Newmarket’s three-day Cambridgeshire meeting gets underway on Thursday afternoon and we have horse racing tips for two of the eight races taking place.
The quality of the action at Pontefract may not be up to that on show at headquarters but the racing is very competitive and our third tip of the day comes in their 4.03pm contest, a Class 3 sprint handicap run over the minimum trip.
“Tip of the Day” - Thunderous (3.35pm Newmarket) - Evens with William Hill
Back down in grade, Charlie & Mark Johnston’s 2020 Dante Stakes winner should prove too good for his rivals in this two mile Listed race.
2.25pm Newmarket. 6f - Azure Blue
There should be more to come from last week’s Yarmouth winner Tarhib, who has a 5lb penalty to carry for that victory but has since been raised only 4lb by the handicapper.
William Haggas’s charge could still be well treated but preference is for AZURE BLUE, from a stable which does so well when sending its sprinters down south. The Michael Dods-trained three-year-old simply doesn’t know how to run a bad race, the only time the filly has failed to make the first four was when finishing a close fifth in a 21-runner handicap on York’s Knavesmire back in May.
Fourth in a 19-runner three-year-old sprint handicap at the July meeting, Paul Mulrennan’s mount landed the odds back over today’s course and distance on her next start before heading back to York earlier this month. After missing the break, Azure Blue did well in the circumstances to be beaten a little over a length.
The form of that race could hardly have worked out much better with the winner, Lucky Man, going on to finish fourth in Saturday’s Ayr Gold Cup. While a nose behind the selection came Pink Crystal, an excellent second in a 18-runner Listed sprint at the meeting the day before. Azure Blue runs off the same mark of 89 as at York and looks sure to run her usual game race.
3.35pm Newmarket. 2m - Thunderous. (Nap)
You have to go back to July of 2020 to find the last victory achieved by the Charlie & Mark Johnston-trained THUNDERING. That win did come in the Group 2 Dante Stakes however, since when the Night Of Thunder gelding has found life tough over distances ranging from 1m 2f to an extended 2m.
The five-year-old has been competing mainly in Group races, apart from when running respectably under a massive weight in a York handicap last time (winner Alfred Boucher, in receipt of 13lb, was beaten just a short head in the Ebor three days later) and this drop to Listed level should see Thundering back in the winner’s enclosure at long last.
A repeat of his one length second to Stradivarius in the Yorkshire Cup back in May would make Ryan Moore’s mount very hard to beat. Andrew Balding’s Ranch Hand has been absent for over 15 months but can chase the selection home if fit enough on his reappearance.
4.03pm Pontefract. 5f - Showalong (Each Way)
Despite having shown very little on his last three starts, it could be worth taking a chance of a return to form by the Tim Easterby-trained SHOWALONG (e.w.) following a break of almost two months.
The four-year-old son of Showcasing would be a strong fancy if running up to his fourth place in a 12-runner Class 2 York handicap back in May when beaten less than two lengths. That excellent effort was off a mark of 82, 8lb less than James Sullivan’s mount will be racing off on this occasion. A draw in stall four is also a positive for a horse who likes to race up with the pace and in a race featuring plenty of out of form rivals, Showalong could prove the value bet against last month’s Thirsk winner Runninwild and Ventura Express.
* Betting odds correct at the time of publication. All odds are subject to changes.