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Karl Burke’s SPYCATCHER already had some very good juvenile form in the book and showed what he had trained on with a smooth victory on his return to action in 2021. He stepped up again when second at Ascot last time behind a leading Commonwealth Cup hope Rohaan.
He needs to find a pinch of improvement to take care of Tactical and Creative Force, but there is every reason to expect him to do so. Ryan Moore takes over in the saddle and that’s a massive bonus.
JOHN LEEPER could be the absolute sleeper in the Derby market at the moment, as he is completely unexposed and we have no idea where his ceiling may be. Short on experience, this will give him a perfect preparation going into the big one at Epsom, although he’s not going to learn as much as he would’ve done in one of the trials at Chester or Lingfield.
He needs to be impressive to make a ripple in the market, but that’s highly possible here. He looks a solid each-way alternative for Epsom at the moment. If he wins as expected, he’s going to be much shorter.
William Haggas’ AL AASY definitely has a touch of temperament and the team have kept him close to home for most of his starts to date. He made the journey to Newbury last time, but very nearly threw it away in the preliminaries by being coltish and quite awkward to handle.
He still destroyed the opposition and given the patient approach from the handler, he can take care of The 2019 St Leger winner Logician.
CLOUDBRIDGE absolutely bolted up on his racecourse debut and was punted as if defeat was out of the question on his second try at York in the Acomb Stakes. He came unstuck being very keen in the early stages and had nothing left to offer late on, so it clearly wasn’t a true reflection of his ability.
He only just failed to get up late in the day at Kempton on his only subsequent outing and he has been gelded over the winter, which should gain him some focus. Bellosa bolted up at Newmarket, however this is much deeper company.
It took Roger Varian’s DUBAWI SANDS three tries to reach the winners’ enclosure, but he did so in pretty impressive fashion at Ripon last time despite looking ill at ease on the undulations. He’s got a wonderful pedigree being related to a 2,000 Guineas winner and he looks to have slightly more stamina than his sibling. John Gosden’s Highland Rocker will be popular having won over 1m 4f last time, but he may just lack the pace of the selection now dropped back down to 1m 2f.
I’m in danger of making JUMBY another ‘cliff’ horse, but it is understandable after a luckless return to action at this venue last month behind Creative Force. He was continuously checked when the race was hotting up and he did remarkably well to finish third.
A rating of 95 underestimates his true ability and William Buick is in the saddle for Saturday’s assignment. His regular partner Charlie Bishop is at Newbury to partner Accidental Agent. He can provide title chaser Buick with another winner.
It’s very easy to put Palace Pier forward as on all-known form and he has outstanding claims, but at the prices there has to be a solid each-way option in the line-up.
LADY BOWTHORPE fits the bill and she managed to win on her reappearance in Group Two Company at Newmarket despite still looking slightly ‘big’ in the preliminaries. She also got quite hot and given that run should’ve taken the freshness out of her, she can put up an improved display.
It will be needed back at Grade 1 level, but she won’t mind any ease in the ground. Expect Oisin Murphy to ride her confidently and be played late to get a slice of the pie at rewarding odds.
13:50 Newbury – Spycatcher
14:05 Newmarket – John Leeper
14:25 Newbury – Al Aasy
14:40 Newmarket – Cloudbridge
15:00 Newbury – Dubawi Sands
15:15 Newmarket – Jumby
15:35 Newbury – Palace Pier & Lady Bowthorpe (each-way)
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