I had initially planned to do a few previous this morning on the bumper card of racing we have before us (seriously? Who’s idea was it to have so much on one day?), but sadly once again the weather has taken its toll completely ruining everything and giving us Soft/Heavy ground at Newmarket – however we have one saving grace is that York are only Good to Soft.
Unfortunately York is probably my worst punting track out there, so confidence at picking a winner on the Knavesmire isn’t overly high given that it throws up rather strange results on a regular basis.
One I do like the look of today runs in the John Smith’s Cup (3:00) in the shape of Mijhaar, and although he looks likely to go off favourite I thought there was plenty to like about his performance in the Wolfreton Stakes at Royal Ascot last time.
Sitting to the fore of a truly run race, Neil Callan kicked his mount on 2.5 furlongs from home, putting a gap of around 3L between himself on the field before trying to hold off the closers inside the final furlong. The fact that only Mijhaar and Retrieve (to a lesser extent) managed to stay towards the fore at the end of the race suggests both their performances can be upgraded, considering that the first Gatewood, the second Black Spirit and fourth Qaraaba all came from towards the rear.
I did my speed figures for the race and got the run as being massive on the clock, so I’m pleased to see Roger Varian reaching for an aid that is being utilized so well these days in the hood. Mijhaar can be quite keen in his races, and the Knavesmire or Royal Ascot wouldn’t be the most ideal places to keep a horse calm with any temperament issues, but the hood will certainly help that problem now (presuming there is one).
I think although he is only around the 7-2 mark, there is value in that price off his current mark of 102, as that performance at Royal Ascot marked him down as a horse able to hold his own in pattern company, and thus should be capable of winning a decent handicap off this mark providing he can settle early on.
Elsewhere today in the 4:20 at Newbury, Qaraaba returns to the track for the first time since her Ascot fourth behind Gatewood and Mijhaar. She has to have a solid chance of picking up some black-type here, but has a solid rival in Retrieve. I pointed her out in my Flat 2012 Ten Horses To Follow piece at the start of the month, so will be watching her performance with interest.
[notification_box]2pts win Mijhaar @ 4-1 with StanJames[/notification_box]