You are here

Four pointers from Newmarket's Craven Meeting

J A McGrath

Nowhere are the hopes of so many crushed so quickly as at the Craven Meeting on Newmarket's Rowley Mile in April.

And, if you tack on Newbury's Greenham fixture this weekend, the entire season can be determined for a collection of stables in a matter of only five days.

It can be cruel. 

1. Equally, there is elation when a genuine talent emerges and that may well be the case with Sir Peter Vela's Eminent, the Frankel colt, who finished powerfully to overhaul Rivet, the Racing Post Trophy winner, in the G3 Craven Stakes.

He is a major G1 2,000 Guineas contender, if you have ever seen one.

Eminent is from the renowned family of Jude, a female line developed successfully in Ireland in the past decade by Richard and Roisin Henry, whose Premier Blooodstock bred the colt.

Rivet, the runner-up, and third Benbatl both performed creditably, and their Guineas aspirations are still alive, though much will depend on how they progress after this.

2. Whitecliffsofdover sounded a warning that Ballydoyle have a strong hand in the 2,000 Guineas when comfortably taking the Listed European Free Handicap, over seven furlongs. He does not hold a Guineas entry, though he could easily end up contesting the French equivalent.

It appears Whitecliffsofdover was providing a confidence boost to followers of stablemate Churchill, the G1 National Stakes and G1 Dewhurst Stakes winner, who heads a list Classic contenders for early May.

3. John Gosden has his team in cracking form early this season -- his strike rate is close to 30% at the time of writing -- and he has a talented filly in Daban, a daughter of Acclamation, who finished with a flourish to land the G3 Nell Gwyn Stakes, often a pointer to the G1 1,000 Guineas.

The fillies' Classic looks wide open, however, and the next two weeks will be crucial for the prospects of so many.

4. Royal Ascot looms large on the horizon for Godolphin two-year-old Sound And Silence, who won over five furlongs on his racecourse debut at Newmarket on Tuesday.

He is a son of the successful Darley stallion Exceed And Excel, and from the family of Barathea, the G1 Breeders' Cup Mile winner.

He looks ready-made for one of the juvenile targets at the Royal meeting in June.