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2019 Nell Gwyn Stakes tips - Johnston's 4/1 chance can be Main player in Tuesday's Newmarket feature

Brian Healy 15 Apr 2019
Main Effect can strike in Tuesday's feature race at Newmarket as the Craven Meeting gets underway.

Brian Healy takes a runner-by-runner look ahead to Tuesday's feature race at Newmarket, and he gives his big race verdict on the Group Three highlight on day one of the Craven Meeting.

The feature race of Tuesday’s opening day of the 2019 Craven Meeting is the Group Three Nell Gwyn Stakes which goes to post at 3.35pm as the fifth race on an eight-race card on the Rowley Mile track at Flat HQ.

Boasting a first-prize just short of £35,000 to the winner, this seven furlong prize is an early trial for the various Guineas races across Europe, including the Qipco 1000 Guineas here in May, and the classy contest has been won by some very smart types although no winner of this race has gone on to also claim the 1000 Guineas since Speciosa did the double in 2006.

Last season’s 1000 Guineas winner Billesden Brook only finished fourth in this race on his reappearance, so while arguably not the strongest of trials the race can prove a decent pointer towards Classic success.

A field of eleven runners will face the gates for this Group Three prize, and Brian Healy takes a runner-by-runner look at the big race field.

Angel’s Hideaway (11/2, Bet365) looked set to develop into a very high-class juvenile last term after winning at Haydock and then resuming ways following a good run here in the Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes when successful at Ascot in the Keeneland Stakes.

However, the Dark Angel filly disappointed on her next two starts at York and here in September prior to chasing home Mot Juste back at this venue in the Oh So Sharp Stakes where she went down by less than one length.

John Gosden’s charge could have progressed from two to three, and she remains unexposed over this longer trip having made the frame on her only previous try at the distance, while the yard have won the race twice in recent seasons. She could go well as a result, and she ought to be involved.

Mot Juste (4/1, Paddy Power) beat Angel’s Hideaway when last seen, and Roger Varian’s charge arrives on a hat-trick of wins having also won the time before at Beverley when romping to a seven lengths’ success over Air Force Amy.

The Distorted Humor filly appeared to win a shade cosily from John Gosden’s charge, and she is one who looked highly progressive last term. She has the potential to do considerably better still and every chance she can find further improvement.

Qabala (8/1,Bet365) also represents Roger Varian and the Scat Daddy filly won her sole outing last term at this venue in September, where she ran out a head winner over Desirous.

That form is working out well with the runner-up, third and fourth all winning since, and she looked a decent prospect herself to score. It wouldn’t come as a big shock to see her find some improvement on the back of that experience.

She is an interesting runner who could go well although Andrea Atzeni prefers Mot Juste over the Scat Daddy filly.

MAIN EDITION (4/1, William Hill) won four of her first five starts as a juvenile for Mark Johnston last term, which included wins in the Albany Stakes at Ascot as well here over this distance when beating La Pelosa to win the Sweet Solera Stakes.

That run saw her bounce back from a lacklustre effort on the July Course behind Pretty Pollyanna in the Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes, and after her last run she acquitted herself well in defeats behind Skitter Scatter at the Curragh and also when beaten three lengths by Just Wonderful back at this track in the Shadwell Rockfel Stakes.

Her juvenile form is the best on offer amongst this field of runners, and it is highly probable that the Zoffany filly will have progressed from her juvenile season. With Ryan Moore an eye-catching jockey booking on board the Johnston runner, the pair should make a bold bid to get off to a winning start for the season.

Come On Leicester (33/1, Paddy Power) saw the racetrack eight times as a juvenile, but having won on her second outing at Windsor with a defeat of Kadit, it wasn’t until her final outing of the campaign at Leicester when the Kodiac filly registered a second success.

Richard Hannon’s charge ran out a three lengths’ winner over Gospel on that occasion, having earlier finished third to Yourtimeisnow in the Dick Poole Fillies’ Stakes, and there is a suspicion she’ll need to find a considerable chunk of improvement if she’s to win this prize with the step up in trip not sure to suit.

