2019 Mill Reef Stakes tips – 8/1 shot out to Impress in Newbury’s weekend highlight
Our expert takes a look through the betting for the feature Group Two at Newbury on Saturday and provides readers with his betting suggestions.
Taking pride of place in the center of Newbury’s card on Saturday is the Mill Reef Stakes. Named after one of the finest flat horses of the modern era, many future stars have proven their quality in the Mill Reef Stakes, with previous winners like Mon Fils, Dark Angel and Ribchester going on to secure major honours later in their careers.
Richard Hannon’s father is the most successful trainer in the Mill Reef, having saddled four winners during his time at the helm. In a bid to follow in his father’s footsteps, Hannon Jnr had three runners in the early ante-post betting, but he’s decided to go with just one, confirming Mystery Power (7/2 Coral) as his only runner on Friday.
The Superlative Stakes champion may be the only Group winner in this field, but think Mystery Power is fairly vulnerable. The form of that Group Two is working out terribly, with the other seven runners failing to claim a single victory in eleven subsequent appearances combined. Hannon’s charge did his best work in the latter stages of that seven-furlong Group Two, so dropping back to six may not be ideal. Mystery Power didn’t deal with his three-pound penalty all that well in the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood and only two winners of the Mill Reef in the last 20 years have carried a penalty to glory.
Wth Mystery Power weak at the head of the market, Pierre Lapin (3/1 William Hill) has moved into solo-favouritism, despite spending 120-days off the track.Roger Varian’s youngster looked set to carry a short price-tag into the Coventry Stakes after a very taking debut victory at Haydock, where he jumped the track a furlong after leaving the stalls and still pulled clear to win by almost four lengths. Sadly, Pierre Lapin was forced to sit out Royal Ascot and hasn’t been seen since. Varian has, however, handed his young colt some lofty autumn entries and should take a big step forward for his return to action.
The last filly to run in the Mill Reef was Perfect Angel, who ran Harry Angel close in 2016. Shadn (7/1 Unibet) will bid to gone one better on Saturday and Andrew Balding’s juvenile looks to be in with a decent each-way shout. Shadn burst onto the scene when winning the Rose Bowl Stakes here at Newbury, defeating some decent rivals in Misty Grey and Repartee. She didn’t run badly behind Boomer in the Prestige Stakes at Goodwood, failing to find that turn of foot needed to secure victory over seven furlongs and dropping back in trip looks a wise move.
Marco Botti took Malotru (6/1 William Hill) over to his native Italy to plunder a Group Three prize during the summer. The Casamento colt didn’t run badly at all on his return to England in the Gimcrack Stakes, staying on from the rear to place fourth behind Threat, who boosted that form by winning the Champagne Stakes last weekend.
Royal Comando (10/1 Coral) is worth a mention, having finished his race off nicely after getting stuck in traffic in the Richmond Stakes. He holds each-way appeal at 10/1, however, the betting suggests there’s little to seperate the two-year-olds in this year’s Mill Reef and I’d rather take on the fancied horses with a even-less exposed runner in the form of IMPRESSOR (8/1 Unibet).
Marcus Tregoning was due to give Impressor his debut here at Newbury back in July, but Martin Dwyer’s mount played up at the start and refused to enter the stalls. Later that month, Impressor entered his stall fine at Glorious Goodwood and went on to make an eye-catching debut in the maiden won by Cobra Eye. Dwyer’s mount ducked left upon leaving the stalls and found himself in the middle of a barging match two furlongs out, but managed to recover his composure before coasting home in fourth.
Impressor then took his chance in another maiden at Salisbury, where the betting suggested Stoweman would be hard to beat. Dwyer was carried to the front by his enthusiastic mount four furlongs from home and this son of Footstepsinthesand soon put the race to bed, powering clear of the well-backed favourite to secure an impressive four-length victory.
Like at Goodwood, Dwyer used just hands-and-heels in the closing stages at Salisbury and Impressor soon put daylight between himself and the field. Stoweman came out and won comfortably on his following start, justifying the RPR of 92 that Impressor was handed for that sparkling Salisbury performance.
Dwyer clearly understands how to ride Impressor and he’s no stranger to success in the Mill Reef, having guided Firebreak to victory for Ian Balding in 2001. With those at the head of the betting seemingly vulnerable, a chance can be taken on Impressor building on that Salisbury success by challenging for this famous Group Two.