Full race preview and free betting tips for the 2.55pm Greenham Stakes at Newbury.
The Group 3 Greenham Stakes is a recognised trial for the 2,000 Guineas and as such, regularly attracts a top quality field. Run over 7f at Newbury, this race has been claimed in the past by the likes of Olympic Glory, Dick Turpin and the superstar Frankel. This year’s contest looks to be a highly competitive affair with each of the 10 runners arriving here after at least one victory in their respective 2 year-old campaigns.
On official ratings the field is headed by the Kevin Ryan trained Astaire (8/1 SkyBet). A winner of the Gimcrack before going on to claim Group 1 honours in the Middle park at Newmarket. Relatively un-fancied in the betting, Astaire beat the likes of Sudirman, Hot Streak and Great White Eagle. Restricted so far to 6f, this will be the first time the horse contests a longer trip and on pedigree that should suit (half-brother to German 1m winner). However, the manner in which he won the Middle Park Stakes may well leave him vulnerable to others in the field. After taking the lead early on, he battled well to line to hold off the challenge of Hot Streak. Undoubtedly a tough competitor, he may well struggle to hold off some of his rivals today.
One such rival is Berkshire (8/1 Ladbrokes), the impressive winner of the Chesham and then the Royal Lodge Stakes. His victory at Ascot was particularly impressive has he seemed to thrive running off a strong pace and, despite being sent off 16/1, travelled well and looked the best horse in the race. His final start of the season was another victory, this time at Newmarket, where he had to dig deep to find sufficient resolve to beat the useful Somewhat by the narrowest of margins. Connections have always thought this horse thrives on truly fast ground but I am tempted to disagree. He looked to be unsuited by the undulations at Newmarket and has quite a rounded action which should see him favour the flat Newbury track and the softer ground. Despite conditions to suit, I believe he really needs a strong pace to run off to be seen to best effect. The 19 strong field of the Chesham suited him well as there was an abundance of pace, this race on the other hand may well turn into a tactical affair and that could scupper his chances.
Currently vying for position as second favourite in this year’s 2,000 Guineas ante-post markets is KINGMAN (2/1 Betfred). Trained by John Gosden, this Invincible Spirit colt arrives here with an unbeaten record. A comprehensive victory in his maiden was followed by a Group 3 success in the Solario Stakes at Sandown when sent off the 2/7 favourite. With a field of four runners in the Solario they, unsurprisingly, went no pace and the race turned into a sprint late on. Kingman was impressive in the way he ranged up to his rivals and moved clear when asked. He put the race to bed under a hands and heel ride but failed to really sparkle as he only won by two lengths. Despite this, the horse showed plenty of ability and looked to be value for more. After undergoing minor surgery last year, connections have been happy with his work ahead of his reappearance and he will certainly be looking to put in a strong performance to solidify his position near the head of the markets for the 2,000 Guineas.
Another interesting unbeaten horse in the field is the Richard Hannon trained Night Of Thunder (7/2 William Hill). A winner at Goodwood on his first start before going on to win a Listed race at Doncaster in good style. Each victory has come over six furlongs on soft ground but as the horse is by Dubawi he should handle the better ground and the step-up in trip. Subject to some support in the 2,000 Guineas market in the recent weeks this horse could well have been challenging for favouritism had it not been for the other Hannon contender (and top rated 2 year-old) Toormore. What this horse can achieve in comparison to his stablemate is difficult to determine, but nonetheless he looks a smart prospect and will be contesting the victory here if in the same form as last season.
Of the others, Supplicant (20/1 Coral) is a Group 2 winner but is well held by Astaire on the form of their latest starts. Lat Hawill (7/1 bet365) won his maiden (and only start to date) by eight lengths but will have to improve on that effort to figure here.
This looks to be a very competitive renewal of the Greenham, with a number of the runners serious contenders for Group 1 honours during the season. The three to really concentrate on are Berkshire, Night Of Thunder and KINGMAN. The former looks to be ideally suited by races with sizeable fields and a genuine pace to run off. Considering the likely tactical nature of this race he may well find one or too good in the final few strides. In my mind the likeliest winner looks to be Kingman. Carrying the same colours as the legendary Frankel certainly carries its own pressures and expectations but this horse has done everything that has been asked of him so far. Experienced over the trip and in small field contests, he has seemingly wintered well and come back stronger. His trainer is in fantastic form and he should relish the softer ground (maiden victory of six lengths came on good ground). The biggest threat to his victory is undoubtedly Night Of Thunder. This horse has the potential to be a true Group 1 performer but will need to be at his very best to get the better of Kingman.
KINGMAN (WIN) (2/1 Betfred)
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