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Thursday 16 July 2015

Weatherbys Super Sprint (15:45, Newbury, July 18)

The Weatherbys Super Sprint, run over 5 furlongs and 34 yards at Newbury, has produced three winning favourites in the last ten years, but also winners at 100/1, 25/1 and 20/1, such that the average starting price of the winner in that period is approaching 18/1. This year, Tim Easterby saddles four runners, Richard Hannon saddles six and Richard Fahey saddles seven, so the race presents an intriguing puzzle for punter to solve.

Mark Johnston, who has plenty of strength in depth in the juvenile division this year, saddles just one, the twice-raced Royal Applause filly Hawatif (12/1). The winner of the Haydock maiden in which she finished fourth, beaten 2 lengths, on her debut in June, Blue Bayou, has since been beaten a nose and a short head in the Group 2 Duchess of Cambridge Stakes and Hawatif herself has since won her maiden at Carlisle by 6 lengths. She obviously takes a significant step up in class, but Silvestre De Sousa has a 7-28 (28%) strike rate on Mark Johnston’s juveniles so far this season, so the partnership must be feared.

Tony Hamilton has ridden more juvenile winners for Richard Fahey than any other jockey this season, so his mount Lathom (28/1) seems the natural place to turn for the pick of the Musley Bank trainer’s septet. The son of Compton Place was well beaten, but not entirely disgraced, in the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot last month, but his earlier second, beaten 1¼ lengths, behind subsequent winner First Selection (now rated 95) in a conditions stakes race at Beverley in May suggests his chance may not be as forlorn as his odds imply.

Quick And Quirky (20/1) could make no impression on Gifted Master in the closing stages at Newcastle, over six furlongs, last month, but the winner had previously been beaten just three-quarters of a length, at level weights, by subsequent Coventry Stakes winner Buratino, so there was no disgrace in that. The drop back to the minimum trip is something of an unknown but, even so, this outsider and daughter of Lilbourne Lad may be worth a punt.

A 25-runner sales race for juveniles probably warrants minimum stakes, but for anyone who fancies a ‘tilt’, our three against the field this week are Hawatif (12/1 with Paddy Power), Lathom (28/1 with Bet365) and Quick And Quirky (20/1 with Sky Bet and Stan James). Good luck!