THE bet365 Craven Stakes is a Group 3 contest over a mile and market leaders Zakouski and Royal Marine are both owned by Godolphin, but stabled with different trainers.
Charlie Appleby sent ZAKOUSKI (3.35) to Kempton for his only run last season and the colt defeated 4-9 hot-pot Headman quite comfortably. Headman didn't do anything for the form at Newbury last week when only sixth to King Ottokar, although he may not have acted on the soft ground. Zakouski is probably open to plenty of improvement.
Royal Marine is trained by Saeed bin Suroor and the colt arrived back at HQ under a bit of a cloud after his poor fourth in the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial. That was on dirt, however, and his back-form on turf is top class. Martyn Meade's Confiding ran third behind Too Darn Hot in the Solario Stakes at Sandown and occupied the same slot in the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood behind Dark Vision. He is no forlorn hope at big odds.
Course specialist BRANDO (3.00) isn't much of a price but looks up to landing his third straight Abernant Stakes. Kevin Ryan's sprinter also won a handicap at this meeting in 2016, so he goes well fresh and acts on all types of ground. Gifted Master likes to blaze a trail and front-runners were difficult to peg back on the slick surface yesterday.
At Beverley, BOUTONNIERE (3.25) is worth a bet. He beat Emirates Empire at Lingfield last month and Michael Bell's runner-up has since won by more than four lengths at Wolverhampton off a 78 rating. Boutonniere gets in here off 77 on his handicap debut for in-form Andrew Balding.
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