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newmarket top picks 18/04/2023 preview suggested bets sport-preview

Newmarket Top Picks 18/04/2023 – Preview & Suggested Bets

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Newmarket, Tuesday 18th April

2:25 – National Stud Handicap

The obvious place to start here is with the Godolphin trained New Kingdom at the top of the weights.

He won a competitive Meydan handicap in Dubai last month, but Charlie Appleby’s charge has saved his best form for the UAE and both his career wins have come in races where he has been able to dominate from the front. That won’t be so easy here from stall 9 and with a couple of other forward going horses in this field, he is likely to be taken on for the lead and that makes him vulnerable with 9-9 on his back.

Several of these runners are making their seasonal return and will probably be using this race as a springboard to bigger targets but our selection VAFORTINO has already made his comeback.

He finished 3 rd in a Handicap at Kempton last month where he travelled strongly into the race, keeping on behind the improving Mount Athos. He wasn’t given a hard time once his chance had gone, but he kept on in the manner of a horse who would improve for his first run since September.

Since switching to Kevin Philippart du Foy, he has won a Victoria Cup at Ascot and a valuable claiming event at Goodwood and last season he won at Ascot after making a promising return on the All-Weather at Newcastle. He is race fit and has proven himself capable at this level in the past which makes him one of the better bets on the opening day of the Newmarket season.

3:35 – Earl of Sefton Stakes (Group 3)

After a truly remarkable victory together in Dubai it is no surprise to see James Doyle keeps the ride on Blue Trail, who is the obvious pace angle.

He is preferred to his stablemate Ottoman Fleet, but there is no doubt that the long sweeping bends of Meydan assisted Blue Trail and the return to a straight track may not help him, especially if he is as keen as he has been in the past.

There is an angle into this race with Intellogent, who proved that he handled soft ground during his time in France and was 2 nd here in the Free Handicap at this meeting 12- months ago. He will probably run his race, but he hasn’t won since February 2021 and despite running some good races, he is 0-7 for his current yard.

Epic Poet makes his debut for Freddie & Martyn Meade and proved during his time in France that he can handle soft ground, but this is the deepest race he has ever contested, and the removal of headgear doesn’t look an obvious move given his high head carriage.

All of this has led us to the conclusion that the most likely winner is the unexposed POKER FACE.

He made a mockery of his opening handicap mark (87) when winning a Pontefract handicap by 8-lengths in October and looks well worth a shot at this level on that evidence. He missed his intended return in the Doncaster Mile on account of the ground, but Newmarket should be much less testing than the opening day on Town Moor, especially with a dry forecast earlier in the week.

He is a hugely exciting prospect for this season and the Crisford team have gone to the trouble of booking Ryan Moore for this first step into Pattern company, which would suggest they mean business.

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