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Racing Preview of this weekend’s racing with Farringdon: May 18-19

Including races at Newbury and Newmarket

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THE London Gold Cup Handicap (Newbury, 3.00) has always been one of my favourite punting events in the first half of the flat season, and although just the 11 are set to go to post this year, it is always a race where the form stands out through the season.

Top weight, Black Run, is sure to try and dictate matters from the sharp end and this lightly raced son of Nathaniel is sure to relish the extra two furlongs on this galloping track, and it will be down to Tom Marquand to get the sectionals spot on. He has no easy task off top weight and a mark of 99, but I still expect him to go close to giving my selection, GOODWOOD ODYSSEY, nine pounds.

David Menuisier’s charge simply charged up the final Esher climb when seeing off Brioni and Prepschool last time out at Sandown Park. He is considerably worse off at the weights with both rivals and I fancy the last named to push him close as he was very free early on, yet still kept on bravely in the closing stages to be beaten by a length and a quarter. However, the 8/1 in places about the selection looks too good to pass up, especially with a guaranteed fast pace to run at here, and he looks the proverbial each-way bet to nothing.

The feature Group One Lockinge Stakes at 3.35 looks a cracking renewal and there looks to be a bundle of pace in this mile event as well with the bold as brass Big Rock set to try and run the finish out of his rivals here. He succumbed to Inspiral in the closing stages of the Jacques Le Marois last August and there should be little between that duo here, but the best value play against both of them could come in the form of ROYAL SCOTSMAN.

The time to catch the Paul Cole charge has always been when fresh and he was desperately unlucky not to catch Chaldean in the Dewhurst Stakes as a juvenile, and then he simply ran too free when third behind the same horse on his three-year-old debut in the 2,000 Guineas.

Two subsequent runs at the highest level were disappointing, but one was down to a soft pace up front and the other to a poor passage.

I am trusting that the son of Gleneagles has retained all of his ability and although he is undoubtedly quirky, if Jamie Spencer can settle him properly I expect a huge run from the back of the pack.

There are several other races worth a punting mention at the Berkshire track, none more so than the Carnarvon Stakes, a Listed race for three-year-olds over six furlongs at 2.25.

The betting is likely to be headed by Fred Darling third, Relief Rally, and with the form of that 1,000 Guineas trial having worked out wonderfully well, she deserves the utmost respect.

However, I just wonder if she will be able to deal with the Greenham Stakes sixth MISTER SKETCH who patently failed to stay the seventh furlong that day on soft ground after travelling powerfully in the initial stages under William Buick.

Second over the course and distance as a juvenile in the Mill Reef Stakes, I fancy the son of Territories to bounce back here as long as James Doyle can garner him some cover early on and save his turn of foot until the last possible moment.

Of the handicaps on the card, have a second look at GODWINSON in the one mile, class two event at 4.45. This looks a high class renewal, but this very lightly raced four-year-old, never run as a juvenile, looked more than a shade unlucky when second to Metal Merchant in the Spring Cup over this course and distance last time out, and may be able to reverse that form on these marginally better terms, and with a clearer run through the pack in the closing stages.

In the opening Group Three Aston Park Stakes at 1.50, DESERT HERO looks an absolute big player on route to possibly running in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot. This late maturing four-year-old always takes time to wind up in the closing stages, being a lengthener rather a quickener, and he will relish the long run home here. Take the Royal runner to have too much for the likes of Middle Earth and Salt Bay from the distance marker.

Over at Newmarket, there are some really tough looking contests, but I have a sweet spot for SAINT LAWRENCE in the seven-furlong handicap due off at 2.40. Last year’s Wokingham Handicap hero needs a fast pace on top of the ground to show his best form and if the rains stay away that is exactly what he will get here.

I thought that Hollie Doyle rode him way too close to the pace last time out over the course and distance, and I expect that she will hold onto the top weight for much longer here.

Later on, the frustrating ZOZIMUS may finally have his place in the sun in the big one-mile handicap at 3.15. He challenge just came a shade too late at Haydock Park last time out, and there is little doubt that he is hard to win with as he needs everything to go his way. But if Jason Watson can extricate him at the right time he is handicapped to land this valuable class three event.

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