Early Bird – 5th May

1:50 Newmarket – Sharja Bridge

Not normally one for short prices in big field handicaps though I am prepared to make an exception in this case. Everything adds up. The form of its last run has been franked by the winner going in again next time and though 4lb higher it looks like it could still be lenient. Also, it is well worth following the yards handicap runners making their seasonal debut when fancied in the betting, ie 4/1 or less. Taking those qualifiers in the last 14 days sees a record of three from four with the fourth coming a close second. Personally I don’t think this is the strongest of races with several horses here looking high in the weights and ageing. With this having the potential of being at least listed class then its price is still worth taking.

1.5pt win Sharja Bridge @ 3/1 Bet365, Skybet and BetVictor

3:35 Newmarket – Murillo & Saxon Warrior

Have to say that I don’t have much opinion on the Guineas. Unlike Cheltenham where I am thinking about every race well before the date, the Guineas often passes me by and I struggle to get engrossed by it. Maybe it is because form at this level is difficult to measure with trainers often keeping something back with their horses. Not just that but in a lot of cases trainers just don’t realise what they have and what their horses are capable of. That is why I am taking a pot chance on Murillo. A well bred expensive purchase, he was out early last year, finishing 3rd in the Coventry despite the poor low draw before another third behind Beckford. Not seen since, it is worth considering though that seven of the last ten winners had been off the track for over 6 months, whilst all ten winners had finished in the first three on their last outing. Also, eight of the last ten winners had run in a group 1 or 2 which would rule out the chances of Elarqam. With shocks not impossible in the race, especially from O’Briens lesser fancied runners then I am not ruling out the chance of Murillo e/w.

I have to have a saver on Saxon Warrior also who fits the trends perfectly. Considered the O’Brien second string probably on the back of a lack of a prep, which we have seen is no negative. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if this went off favourite, which again would be a positive as O’Brien has won this race three times in the last seven years with a favourite. Proven group 1 winner (Five of the last ten had won a group 1) who won last time out (Six of the last ten) it has a very good chance on trends.

1.5pt win Saxon Warrior @ 7/2 widely available

0.5pt e/w Murillo @ 50/1 Skybet, Paddy and Coral 1/5th odds 4 places

5:20 Newmarket – Sam Gold

After stating above that you have to be watching closely any Roger Varian runner who is making its seasonal debut in a handicap and is fancied in the betting then I also have to bet Sam Gold. Two solid runs the last twice it has a fair handicap mark and is getting a stone in weight from its main market rival. Already stated how the yards runners can be lined up well for their first run of the year so I fully expect this to go close.

2pt win Sam Gold @ 15/8 Coral and BetVictor

2:40 Goodwood – Masham Star

You have always got to take note of a Johnston horse who is a prominent runner with a favourable draw, as is the case with Masham Star. Doesn’t matter that it has run poorly the last couple of times, though the mile trip probably stretched it last time out. Johnstons horses can often return to form just like that. Was 5th in a stronger race than this last year over course and distance from a worse draw and off a 9lb higher mark. Is rated much higher on the a/w, it is was to transfer that form to turn then it would have an excellent chance here.

1pt e/w Masham Star @ 8/1 4 places 1/5th odds widely available