Marsh Hawk – 4.05 Newmarket
The 2015 Flat season kicks off in earnest over the next few days commencing with the first day of Newmarket’s Craven meeting on Wednesday afternoon, a card which features the reappearance in the Qipco 2000 Guineas second favourite Faydhan in the CSP European Free Handicap at 3.30 but with John Gosden’s exciting colt sure to go off at prohibitive odds it is the Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes at 4.05 that appeals more from a betting perspective with bookmakers going 5-1 with field for the nine-runner Group 3 contest for fillies.
Beautiful Romance and Lady Correspondent are two well-bred unexposed contenders who both posted impressive debut victories and while either could prove to be of the highest class it could pay to concentrate more on those who competed in better company as juveniles, the best of which look to be Terror, Muraaqaba and the Richard Hannon-trained pair of Osaila and Marsh Hawk. All four competed with credit at Group 1 or 2 level as two-year-olds and are due the utmost respect but it is the mount of Richard Hughes who is taken to come out on top for a stable with a wealth of talent in this department.
Available at 8-1 with a number of bookmakers including 888sport, bet365, Betway, Stan James and Sky Bet the daughter of Invincible Spirit made an impressive debut when easily winning a Newmarket maiden last August before failing by a short head to hold the more experienced New Providence, who reopposes again, in a Group 3 race at Salisbury. Sent off the 4-7 favourite for a Conditions event at Newbury on her next start Marsh Hawk made short work of the opposition after making all before stepping up to Group 1 company for Newmarket’s Dubai Fillies’ Mile last October.
Although only fourth behind the Aidan O’Brien-trained Together Forever, Marsh Hawk was only beaten a little over two lengths despite getting into a barging match with hot favourite Lucida (5th) approaching the final furlong and a return to better ground at headquarters plus dropping back a furlong in trip is likely to see the filly go close in a race that is sure to provide plenty of clues to the season ahead.
1 Point each-way Marsh Hawk 8-1 Guaranteed – Sky Bet