Betfair Ambassador Ryan Moore has six booked rides on the first day of Newmarket's Craven meeting, and here he gives his honest and frank thoughts on each...
Ryan Moore on King George River;
"He may not have as sexy a profile as some of these, but he has progressed since Lingfield and is a fit and improving horse and the form of his handicap win over 1m1f off a mark of 89 at Wolverhampton last month is pretty solid form."
13:45 Newmarket - Messila Star
I haven't sat on him at home so I can't tell you a great deal. But Jeremy's horses seem in good form and pretty forward, and this one certainly looks the part on breeding, being a well-related Pivotal colt who cost 215,000gns as a yearling. And 7f looks a good starting point for him. As you would expect of a Newmarket maiden at the Craven meeting, there are horses in here with a decent level of form already to their name, and other newcomers from top stables, so we will just have to see how we get on. Sorry I can't give you a clearer picture!
14:55 Newmarket - Amberley Heights
There are two or three in here that stand out on form, and Molecomb and Cornwallis winner Bungleinthejungle is arguably the best of them. He is a very fast horse, so the fact he races over 6f here gives the rest of us hope of evening up the gap; I probably wouldn't read too much into his only start over 6f in Ireland, when it coincided with very soft ground and his only start in Group 1 company, but the trip is an unknown for him. Badr Al Badoor didn't progress from a very promising maiden win so I think you probably have to say that Richard Hannon has the best chance of beating Bungleinthejungle.
Unfortunately for me that probably comes in the shape of his Victrix Ludorum and Tamayuz Star, and not my mount Amberley Heights! She is only rated 78 after a soft ground maiden win over 6f at Newbury in July, so looks well up against it. But this is a £100,000 race and it is worth a shot, and on the plus side she is clearly unexposed and did it well at Newbury. But she needs to improve two stone to win this if the form horses run their races.
15:30 Newmarket - Lucky Beggar
I have ridden a couple of winners for Charlie this season, and his horses generally seem in good order. This doesn't seem a vintage Free Handicap - in truth its' days of being a serious Guineas Trial are long gone - and Lucky Beggar looks fairly handicapped on a couple of pieces of placed form in listed races at York and Ascot on soft ground. And he also has form on good ground. He is unproven over 7f but looking at his pedigree, I think the step up in trip could suit him - although I accept his run-style as a juvenile did not suggest that. He has each way chances in a race that is hard to weigh up.
16:40 Newmarket - King George River
With so many lightly-raced and unexposed horses in here, this is pretty much a guessing game. But your eyes are immediately drawn to the Andre Fabre horse Intello. While the form of his two wins over a mile in France haven't worked out that well, he doesn't bring horses over here for the good of his health and I would say the betting is likely to greatly respects this one's chances. And rightly so.
I would think that my mount may well be a bit bigger in the betting but I wouldn't dismiss his chances at all. I know they have always thought a lot of him, as they were pretty downbeat when I just chinned him in a photo at Lingfield in February. He may not have as sexy a profile as some of these, but he has progressed since Lingfield and is a fit and improving horse and the form of his handicap win over 1m1f off a mark of 89 at Wolverhampton last month is pretty solid form, with the runner-up just touched off next time. I think the trainer is of the opinion that he wants further than this in time - he holds entries in the Dante and Derby - but he is clearly effective over this trip. I think he will run ok.
17:15 Newmarket - Battalion
William looks to have a lot of nice unraced 3yo this season and I hope Battalion is one of them. I haven't sat on him at home but he is a well-related Authorised colt, and the fact that he has a Derby entry clearly isn't a negative either. And the stable's horses look in good nick. There are other interesting horses in here, including another newcomer of William's, and some horses with decent maiden form at two. Morpheus will get a lot of attention as Frankel's half-brother but Tom has opted to ride Henry's other horse, Demonic, in here. He clearly disappointed them on his only start at two, but I have heard that he has been going well enough at home and he holds a Dante entry too. He could be the one to beat but, again, at this stage of the season you are effectively guessing in these 3yo maidens.
17:45 Newmarket - Dutch Masterpiece
The only blemish on his scorecard is when he didn't handle Goodwood. But he is three from three apart from that, and I liked him when I rode him to win over 5f in the soft at Haydock back in October. The question mark is whether he can run to that level of form over 6f on better ground, conditions that he had when disappointing at Goodwood. If he handles them today, then I give him chances. And I think he is a fairly enough handicapped too off a 4lb higher mark than at Haydock. But this is obviously a very competitive race and I'm not sure whether being drawn two of 17 is a positive or not at the moment. That said, I walked the track earlier in the week and there was no bias. It is where the pace is that will count.