
The Group 2 Unibet 'You're On' Joel Stakes (15:35) highlights the second day of Newmarket's Cambridgeshire meeting and it could well lie between the Godolphin pair of Master Of The Seas and Benbatl for major honours.
The former hasn't been seen since finishing a short-head second to Poetic Flare in the 2000 Guineas at this track in May, where he continued his progression having taken the Craven Stakes before that. Charlie Appleby has had his string in rude health all season and this one is unlikely to lack for fitness.
Benbatl is an infrequent visitor to the track nowadays and has to go down as a bit of a disappointment when just touched off by Lavender's Blue in the Celebration Mile at Goodwood last month.
He should come on for that run but the jury is out as to whether he's quite the force he was a couple of years ago.
Laneqash is a low-mileage three-year-old who has posted excellent placed efforts over seven furlongs in the Hungerford at Newbury and the Park Stakes at Doncaster on his only two starts this season. He could well have more to offer as he steps up to a mile for the first time and it's not beyond the bounds of possibility that he'll improve enough to trouble the top pair.
Without doubt the most intriguing runner in the race is the South African import Queen Supreme, who boasted some smart form for Mike de Kock in her native land. She's a seven-time winner, including twice at the top level, so clearly has plenty of ability. Whether she'll need this having not been seen since January is probably the major question mark.
In summary, this isn't really a race I'll be looking to bet in, though it's an interesting contest and one that will be well worth watching. It will be something of a surprise if the top three in the betting don't come to the fore, though the market seems to have all the bases well covered.
Majestic poised for more glory
Of more interest from a punting perspective is the other Group 2 contest on the card, the Unibet Rockfel Stakes at 15:00, with Majestic Glory likely to take plenty of beating.
Andrew Balding's Frankel filly took a couple of runs to find her feet but got off the mark at the third attempt when taking a novice contest on the July course with plenty in hand. She followed up in the Sweet Solera Stakes at the same track last time, keeping on well to beat Godolphin's Wild Beauty by a length.
That form was franked in no uncertain terms last Sunday when Charlie Appleby's filly fairly bolted up in a Canadian Grade 1, one of four top-level winners for that stable in North America at the weekend.
Majestic Glory's form looks rock-solid and I was a little surprised to see her put in at around the 7/2 mark, a price that looks well worth taking about a filly who's firmly on the up.
Of the opposition, it may well be George Boughey's Oscula who gives the selection most to think about. She's had a busy time of things but proved better than ever on her first crack at seven furlongs when recording win number three in the Prix Six Perfections at Deauville on her penultimate start. She wasn't far off that level when third in the Prix du Calvados over same the C&D a month ago.
The unbeaten Jumbly is another one that should have a big say in proceedings. This daughter of Gleneagles was a ready winner of a Leicester maiden on her debut and looked a potentially smart prospect when following up hard held at Kempton three weeks ago. She'll get a class test here but looks a filly with a big future.
A well-handicapped Haggas horse
The supporting ITV races on Newmarket's card don't make a great deal of appeal from a betting perspective, though there looks a solid selection later in the day once the terrestrial cameras have stopped rolling.
The Unibet Casino Deposit £10 And Get £40 Bonus Handicap (16:40) features a young horse making his handicap debut that could well have got in very lightly.
Fireworks had no trouble landing odds of 1/7 in a small race at Beverley last time but it's his previous outing when second to Derab at Newbury that marks him out as potentially well-handicapped here.
The winner has gone on to prove himself in pattern company and is now rated 116 by Timeform, whilst the third Injazati brought up the hat-trick in a classy handicap just last week. That one now boasts a Timeform rating of 107.
It doesn't take a genius to work out that on those form lines Fireworks could well be chucked in starting off life in handicaps from a mark of just 86. William Haggas knows the time of day with this type and I'll be disappointed if his charge can't readily defy that opening mark before going on to better things.