Betting: Massaat has the hunger to land Newbury’s Group Two highlight

Bill Esdaile
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Newbury Races
Bill Esdaile brings us his tips from Saturday's racing at Newbury (Source: Getty)

THERE are some horses I just cannot get right.

Having strongly fancied Breton Rock to win the John Of Gaunt Stakes at Haydock back in June, I was obviously disappointed he could only finish fifth of the eight runners that day.

Conditions were ideal, as he loves it soft and he appeared just to be anchored by his penalty.

I abandoned him at Goodwood earlier this month in a much better race on ground that appeared far too quick for him.

You guessed it; he won at 50/1, just beating my selection in the process.

He is back in action tomorrow in the Group Two Hungerford Stakes (3.35pm) at Newbury and once again has to shoulder a penalty, so I’m happy to oppose him at just 6/1.

The most obvious winner is Dean Ivory’s Librisa Breeze, who looks to have been found the perfect opportunity here at 3/1 with Coral.

His ideal conditions are seven furlongs on rain-softened ground and he will be incredibly hard to beat if reproducing his Royal Ascot running.

He was fourth to The Tin Man in the Group One Diamond Jubilee Stakes over an inadequate six furlongs, running on really well at the death.

Things didn’t go to plan at Goodwood last time when he was done no favours by the draw and you can put a line through that run.

In fact, the only real negative is his price, as he was available at 7/1 just a few days ago.

I’m also a tiny bit concerned that all of his best form has come at Ascot and therefore I’m prepared to take him on.

MASSAAT hasn’t been seen in action since disappointing 12 months ago on unsuitably fast ground at Salisbury.

Owen Burrows has taken plenty of time to nurse the son of Teofilo back to the track and it’s interesting that connections have kept him in training as a four-year-old.

Don’t forget he was second to Galileo Gold in last season’s QIPCO 2000 Guineas and then blatantly failed to stay the Investec Derby trip.

He is officially rated 3lbs clear of the other runners and will be very hard to beat at 9/1 with Ladbrokes if reproducing anything close to his best form.

I’m also encouraged by the fact that he has gone very well off the back of a break in the past – his Guineas second was his first run of last season.

The Geoffrey Freer Stakes (2.25pm) features Godolphin’s Frontiersman who steps up in trip having finished second in the Group One Coronation Cup and the Group Two Princess Of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket.

He must have a chance dropped down in class here, but he hasn’t looked that genuine and I’m prepared to oppose him with DEFOE.

Roger Varian’s rapidly improving three-year-old gets a handy 9lb weight-for-age allowance here and won a decent race at the track earlier in the campaign.

The trip remains a slight question mark, but connections think he’s a live St Leger contender and he can take this on his way to Doncaster at 9/4 with Ladbrokes.

His biggest danger looks to be John Gosden’s To Eternity who was hugely impressive last time.

The big betting race of the day is at Ripon where 20 are set to go to post for the Great St Wilfrid (3.15pm) over six furlongs.

With plenty of rain about it is clear to see why Richard Fahey’s Growl heads the betting at as short as 4/1 with Coral.

He ran really well when fourth in the Stewards Cup last time and Adam McNamara takes off a valuable 3lbs.

However, that’s a pretty skinny price about one that has to carry top weight, and he has only won one of his last 12 races.

Instead, I’d rather side with last year’s winner NAMEITWHATYOULIKE at a general 20/1, returning from a pound lower mark with conditions in his favour again.

His stable has emerged from a sick spell and it would be no surprise to see him go really well at a course he loves.

I’m also going to throw a few quid each-way on AL QAHWA in his first-time cheekpieces at 16/1.

He had no luck at Goodwood last time and his draw in stall 20 could be an advantage.


Defoe 2.25pm Newbury

Nameitwhatyoulike e/w 3.15pm Ripon

Al Qahwa e/w 3.15pm Ripon

Massaat e/w 3.35pm Newbury

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