The opening race at Newbury on Saturday (13:50) looks a cracker, and Eqtidaar is fully expected to build on his promising return behind Invincible Army at Ascot this month. He went with plenty of enthusiasm that day, and seems sure to improve again, so is fancied to return to winning ways before having his sights raised further.
The 14:25 should be a formality for Sir Michael Stoute’s rising star Crystal Ocean, who showed a great attitude to prevail on his return at Sandown last month. A bit like Tony Bellew, Crystal Ocean is a late-maturing type that could go right to the top this season, and he is strongly fancied to notch another win here.
Salford City will likely find life tougher having been promoted to the National League, but just like Masaar, they have the backing and pedigree to make a good fist of it, and will likely be pushing for promotion again. Masaar’s pedigree strongly suggests he will be well suited by this step up to a mile and a quarter in the 15:00, and a subsequent 8lb rise for his win at Doncaster last time could underestimate him; it would be no surprise were he plying his trade at listed/Group level later this season.
The Lockinge Stakes at 15:40 is the feature race on the card and looks a cracking renewal. The one we like is Beat The Bank, who did nothing but progress last season – unlike Sunderland – and should have even more to offer. He is forgiven his below-par run in the QE ll on his final start at the end of a long year, and has been aimed at this race since, so there is plenty to like about his chances at the prices.
Dave Dexter sounds like the kid in the pub who has had more Lucky 15s on than pints he’s bought all year, but in actual fact he was an American music journalist, record company executive and producer in the 50s/60s. Anyway, the equine Dave Dexter has sound claims in the 16:15, and is preferred to the likely favourite The Irish Rover, who was turned over at prohibitive odds at Ascot last time.
It could be a very profitable day for the Rothschild’s – not like every other day isn’t – as they also own Crystal Hope, who is a half-sister to Crystal Ocean. The manner of her victory on return at Sandown last month marked her down as a potentially smart filly, and the form has taken a couple of boosts since, too. Like her half-brother earlier on the card, it will be a surprise if she’s beaten in the 16:50 race.
John Gosden is enjoying another fantastic season so far and his Pouvoir Magique could provide him with another winner in the final race at 17:25. Pouvoir Magique was progressive last season, winning twice, and rates as the type to go on improving this year having been gelded since last seen.