All Set To Go, Stepper Point, Pether’s Moon worth punts at Newmarket
Newmarket’s Guineas meeting kicks off with three fabulous contests.
This opening race features two horses on the cusp of Group class, but aren’t quite up to that particular level in Bronze Angel and Educate.
The former has the assistance of Louis Steward, who partnered him to his second Cambridgeshire and the Balmoral Handicap on Champions Day at Ascot, but will need his mark to come down more if he is to succeed again in handicaps.
Educate returns to Newmarket off the same mark he was when winning the Cambridgeshire back in 2013 and has a good jockey booking in William Buick. If he is tuned up here for his first outing, then he has the capability to go close.
Sir Michael Stoute is renowned for a patient approach with certain horses. and Top Tug looks the type to be a typical improver from the yard. He was lightly raced last season due to having issues with his feet but looks well handicapped off a mark of 94. The slight concern here is the drop back in distance but he holds a more solid chance than most in the field.
Halation in the first time hood is of interest, but All Set To Go looks the stand-out for National Hunt champion trainer Paul Nicholls.
He showed a fair level of form in Ireland when placed in the Ballysax Stakes behind Fascinating Rock before moving to Ditcheat for a juvenile hurdle campaign but only raced once when beaten in October at Kempton by Stars Over The Sea. A first time tongue tie should benefit and with Frankie Dettori booked, a man who can do no wrong of late, All Set To Go looks ideal.
Sadly this race misses Group One star Sole Power due to a slight setback. In his absence, the class horse looks to be Stepper Point, who chased Sole Power home in the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot and in the Nunthorpe at York.
Gaining Group success when taking the Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh back in September, this has given Stepper Point a three pound penalty here. He ran well enough out in Meydan in the Al Quoz Sprint behind Sole Power last time out and is the best horse in the race.
Without Sole Power’s presence, Stepper Point can capitalise on this. The evergreen Kingsgate Native is still going at the age of 10, having won the Nunthorpe all the way back in 2007 as a two-year-old.
He has ran in this particular race the last two years, finishing second both times to Sole Power and with a good record fresh in the past, he still looks to retain his ability so a bold bid isn’t out of the question.
Watchable improved through the handicap ranks last season over six and seven furlongs, which included a win at the Curragh in September, before looking to feel the effects of a long season at Ayr and York. His return to action was a good effort when second behind Astaire who had the benefit of a recent run. T
he concern here is that this is Watchable’s first attempt at five furlongs and he may get taken off his feet early on. Both Pearl Secret and Justice Day would appreciate any rainfall on the Rowley Mile, whilst Goldream will need to improve again on last year’s form, although you wouldn’t put it past him, especially as he has gone well fresh, most notably at this meeting 12 months ago.
A small but select field turn up for the Group Two Jockey Club Stakes with an odds on shot in Telescope, back in training after a four-year-old campaign that promised plenty but he didn’t deliver entirely.
His only win of the season came at Royal Ascot in the Hardwicke where he disposed of his rivals with contempt, and looked as though he would finally confirm the promise his connections have had.
Giving 15 pounds to Taghrooda proved too much in the King George but it was still an excellent run before the drop back to 10 furlongs inconvenienced him at York in the Juddmonte International and the track at Santa Anita wasn’t suitable in the Breeders Cup Turf. Telescope price is far too short to be getting stuck in at, considering he needed his first run back last year at Sandown behind Noble Mission.
The one to take Telescope on with is Pether’s Moon, who is extremely consistent in these type of races having won two Group Twos last season at Glorious Goodwood and in Turkey at Veliefendi.
This season, he has the benefit of a run when a good second behind Arab Spring in the John Porter and whilst he was firmly put in his place by Telescope in the Hardwicke, if there is a day that Pether’s Moon could beat Telescope, this will be it.
Second Step is a nice horse of Luca Cumani’s, who improved to win a Listed contest at the back end of the season at the Curragh over 12 furlongs. He appeals as a type that will improve again this season and he could potentially go up in trip at some point, whilst Odeon has looked a horse with a fair amount of temperament, although he was gelded over the winter which is a positive to the horse’s progression.