YOUSINI is an interesting runner to kick the day off. He started last season with a bang by striking on his Hamilton debut before giving weight and a beating to Rocket Roy at Carlisle.
The runner-up went on to hit the frame in two French Listed races so it’s not hard to make a case that Yousini is nicely weighted.
There wasn’t much wrong with his first try at 6f after a break in August before easy ground did for him on his final start of last term. My fancy has had a breathing operation and he’s been gelded over the winter so the potential for improvement is obvious.
Breath Of Air is sure to be popular for Charlie Hills and Ryan Moore. His defeat of Saturday’s Greenham hero Mohaather at Newbury in September is standout form.
His Doncaster third came in a Listed race so he sets a good standard but he is unproven on fast ground.
Chapelli made a promising return when only mastered close home in a Pontefract handicap. She might well be better off returning to 5f.
I was tempted to chance Don Armado. His form on fast ground last season was good and he’s had excuses on the all-weather this year.
BOOM OR BUST Who are the stars and who are the duds to emerge from the Craven?
It adds up for GEOMATRICIAN in the annual guessing game of the Bet35 Wood Ditton.
With not one piece of form to go on it’s impossible to have a strong opinion but Andrew Balding’s hope has a fair bit going for him.
For starters his trainer has started the season in great form and this well-bred colt is related to several smart winners. He’s my stab at this foggy puzzle.
Jim Crowley has plumped for Al Hadeer out of Sheikh Hamdan’s four runners. That’s a pointer to his chance but the owner’s number one jockey picked the wrong one last year when Owen Burrows and Dane O’Neill were successful.
They team up with Damlaj so it might not be wise to rule out the Hamdan runners without the striped cap. Kung Fu and Wild Animal are others to keep a close eye on.
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KINGS MONARCH should strike gold in the Silver Trophy.
He’s hit form in some style on his last two starts. After bolting up at Fontwell he saw off subsequent winner Saintemilion with the minimum of fuss at Hereford last month.
This improving youngster should get the race set up for him with the likely strong pace.
Mister Whitaker has a race like this in him but he does need to bounce back from a bitterly-disappointing display in Cheltenham’s Ultima Chase.
Highway One O One probably found the ground soft enough for him in the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap at the Festival.
His chance will not be helped by Imperial Presence or Wenyerreadyfreddie as they all like to make the running.
BRANDO is the Abernant Stakes godfather.
Kevin Ryan’s speedster is going for his third straight win in this Group 3 contest. He’s not been beaten on his seasonal comeback since his debut five years ago and he’s certain to be primed for today.
Last year he was runner-up in the July Cup and Haydock’s Sprint Cup – both Group 1 races – so he should be too good in this lesser grade.
Dreamfield came within a neck of pulling off a monster gamble in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot. He came up short when tried in much better races and he still needs to prove he’s up to this level.
Yafta was incredibly consistent in sprints last season. He won a Newbury Group 3 in July and he has the potential to develop into a top performer.
Equilateral is another decent prospect but he tends to pull too hard in the early stages. Front-running Stewards’ Cup hero Gifted Master should help him out by setting a decent pace.
an each-way bet to die for on Wednesday, April 17
Templegate's TV tips
1.50 Newmarket – YOUSINI: ‘An interesting runner to kick the day off’ (Click here to see the best prices and place your bet)
2.25 Newmarket – GEOMATRICIAN: ‘Has started the season in great form’ (Click here to see the best prices and place your bet)
2.40 Cheltenham – KINGS MONARCH: ‘He’s hit form in some style on his last two starts’ (Click here to see the best prices and place your bet)
3.00 Newmarket – BRANDO: ‘He’s not been beaten on his seasonal comeback’ (Click here to see the best prices and place your bet)
3.35 Newmarket – SET PIECE: ‘He just looks a very smart horse’ (Click here to see the best prices and place your bet)
SET PIECE should hit the target in the Bet365 Craven Stakes.
He’s yet to race on turf having been impressive in both his all-weather starts. That doesn’t worry me as he just looks a very smart horse.
There’s substance in the form of his wins at Kempton and Newcastle with plenty of winners coming out of the races. Not so long ago most punters would turn their noses up at horses coming from the all-weather into Group races but those days are gone. Plenty of the top trainers use sand tracks to introduce their best prospects and Hugo Palmer looks to have one of those in Set Piece.
Zakouski is another yet to race on turf. He looked decent when seeing off previous winner Headman at Kempton in November with the front pair well clear. There’s no doubt he’s a classy youngster and the step up to 1m can only help.
Royal Marine didn’t seem to like the dirt surface in Dubai when sent off odds-on before finishing fourth in the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial. That was clearly not his form and he’s much better judged on his Group 1 win at Longchamp on Arc day.
Broome – runner-up in that contest – bolted up in the Ballysax last week so Royal Marine has to be respected.
Confiding was blown away by Too Darn Hot on his final start of last season but I’ve a feeling he’s going to have improved over the winter.
1.50 Yousini (nb)
3.00 Brando (nap)
3.35 Set Piece
4.10 Aristocratic Lady
5.20 Kamikaze Lord
2.05 Cotswold Way
2.40 Kings Monarch
3.15 Lungarno Palace
3.50 Bob Mahler
4.25 Thomas Campbell
5.00 Dingo Dollar
5.30 Laughing Luis
2.15 The Ginger Bullet
2.50 Gin Gembre
6.00 Quila Saeda
8.00 Parion (treble)