ITV Races

ITV Racing Tips: A trio of Newmarket picks for Mark Milligan at up to 13/2

Newmarket Racecourse
Mark Milligan has three selections at Newmarket on Friday

Mark Milligan is back to preview the middle day of Newmarket's July meeting and has selections in three of the ITV races...

13:50 Newmarket - Back Involvement each-way

The 1m 2f heritage handicap for three-year-olds that opens Newmarket's Thursday card is an absolute cracker, with strong cases to be made for plenty of the 10-runner field.

Charlie Appleby's Royal Power heads the betting and the weights, and that's presumably on the strength of his sole effort this season when third in a strong-looking listed race at Goodwood in May.

He'll obviously take some beating if stepping forward from that, though he's priced about right and does have to concede some experience to a few of his rivals.

The hat-trick chasing Rebaatt is another for the shortlist, but he's unproven on an easy surface so there may be a bit of a question mark on that score, though the ground could have dried out a little by Thursday afternoon.

The one I like is Involvement, who's yet to race beyond an extended mile but shaped last time as if ready for a step up in trip.

That run came when a good seventh in the fiercely competitive Brittania Handicap at Royal Ascot, where Simon & Ed Crisford's colt managed to finish third in his group, doing his best work late on.

Involvement also has form on easy ground, that coming when second on his prior start in the Sliver Bowl at Haydock. He was double-figure prices when this race first went up, but the current 13/27.50 still makes each-way appeal.

14:25 Newmarket - No Bet

The 6f Group 2 Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes for two-year-old fillies as an open look to it, with Aidan O'Brien's Heavens Gate and Charlie Appleby's Mountain Breeze vying for favouritism at the time of writing.

The former comes in on the back of a good third-place finish to impressive stablemate Fairy Godmother in the Albany, while the latter was only one place behind her in the same race.

However, this is a field where there is the potential for plenty of improvement from quite a few, as can be seen from a quick glance at the time ratings, with eight of the 11 runners having a 'p' attached to their ratings.

In truth, it's not a race I felt compelled to have a strong interest in and am happy to sit this one out.

15:00 Newmarket - Back Bague d'Or each-way

The Johnston stable have a strong record in this 1m 6f heritage handicap, having taken it three times since 2019, and they are strongly represented with three runners, though none of them made that much appeal at first glance.

I was more interested in Bague d'Or for the James Ferguson yard, who's a horse I have a lot of time for in these sorts of races.

A really solid operator, he retuned in fine style on the Rowley Mile course in May, coming home nearly two lengths to the good of Vaguely Royal.

I'm happy to ignore his poor run in the Duke Of Edinburgh at Royal Ascot last time, the drop back to 1m 4f of no use to him whatsoever there, and he's much better operator over this sort of trip.

As you'd expect in a race such as this, there are plenty of dangers, but Bague d'Or is still low mileage for his age, and he'll be tough to keep out of the places if turning up with his 'A' game.

Newmarket 15:35 - Back Running Lion

Porta Fortuna sets the standard in the highlight of Thursday's card, the 1m Group 1 Falmouth Stakes, but it's hardly an insurmountable one and I'm happy to take her on with Running Lion.

John & Thady Gosden's four-year-old filly looked as though she was going to make a big impression at this level when bolting up in the Pretty Polly on the Rowley Mile last season but she didn't really go markedly after that, and in truth hasn't look the heartiest at times.

However, she produced a most impressive performance when making the running for the first time at Royal Ascot last month, winning the Group 2 Duke Of Cambridge Stakes under a canny Oisin Murphy ride.

Front running looks the way to go with her, and it's easy enough to see a scenario developing in this race where she gets the lead to herself once again.

If she's allowed to do her own thing on the front end she'll prove hard to peg back, and a first success at the top level could be in the offing.

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