European Spot Plays for Newbury May 14

May 13th, 2022

The European flat racing season has begun to hit its stride, with the 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas out of the way and the Derby at Epsom fast approaching. Before then, however, there are plenty of important targets, including an English Group One this weekend.

Here are some spot plays for racing across the Atlantic this weekend.

UK Newbury, Race 2, Al Rayyan (Aston Park) Stakes (G3), 1 1/2 miles, four-year-olds and up

A six-horse Group 3 race with two Group 1 winners: #1 Scope, winner of the 1 15/16-mile Prix Royal-Oak in France Oct. 24, and #2 Eschada, who beat her fellow fillies and mares in the 1 1/2-mile British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes at Ascot Oct 16. Neither have raced since, and both have weight penalties for their top-level successes. Eschada is probably the better prospect given that Scope seems to need 1 3/4 miles at least to be at his best.

Given the doubts about these two, the one to beat them could be #4 Foxes Tales. The four-year-old from the Andrew Balding stable put in a nice race first-up when second in the Gordon Richards Stakes (G3) at Sandown April 22, and provided he stays 1 1/2 miles he looks a nice chance.

  • $10 win/$20 place: #4 Foxes Tales

UK Newbury, Race 4, Lockinge Stakes (G1), one mile, four-year-olds and up

If he is anywhere near his best, it’s hard to see anything beating #1 Baaeed, last year’s equal-best miler in the world by international ratings. Unbeaten in six starts, including two Group 1 events, Baaeed is at least five pounds better in the ratings than his opponents; defeat over the straight mile would require him to be below his best, bad luck, or massive improvement by one of his opponents. Nobody’s going to get rich off him, so exotics are probably the way to go.

The one to get nearest to Baaeed may well be #5 Real World. He has mixed his career between turf, dirt, and synthetic tracks, but he’s clearly best on grass, where he’s unbeaten in five races. After four wins in Europe last summer, he won the Zabeel Mile (G2) easily on the Meydan turf before being asked to go back to dirt for the Saudi Cup (G1) and Dubai World Cup (G1), where he was a distinct failure. Godolphin have wisely moved him back to turf, and he should run well.

The classy Group 1-winning mares #8 Alcohol Free and #9 Mother Earth should run well, while the best of the others may be last year’s 2,000 Guineas fifth placegetter #2 Chindit, a nice winner when resuming at Doncaster March 26.