Simon Rowlands

Simon has selections plus analysis online for Saturday at Newbury and Newmarket.

Published 14:05 19/07

Social media has been awash of late with people posting pictures of themselves aged through Artificial Intelligence. It is quite a shock when experienced for the first time, though, as one wag put it, “my app to see what my face looks like when I am startlingly grey and old is called ‘a mirror’”. Indeed, sadly.

We cannot hold back time, but some horses do a passable impression of it. One such is THE TIN MAN, who won the British Champions Sprint at four, the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at five and Haydock’s Sprint Cup at six, all of them Group 1s.

He has yet to show conclusively that he is as good at seven but has had just two opportunities so far and given more than a hint that he will be. If so, the Group 3 bet365 Hackwood Stakes at Newbury at 3:00 on Saturday is at his mercy and his odds deserve to be quite a bit shorter than they are at the time of writing.

He ran the subsequent Diamond Jubilee Stakes runner-up Dream of Dreams and subsequent Criterion Stakes runner-up Glorious Journey to a length and the same at Windsor on his return despite conceding a hefty penalty and early track position, and finished sixth himself in that Diamond Jubilee Stakes despite things not panning out all that well for him.

That latter form is still arguably better than his nine rivals here would have achieved. Indeed, two of them – Projection and Keystroke – were some way behind him that day.

The Tin Man has occasionally been found out in tactical races, but he is some operator when getting a good pace to run at, and that seems more likely than not now, with Recon Mission, Oxted and Donjuan Triumphant in attendance.

The Tin Man won this race in 2016 with a degree of comfort on his way to that British Champions Sprint success. Three years on, no more is being asked of him against a similar standard of rivals.

Short price or not, that may be the best bet at Newbury. The opening bet365 Stakes looks to be priced about right, and the 25-runner

Weatherbys Super Sprint is a potential minefield concerning draw (high numbers are usually disadvantaged) and pace.

However, it is probably worth a small involvement in the £100,000-added Marsh Cup Handicap at 2:25. If all 16 go, then an each-way bet will make plenty of mathematical sense, but that is quite a big “if”. Either way, PROSCHEMA looks a horse to have on your side.  

He has gradually run himself into form this year and was unlucky – that’s what his 36.8s final 3f sectional says – not to win the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle last time, finishing fast and wide into third behind Who Dares Wins.

Surprisingly, the Plate was run in a slower time than the preceding Vase, in which Carnwennan prevailed, but that was mostly down to a steadier pace early. That makes Proschema’s finishing effort all the more meritorious.

This contest is going to take some winning, but I had expected Proschema to be a bit shorter than he is, and there can be no doubt about his ability or stamina after that Newcastle run.

The feature of a low-key card at Newmarket is the listed Hambro Aphrodite Stakes at 2:40. Sparkle Roll is likely to start favourite – understandably given her third in the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot – but I am not convinced she is straightforward.

As it is, Sparkle Roll had finished behind another of today’s rivals, BLUE GARDENIA, in the Musidora Stakes at York, and the latter looked much the more likely to be suited by this trip of 12f that day. Blue Gardenia had the chance to prove it in the Oaks, but was both a bit out of her depth and seemingly unsuited by the track at Epsom.

Blue Gardenia still managed to make late gains to finish ninth to Anapurna, and I anticipate a better effort running in a straight line now. She should probably be supported each way in a race in which there is quite a bit of dead wood.

I also looked at the Kerrygold Irish Oaks at the Curragh at 5:10 but reckon that race has been correctly priced up. Iridessa will be difficult to beat if as good at 12f as 10f but has a few on her heels and her odds are not quite rewarding enough.

£20 Risk Free First Bet

Newbury 14:25

Newmarket 14:40

Newbury 15:00

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