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Newmarket preview: Craven Stakes (16:05)

| 16.04.2015

This year’s renewal of the Craven Stakes has a very wide open look to it, and White Lake is taken to provide trainer Luca Cumani with his first winner of the 1m Group 3 contest (16:05).

The colt has only had two starts as a juvenile and looked a smart prospect when defying odds of 25/1 to score on his debut at York in the most valuable maiden in the calender.

After being held-up towards the rear, White Lake made smooth headway two from home before being ridden to take up the running at the furlong marker to win going away by two lengths from Secret Brief.

The runner-up is a smart sort who went on two win his next three races, including two valuable sales races at Newmarket, and the pair pulled 3 1/4 lengths clear of the third to give the form a solid look.

It was a very taking performance by White lake, and one which saw him sent off the heavily-backed 8/11 favourite to land a 7f Listed contest at Doncaster.

White Lake kept on from off the pace to finish a 1/2 length fourth of seven to Nafaqa, showing distinct signs of inexperience but sticking to the task well.

It was a performance which suggested the son of Pivotal had the potential to do far better as a three-year-old, and the step up in trip today looks sure to suit.

Nafaqa is an obvious danger again in this Newmarket contest, as he went on to finish an excellent runner-up to Elm Park in the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes at Ascot after beating the selection at Doncaster.

That form sets the standard, but the Barry Hills trained colt had the benefit two runs when beating White Lake and I am not convinced that he has as much scope for improvement as that rival.

The Hannon team have won the last three runnings of the contest, and are represented by Mahoot.

This well-bred son of High Chaparral created a huge impression when bolting up by seven lengths on his debut at Salisbury and is open to any amount of improvement.

Mahoot also has the services of Frankie Dettori in the saddle, and given connections record in the race commands the utmost respect.

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David Metcalf

A lifelong Manchester United supporter, David has over 25 years’ experience in the media industry having worked for regional and national newspapers. He is a huge horse racing, football and greyhound fan and has done interviews on various radio and TV stations, including talkSPORT and Sky Sports, whilst working as a PR front man for a betting firm. David has also written for most of the top Premier League football fan websites, and produced a Cheltenham Festival guide with former eight-times champion national hunt jockey Peter Scudamore, MBE, after helping him to set up a syndicate for his trainer son Michael.