Newmarket’s first meeting of the year is one that has thrown up clues for the forthcoming season since it was held in 1771 didn’t disappoint this year. The three days bristled with action though sadly no general public.

The feature race of the opening Tuesday, the bet365 Feilden Stakes (Listed) has thrown up a couple of Derby winners in recent years. This renewal belonged to trainer Charlie Appleby who saddled the first two home. Highland Avenue beat Secret Protector a length and a quarter under James Doyle. The winner is a best-priced 16/1 chance for the 2000 Guineas. 

Wednesday’s bet365 Earl Of Sefton Stakes (Group 3) went to 7/1 outsider of four, William Haggas’ My Oberon under James Doyle and now a 10/1 for the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury in May. Postrace the winning trainer said he thought it likely they’d go for the Lockinge, adding, ‘I’m quite keen at some stage to get him up to a mile and a quarter but I want to run in a Group One and try and make him a bit of a stallion. I think the Lockinge is the obvious race.’

William Haggas got the feature race double up on the day when Sacred won the Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes under Ryan Moore. The 6/1 chance won the race comfortably and saw bookmakers quote her top priced 10/1 for the Qipco 1000 Guineas Stakes. Talking after the race the trainer said:

‘I’ve always thought she would stay, she has proved that today and I always thought she had a turn of foot and she has proved that today too’ adding that it was a ‘No brainer’ to go for the Guineas.’

Thursday’s bet365 Abernant Stakes (Group 3) saw David O’Meara’s Daniel Tudhope ridden 7/1 chance Summerghand thwart 8/13 hotpot Oxted. The winner came with a late rattle to mug the jolly close home. This victory following up from his victory in the Betway All-Weather Sprint Championships Conditions Stakes on All-Weather Championships Finals Day at Lingfield. Trainer of the runner-up Roger Teal said he was gutted and that Ryan Moore considered he should have held on to his mount for another 100 yards, but he wasn’t blaming him. He stoically added that he hadn’t expected him to finish second today, he’d been working well at home but ran a bit flat. 

The feature race action of the meeting ended as it began, with a one-two for Charlie Appleby and Godolphin. The 11/4 market leader Master Of The Seas under William Buick beat 4/1 stablemate La Barrosa three quarters of a length. The trainer said:

‘William had to ask him a few questions there, he had to go through the gears going into the dip which is hard for horses, but he’s very well balanced. He picked up well and went through the line strong It was very pleasing by the pair of them. The hood helped Master Of The Seas settle and we’ll probably keep it on for the Guineas.’

The colt earned a top quote of 14/1 for the 2000 Guineas for his exertions today. 

Simon Nott

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