1.50 Newmarket – NEXT STAGE (nb)
The selection, trained by Saeed Bin Suroor, is a son of Dubawi who made a winning debut back in November 2015, and he found only the subsequent Britannia winner Defrocked too good in a 1m handicap at Doncaster last June (hampered by the winner) before disappointing badly in a soft-ground contest at Salisbury not long after. He made a winning return to action in a 1m handicap here at the Craven meeting 18 days ago (4/1 chance), racing enthusiastically close up until restrained in behind the pacesetter, joining issue travelling strongly two furlongs out and shaken up to lead soon after, responding well when pressed to win going away by 1½ lengths from Shaiyem. This colt confirmed the excellent impression he’d created on his first two starts, and the additional furlong on offer here ought to suit him very well given his pedigree/how he finished off his race last time; the ‘bounce’ factor would be a minor concern (albeit was likely amiss when bombing out on his second start last term), but otherwise a 6lb rise ought not to halt this son of Dubawi’s ascent through the handicap ranks and he can make it back-to-back victories here.
5.20 Newmarket – EAGLE CREEK (nap)
The selection, trained by Simon Crisford, is a son of Raven’s Pass who debuted in a 1m maiden at Newbury last October (7/2 chance), racing enthusiastically close up and still going easily approaching to the two furlong marker, soon ridden and holding every chance until inside the final furlong when fading into fifth behind Sound Bar (beaten 6¼ lengths). He showed the benefit of that initial experience when making a winning return to action in a 1m maiden at Lingfield 25 days ago (9/4 favourite), getting across from his wide berth and soon leading, travelling powerfully at the head of affairs and still on the bit approaching the final furlong, quickening clear inside the final furlong to win by an eased-down 6 lengths from Mathix. It was a visually taking display from this son of Raven’s Pass, unlikely beating anything out of the ordinary but doing so in the manner of one that’ll leave that bare form well behind in due course; an opening mark of 95 could hardly be termed as lenient, but he looks a pattern-class performer in waiting (has the Group entries to back that up) and can set himself up for a crack at that sort of level with victory here.