NEWMARKET PREVIEW: Charlie Hills hoping for Newmarket racing win on first day of season

Lucky Kristale on the Newmarket gallops.

Lucky Kristale on the Newmarket gallops. - Credit: Archant

Trainer Charlie Hills is hoping for a winning run today just 72 hours after helping raise thousands of pounds for Racing Welfare by completing the London Marathon.

Hills was a member of the Qatar Racing team running in the London showpiece on Sunday and finished the 26.2 miles in just under five hours.

The trainer’s three-year-old filly Queen Catrine, with Jamie Spencer booked, runs in the £65,000 Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes at 4.05pm, the fifth race of an eight-race card that kicks off Newmarket’s 39-meeting season this afternoon.

“We are very pleased with Queen Catrine. She is very forward in her coat although she may find seven furlongs a bit sharp,” said Hills.

The daughter of Acclamation was very consistent last season when she was placed in a Group 3 and two Group 2 events before finishing third in the Group 1 Marcel Boussac despite being in season.


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She is entered in all three versions of the Guineas in England, Ireland and France.

The Nell Gwyn is a proven trial for Sunday, May 4’s QIPCO 1,000 Guineas. Last year’s runner-up, Sky Lantern, went on to land the Classic while the race has provided a placed horse in the Classic in all of the previous three years.

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The top quality eight-race card, which commences at 1.45pm, sees no fewer than 23 horses running who hold engagements in either the 1,000 or 2,000 Guineas.

Main rivals to Queen Catrine look to be Sandiva, Frankie Dettori for Richard Fahey, Newmarket maiden winner Folk Melody for Mickael Barzalona and Charlie Appleby and Dorothy B, another for William Buick and red-hot trainer John Gosden, who has started the season in sensational form.

In the six-runner CSP European Free Handicap at 3.30pm the unbeaten duo of Shifting Power and Mushir will put their 2,000 Guineas credentials on the line against the likes of Miracle of Medinah and Parbold.

Shifting Power, Ryan Moore for Richard Hannon, is two from two after wins last season at Newmarket and Sandown while Paul Hanagan’s mount Mushir, trained by Roger Varian, is also two from two, notably taking York’s Rockingham Stakes last October.

Seven of the 10 in the ebm-papst Feilden Stakes at 4.40pm hold 2,000 Guineas entries including Irish raider, Obliterator, winner at The Curragh in September.

The day’s most valuable event, the 100,000 Tattersalls Millions Sprint at 2.55pm, features 2,000 Guineas hope, Naadirr.

But Wedding Ring, Barzalona for Appleby, a three-time Newmarket scorer last season, is the likely favourite.

Earlier, Gosden’s Provident Spirit is set to go off favourite for the opener, while grey colt Flyball, Moore for Hannon, is strongly fancied to repeat his recent Leicester win in the 2.20pm conditions stakes.

Hanagan could complete the classy card with a double. He rides Munjaz for Gosden in the 5.10pm 10-furlong maiden and then partners Ed Dunlop’s Kaab, a Great Yarmouth winner on debut last October, in the finale at 5.40pm, a competitive six-furlong handicap.

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