Nuvolari strongly-fancied to topple the favourite!

Filistine will be a massive target for ‘big-hitters’ in division two of the twelve-runner Novice Stakes over seven furlongs of ‘good to soft’ Newmarket today when the influence of trainers John and Thady Gosden, plus ex-champion Frankie Dettori, are likely to magnetise a high-profile situation to the enth degree.

It’s impossible to know how Filistine, second (of 12!) over course and distance four weeks ago, can possibly be priced odds-against and yet big money merchants are guaranteed to plough in regardless and leave bookies with colossal liabilities, if indeed this once-raced Alamanzor colt finishes first; he’ll need to improve!

‘All that glitters is not gold’ is a favourite saying and I’ve got several good reasons to mention it; Nuvolari,  Godolphin-owned newcomer, Silent Speech, and useful twice-raced Vee Sight, not to mention Guitar, all from profile ‘specialist’ two-year-old training establishments, and fancied!

Significant was the short starting price of Filistine when beaten a length under Rav Havlin by William Haggas-trained Al Mubhir and it seemed somewhat against the grain for ‘Big John’ to ‘go for it’ first-up because the champion is a great believer in an educational ‘first day at school’ for two-year-olds. This debut turned out to be a baptism of fire!

On my time-handicap Filistine achieved a mark several pounds inferior to that posted by Nuvolari, game head winner over a similar distance at Epsom last month, ridden by Sean Levey, who is very much key to form and outcome of this intriguing race.

Levey rides debutant Guitar for Hannon and so Eve Johnson Houghton has booked her excellent stand-by, Charles Bishop; talk about ‘musical jockeys!’

Nuvolari, an 8/1 chance, stayed on gamely to prevail by a head from massively-fancied Chepchick on the famous ‘Downs’ with the rest three lengths and upwards in arrears; juveniles learn so much around switchback tracks and I’ll be backing this Time Test colt each-way.

Division one isn’t clear cut but Jane Chapple-Hyam’s Sea The Stars colt, Swashbuckling, should be better for experience of a close fifth last month, to Al Mubhir and Filistine!

National Hunt racing is now firmly in evidence and in-form Nigel Twiston-Davies, and son Sam, should go close with progressive Stream Of Stars in the Maiden Hurdle over two miles of ‘good’ ground Wetherby; look no further for the winner!

We’ve batted on a sticky wicket this week and so ‘time’ for heavy roller!

Selections, Newmarket, 12.45 Swashbuckling (e.w); 1.20 Nuvolari (e.w); Wetherby, 4.55 Stream Of Stars (e.w).

 Jeffrey Ross, horse-racing correspondent for WMN since 1983 when winning the most prestigious racing journalist award, Sporting Life Naps Table, before winning it a record number of six times collectively in the Racing Post, the current ‘trade’ paper, including 2019