BY: Paul Harrison
Plenty of excellent racing across this Saturday’s cards and we have unearthed a couple of solid looking bets in two of the days lesser races. First race of the day at Newmarket is the Winner App EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes (2.10). The horse to make the most appeal from a trainer/breeding perspective is the John Gosden trained Shalaa. In the past five season’s Gosden is boasting a close to 20% strike rate in Maiden races with runners who have already experienced the racecourse. This will be the second start for this bay by Invincible Spirit who does pretty well with 2 year olds (15% strike rate). In addition his dam Ghuraa won on her debut at two. The only problem with this one is how poorly he ran on his debut just two weeks ago. Trailing in last of the eight runners, he looked pretty clueless and will have to have been sharpened up considerably in the interim. He will no doubt prove better than that in time but this may come just a bit too soon.
The one to take this could very well be the William Haggas trained, Recorder. A product of the Galileo/Danehill Dancer cross this horse can be said to be royally bred in more ways than one, as the owner breeder is The Queen. Dam, Memory, won her first three outings over this trip, including the Group 2 Cherry Hinton Stakes at this track. Trainer Haggas has a well above average record in maidens overall and appears to be hitting a real purple patch at present with a massive 60% strike rate in such races in 2015. Improvement from the Gosden runner is feared and Pergamino and Broadway Icon look promising on paper but not as promising as Recorder who should be backed to take this.
The seven race card up at Chepstow also opens with a sprint maiden (Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden Stakes 5.45), this time over the minimum trip of five furlongs. Charles Hills, Sahreej was a relatively expensive purchase at 160,000 Guineas and his owners may be starting to question the wisdom of that investment following two defeats at the track to date. In truth he hasn’t run poorly at all, only being beaten just over a length on each of his two racecourse outings. We feel those performances can be upgraded somewhat as the Hills yard was in the doldrums at the time of those races. With 5 winners from his previous 14 runners at the time of writing, Hill’s certainly appears to have turned the corner now. If any of that improvement rubs off on Sahreej he should be tough to beat here. Husbandry would be the stand out rival on pedigree but his trainer Andrew Balding’s strike rate of just 4.2% with debutants tempers enthusiasm. Mick Channon’s Unilit looks the best of the others to have run but appeared to take a backwards step last time out following an encouraging debut. Sahreej certainly doesn’t appear to be the world beater connections may have hoped but he should be well up to landing this Class 5 contest.