NEWBURY 2.55 (MILL REEF STAKES)
The Mill Reef Stakes is the feature contest over at Newbury this weekend won last year by the smart James Garfield and is a Group 2 affair that’s contested over a distance of six furlongs. This year’s renewal is slightly below par compared too recent renewals however its still an extremely competitive affair with True Mason currently heading affairs for Karl Burke at around the 11/4 mark. Karl Burke has a decent record in this contest winning it a couple of times in the last ten years and this horse comes here off the back of a third placed effort in Group 1 company in France. He’s likely to make his presence felt in this and has the services of Ben Curtis on board. Next up in the betting here comes Andrew Balding’s representative and that’s of course Shine So Bright in the colours of King Power Racing and he’s been plying his trade in Group 2 company in his last few starts posting respectable efforts in all of them. There is a slight question mark over his temperament when it comes down to a battle but if anyone can get a tune out of him the in form Oisin Murphy can. You can find Shine So Bright trading at around a general 7/2 mark.
John Gosden’s is represented here by none other than Kessaar who was last seen when winning the Group 3 Sirenia Stakes at Kempton earlier this month, he will need to transfer that form back onto the turf here, if he is to get involved but could well do just that with Frankie Dettori on board. He’s a general 5/1 shot. Garrus comes here as the least exposed of the bunch for Jeremy Noseda and was last seen when bolting up at Newcastle. He looks to have a lot of potential about him and needs to be taken very seriously, Jamie Spencer is on board and Garrus is a best priced of around 7/1. Mark Johnston’s charge Marie’s Diamond comes here looking to bounce back from a poor effort in Group 1 company the last day in France and will be looking to find the form of his Group 3 success at the Curragh in July. Course and distance winner The Irish Rover (15/2) represents Aidan O’Brien here and despite having a slightly patchy look to his form he still commands respect, as he is a smart performer on a going day in his own right. Ryan Moore takes the ride. The field is concluded by Koncheck for Clive Cox and Don Armado who are 14/1 and 25/1 respectively.
A very tough race to call as a case could quite easily be made for most of them but i’m just going to side with KESSAAR for John Gosden. A smart winner the last day at Kempton in Group 3 company I think he could well step up again here and put in another bold showing this time under Frankie.