By Andy Stephens
Expert Eye looked a potential top-notcher when trouncing the opposition in the Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood and, with the form working out a treat, he is going to take all the beating in the Darley Dewhurst Stakes (3.00) at Newmarket on Saturday.
It would be no surprise if he went off much shorter than the 4-7 generally quoted - so you could argue he rates value - but my wallet is not thick enough to be backing odds-on chances.
A two-year-old winning a Group One race for Sir Michael Stoute is certainly overdue because, by my reckoning, he has not had one since Kieren Fallon booted home Red Bloom in the 2003 Fillies’ Mile.
You can tell it was a long time ago because the race was still run on the round course at Ascot in those days and the trainers of the other six runners in the race have, sadly, either died or long since retired.
The Betfred Cesarewitch (3.40) follows the Dewhurst and, as a betting medium, makes much more appeal.
Most solid of those near the head of the betting looks to be 12-1 shot Who Dares Wins, who beat unexposed stablemate Coeur De Lion (runs in the 5.00 at York) in gritty style in the Trial last month.
Frederic has shown improved form since joining Keith Dalgleish this season and there was plenty to like about the fluent manner of his wins at Carlisle and Pontefract (both times over 2m 1f) on his first two starts for the stable.
He has had only two more spins on the Flat since then and each time has shaped better than the bare form, especially over 2m4f on desperate ground at Goodwood on the latest occasion: just about last off the bridle, he simply did not get home and faded to be sixth.
Frederic resurfaced after a two-month break over hurdles at Sedgefield 11 days ago and shaped really well (hit 1.3 in-running) only to find the prolific Our Kylie too strong in the closing stages.
That should have teed him up perfectly for his date at Headquarters and I like the fact Dalgleish has gone to the trouble of booking the highly promising 5lb claimer Finley Marsh (first or second in 32 of his 65 rides for Richard Hughes this season) for the first time.
Frederic’s wide draw is not ideal but, at 80-1, you cannot have all the boxes ticked and, in any case, his hold-up style means he is always going to be at his best when covered up. Three of the past five Cesarewitch winners have been 50-1 or bigger. Paddy Power offer each-way terms for the first seven home, while William Hill are offering the first eight places but are 'only' 50-1. You pays your money, you take your choice,
I cannot let First Mohican go unbacked either, because he ran a blinder to beat all bar handicap snip Sweet Selection in last year’s renewal and is able to race off a 1lb lower mark.
You have to forgive him three successive lacklustre runs since he won at Lingfield in March but a 112-day break may have revitalised him and the excellent Hollie Doyle is an even better jockey than she was when second on him 12 months ago.
One making a much swifter return to action is Eartha Kitt, who is fancied to land the Darley EBF Stallions Boadicea Stakes (4.50) over 6f.
Tom Dascombe’s filly finished with a rattle when a neck third to Pixeleen in a handicap over the same course and distance last week and, 6lb better off, should turn the tables.
She is also weighted to take her revenge on Queen Kindly, who beat her by a fast-diminishing head at Pontefract in August.
On the subject of pounds and ounces, Fidaawy ran a blinder when chasing home Brorocco at Newbury last time when trying to concede 14lb.
The winner went on to finish a fine fifth in the Cambridgeshire under a penalty, when not seen to best advantage, and that suggests the strong travelling Fidaawy will make a bold bid in the Group Three Darley Club Stakes (5.25).
One who could well make his mark in pattern company next season is Nobleman’s Nest, and he is not one to take on lightly in the Darley Nursery Handicap (4.15).
Bar a blip at York on his penultimate start, he has looked a young horse going places and he won with great authority from a decent yardstick when when well backed at Doncaster last time. He has to cope with an 11lb higher mark but can prove equal to the task.
He looked exciting when winning a bumper on his British debut at Chepstow last season and showed enough over hurdles afterwards to suggest a mark of 129 is anything but beyond him.
Catching him fresh may be the answer and, while this is a competitive renewal, I like the angle of him returning to Chepstow first time out.
How to bet £20 on Saturday:
(Prices correct at 5.30pm on Friday)
3.40 Newmarket: £3 each-way on Frederic at 80-1 with Paddy Power (seven places)
4.10 Chepstow: Sumkindofking £2 win at a general 10-1
4.15 Newmarket: Nobleman’s Nest £3 win at a general 5-2
4.50 Newmarket: Eartha Kitt £3 win at a generally available 8-1
5.25 Newmarket: Fidaawy £3 win at a generally available 7-1.
60p Win Lucky 31 plus 70p each-way fivefold
Bet with Paddy Power to secure the 80-1 on Ferderic with each-way terms of the first seven places.
3.40 Newmarket: Frederic (80-1)
4.10 Chepstow: Sumkindofking
4.15 Newmarket: Nobleman’s Nest
4.45 Newmarket: Eartha Kitt
5.20 Newmarket: Fidaawy