Top Daily Mail tipster Sam Turner guides you through all six races on the opening day.
After a host of fine performances as a three-year-old, RIBCHESTER (Best price Evens) finally gained the big-race success he deserved in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on his reappearance. In winning the prestigious Group One, Richard Fahey’s miler was accounting for Lightning Spear for the fourth time in his career. The faster ground is likely to help Ribchester’s old adversary finish closer than the margin of three lengths he was beaten at the Berkshire venue, but he is likely to be dropped out in rear and could again be a hostage to fortune. In contrast, Ribchester is a good deal more versatile tactically and can either make the running from stall one or take a lead. With that in mind he can improve Will Buick’s stats of 311231 aboard the son of Iffraaj and win again today.
This race could well find a place in the Fast and Furious franchise as a number of trail-blazers may combine to make this a proper burn up. The likelihood of a scorching gallop will play to the strengths of MARSHA (Best price 7-2) who looks to be drawn in and among all of the brazen speed so should gain a good tow into the race. I thought the selection did ever so well to win on her Newmarket comeback as she was forced to launch somewhat of a solo challenge on the stands’ side yet possessed the quality to run down some race-fit rivals that day. A lot was made of her overcoming the penalty, but I felt it was more encouraging that she had trained on so spectacularly and clearly retains the zest and enthusiasm for sprinting.
For some reason racing fans have yet to fully engage with Churchill who continues to dismantle his rivals with the same ruthless efficiency displayed by Rafa Nadal on clay - yet is not shown anywhere near the same love. The 2000 Guineas winner strives to hand trainer Aidan O’Brien an eighth win in the St James’s Palace Stakes and, while a friend of the punters, his critics would suggest his performances are perfunctory rather than explosive. That view appears a touch harsh, but the Guineas winner did enjoy the perfect trip at Newmarket, whereas BARNEY ROY (Best price 5-2) suffered all manner of misfortune before closing into second place.
While it is easy to become seduced by an unlucky loser ahead of a professional winner, even the meanest race reader would recognise Richard Hannon’s colt was unlucky not to finish closer to the well-ridden winner on that first Saturday in May. Only a length separated the duo at the line despite Barney Roy stumbling heading in to the Dip and finding his passage blocked by Churchill’s wandering stablemate Lancaster Bomber thereafter. With that experience behind him, Richard Hannon’s colt may prove a different proposition today and hopefully he can gain a clear run and utilise his raking stride to turn the tables on Churchill.
National Hunt trainers have dominated this race in recent seasons so it is perhaps a little surprising Alan King’s name doesn’t yet feature on the roll call. The Barbury Castle handler could put that statistic to bed courtesy of WHO DARES WINS (Best price 6-1) as the five-year-old appears to have an outstanding chance of gaining compensation for a defeat in the Chester Cup where events didn’t quite pan out as King would have liked. Rider Tom Marquand couldn’t be held accountable for the defeat as his mount wasn’t quick enough to take advantage of a gap when it manifested itself at a crucial stage. Hopefully, the racing gods will look a little more favourably on the selection who has the ability to trouble favourite Thomas Hobson and Beyond Conceit, both of whom are feared given their profiles and respective connections.
Winners at 100-1, 33-1, 20-1 and 16-1 have adorned this race in the past decade so confidence in DECLARATIONOFPEACE (Best price 7-2) must be tempered by the huge field and presence of dangerous runners from the States. That said, in both of the selection’s races to date he has looked like a horse that is craving an end-to-end gallop as on both occasions his rivals haven’t been able to go quick enough for him to settle. Although beaten first time at Navan, the son of War Front was undone by inexperience and looked more the finished article last time at Dundalk. His father has sired a number of horses which appear to love the Berkshire terrain so he could be the best option in a tough finale for backers.
Read Sam Turner's tips in the Daily Mail every day or at www.dailymail.co.uk/racing