Look Around (18/1, Paddy Power) is a well-bred sort who saw her progression halted in no uncertain terms by Antonia De Vega when beating only one rival home in the Group Three Prestige Stakes, but Andrew Balding’s charge could prove better than she was able to show on that occasion.

The Kingman filly had won back-to-back contests at Kempton and Sandown, the latter in Listed company, prior to that Goodwood flop where she possibly failed to act on the track. She was still only beaten just over three lengths though and with the yard having made a good start to the new flat season she can’t be discounted from making her presence felt in this contest.

Mercenary Rose (50/1, Bet365) will need a lot more to follow up her five furlongs Lingfield success last term on her sole start, where Paul Cole’s charge made a decent first impression to beat Sandridge Lad by three lengths.

The Sepoy filly takes a marked step up in class and trip here, and while she is open to improvement she probably needs a considerable amount in order to trouble some proven performers at this level.

Mistress Of Love (33/1, Paddy Power) similarly needs to find more having been beaten behind Mot Juste and Angel’s Hideaway in the Oh So Sharp Stakes, and the Scat Daddy filly could only manage third in a Listed race last time behind Blue Gardenia at Sandown on her final outing.

Kevin Ryan’s charge needs considerably more on her form to date if she’s to be a factor in this race, but the drop to seven furlongs doesn’t appear ideal given she appeared to find some improvement for the stiffer test last time.

Godolphin run two in the race, with Orchid Star (12/1, William Hill) looking the pick of the pair from the boys in blue and Charlie Appleby’s charge could go close as she pursues a hat-trick of wins.

The Dubawi filly showed fast ground on turf to be no issue when finding only one too good on her debut at Leicester in September, and she returned from a subsequent break to post back-to-back wins on the all-weather at Chelmsford and Newcastle respectively.

The latter occasion saw her run out a three lengths’ winner over Farrdhana, scoring readily, and while this is a step up in class she is clearly going the right way; she could have better to come, and while another jolt of improvement is required in this contest, she isn’t one to easily discount.

Appleby also saddles Nashirah (14/1, Paddy Power) who won a Yarmouth maiden last October on her third career start from Fabiolla, and the Dubawi filly has shaped well in starts on dirt and turf at Meydan over the winter.

She was last seen finishing fifth of 15 runners in the Meydan Classic Trial behind Golden Jaguar, beaten three lengths, and she can make her presence felt although stablemate Orchid Star very much looks the main hope of the Godolphin pair.

Completing the line-up for this Group Three contest, Sunday Star (15/2, Bet365) won a course and distance maiden last term on her third start having chased home Glance at Goodwood the time before.

The Kodiac filly had shown the benefit of her first run here in July over an inadequate trip, but she has improved for the longer trip and she was only one length behind Mot Juste and Angel’s Hideaway when finishing third in the Oh So Sharp Stakes.

She raced keenly that day and may just have expended too much energy given that she appeared to fold towards the end of the race; but if she can settle better here on her return then she could go well and she holds solid each-way claims of success.


MAIN EDITION (4/1, William Hill) won her first three starts as a juvenile, which included winning the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot last June. Mark Johnston’s Zoffany filly subsequently bounced back from a poor run in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes on the July Course to resume winning ways with a defeat of La Pelosa at this track in the Sweet Solera Stakes.

The three-year old lost little caste in defeat despite only finishing fifth to Skitter Scatter at the Curragh in September, and she rounded off her season when finishing three lengths’ third to Just Wonderful back here in the Shadwell Rockfel Stakes. 

That juvenile form is arguably the best on offer here, given she is a dual winner at this level; and if she shows improvement from two to three years then she could be worth siding with to make a winning return to action with Ryan Moore booked for the ride.


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2019 Nell Gwyn Stakes tips - Johnston's 4/1 chance can be Main player in Tuesday's Newmarket feature

Brian Healy takes a runner-by-runner look ahead to Tuesday's feature race at Newmarket, and he gives his big race verdict on the Group Three highlight on day one of the Craven Meeting.

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