Desert Law can prevail in sprint
A number of promising three-year-olds put their reputations on the line in the Coral.co.uk Sprint Handicap at Newmarket this afternoon.
Few of the 13-strong field have as much potential as L'Ami Louis. Raced only once as a juvenile, the Henry Candy-trained son of Elusive City really caught the eye when third in a decent maiden on his reappearance here over seven furlongs in April.
On dropping back to today's trip of six furlongs at Salisbury next time, he made all to win, beating a couple of subsequent winners in the process. Off a lenient first-time mark of 83, he is a live prospect now off just 8st 9lb.
The worry with L'Ami Louis, however, would be that he needed every inch of the trip to shake off the runner-up at Salisbury. At odds of 9/2, he may be vulnerable over the distance in a competitive handicap such as this.
Kieren Fallon's mount What About You is also of interest. A five-length winner at Wolverhampton in November, Richard Fahey's gelding makes his seasonal debut here, and could make the frame at an each-way price of 13/2.
Desert Law is another making his first start of the new campaign. Like the aforementioned duo, he is unexposed with just three starts to his name, but he displayed a touch of class that many of today's rivals may not be able to match when he scored over course and distance on his most recent outing in October.
Under today's rider Jimmy Fortune, Andrew Balding's Oasis Dream colt produced a burst of acceleration to go clear in the manner of a proper horse inside the final furlong. The horses that finished second and third to him franked the form by filling the first and second spots in the same race next time.
The fourth and fifth also came out and won, while the sixth home has collected twice; that kind of evidence cannot be ignored. Off a mark of 91 that leaves him with a manageable 9st 3lb, Desert Law is excellent value at 7/1.
Just before the feature, six runners contest what will be a hugely informative Listed event over 10 furlongs. Any one of the six could have what's required to win.
Cai Shen, Namibian and Laajooj have form at this level, while Buthelezi and Barbican were first and second respectively in a handicap over course and distance last time. Off three pounds better terms, Buthelizi is weighted to confirm that form, but the way he ground out the result suggested that a step up in trip might be required.
Naqshabban could be the one best placed to take advantage. Luca Cumani's son of Street Cry is unbeaten in two career outings, running out a ready winner on his only start as a juvenile at Leicester in October.
When he reappeared in a conditions race at Sandown, Fallon produced a measured drive to get him up late on over a mile, so today's step up in trip is ideal. With the pace that he brings to the table, Naqshabban will be a formidable opponent.
Fallon and Cumani should also go close with Dubai Queen in the opening one-mile handicap, but Ektibaas is preferred here for Barry and Richard Hills. First time up, having run just once at two, Ektibaas scraped home in a mile maiden at Beverley.
He then improved on that to score on his handicap debut off 76 at Warwick, comfortably beating the subsequent winner Sagramor. If he progress again, a seven-pound penalty may not be enough to stop him.
At Haydock, High Standing appeals in the Timeform Jury Stakes. Ryan Moore's mount hasn't won for 12 months, but first-time blinkers might have the desired effect.
Best bet: Naqshabban