It’s usually a good idea to pay attention to the Craven Stakes. Last year’s winner Masar went onto win the Epsom Derby in June, while the 1m race also serves as a key trial for the 2,000 Guineas.
This year’s renewal gets underway at 3:35pm live on ITV4. And we’ve marked your card ahead of the Group 3 trial with a betting preview featuring each of the nine runners and riders.
Our traders are finding it tough to separate Godolphin pair Zakouski and Royal Marine at the top of the market. The former looks set to go off as favourite after a taking debut success at Kempton.
Last year’s winning jockey William Buick is booked to ride for Charlie Appleby, who’ll be hoping the Sharmadel colt can emulate his sire who won two Group 1 contests over 1m.
Zakouski may be the fav but it’s Royal Marine who sets the standard. Saeed bin Suroor’s charge was last seen finishing fourth in the UEA 2,000 Guineas Trial but it’s his run before which interests us.
The Raven’s Pass colt took the prestigious Group 1 Jean-Luc Lagardere in October, finishing ahead of the impressive Broome, who subsequently won by 8l on reappearance earlier this month.
Middle of the pack
Don’t rule out Skardu. Plenty did at Newmarket last September only to end up with egg on their faces as the 33/1 shot surged passed Godolphin pair Velorum and Estihdaaf to win cosily by 2l.
That suggests the colt should enjoy the step up to 1m. If he can improve sufficiently on his second racecourse start, don’t be surprised if Appleby and bin Suroor have to settle for the places again.
Set Piece will benefit from the experience of Ladbrokes ambassador Frankie Dettori on board as he bids to make it three straight wins. The Dansili colt is already a two-time winner over 1m.
This is a big step up for the three-year-old, although the market suggests he should finish ahead of Global Spectrum for Gay Kelleway, who has already won twice this season.
It’s rare to get a long-odds winner of the Craven. But it does happen. Kool Kompany triumphed at 14/1 in 2015, while Eminent sprung a minor shock in 2017 to win at 8/1 for Martyn Meade.
The trainer will hope for a similar outcome with Confiding. The Iffraaj colt has twice finished 3rd over 7f in Group company but kept on well to suggest the 1m trip should provide a better fit.
Richard Hannon is a two-time winner of the race and saddles Group 2 runner-up Watan with Ryan Moore on board, while Momkin and Jackstar round out the nine.
The latter makes the most appeal of the trio after running on well over 7f at Wolverhampton last month. He’ll still need the market principals to underperform in order to hit the frame.
All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication