Newmarket preview: Abernant Stakes (15:30)
Music Master has some top class form to his name, and looks a worthy favourite to take advantage of a drop in class and land the Group 3 Abernant Stakes at Newmarket today (15:30).
This Henry Candy trained five-year-old developed into a very sort last season when showing progressive form to climb the sprinting ranks.
After easily landing a conditions’ contest at Windsor on his seasonal reappearance, Music Master went on to run a stormer at Royal Ascot when finishing a 2 3/4 length fourth of 14 to the brilliant Slade Power in the Group 1 Diamond Jubliee Stakes.
The son of Piccolo then got back on the winning trail in a Group 3 contest at Newbury, before rounding off the campaign with an excellent third of 17 to G Force in a Group 1 contest at Haydock.
Music Master’s runs behind Slade Power and G Force stand out like a sore thumb in this grade and, with the prospect of further improvement on the cards, he is going to be very hard to beat for a handler who traditionally has his horses fit and ready to go at the first time of asking.
Astaire shaped well when runner-up on his seasonal reappearance, and looks the obvious one to take advantage if Music Master under-performs.
The four-year-old travelled well for along way before going down by 1 1/4 lengths to Naadirr in the Listed Cammidge Trophy at Doncaster, and is a dual winner over course and distance.
However, the Kevin Ryan trained son of Intense Focus twice finished behind Music Master last season, and it’s hard to say where he will find the necessary improvement to turn the tables with that rival on all known form.
Of the rest, the consistent Jack Dexter looks sure to give it his best shot.
This Jim Goldie trained gelding has been a tremendous servant for connections, winning eight of his 29 starts.
The six-year-old ran well on his seasonal reappearance when keeping on to finish fourth in the aforementioned Cammidge Trophy, and is very closely matched with Astaire on that running.
Jack Dexter is sure to come on for that outing, but all his best form has come on soft ground and today’s quick underfoot conditions are far from ideal.