Betfred’s Owen McMahon picks out his best bet from all eight meetings in the UK & Ireland on Friday 28 July 2023.
Talk about expectation – NAQEEB is a half-brother to Baaeed, arguably the best Flat horse we’ve seen since Frankel, and Hukum, a Coronation Cup winner who’s vying for favouritism ahead of the King George at Ascot on Saturday.
We’ve only seen the three-year-old twice in his short career so far but, while it’s clear he’s unlikely to get anywhere near the level of his half-siblings, I’ve seen more than enough to suggest he can win races like this novice contest over 1m4f at Newmarket on Friday.
William Haggas’ son of Nathaniel made his racecourse debut at Leicester back in April and finished a well-beaten third, but he left that a long way behind when runner-up to Nothing To Sea for Ralph Beckett in a strong maiden at Newbury exactly 70 days ago.
That’s good form. The winner confirmed it when taking a Sandown handicap off a mark of 91 just hours ago as I write this on Thursday and the third-placed Tony Montana is a subsequent winner that also boasts an OR in the 90s.
I can only see one of the selection’s six rivals on Friday running to around that level – and that’s Middle Earth for John & Thady Gosden. He’s a definite danger, but I suspect he’ll ultimately fall short.
Naqeeb shapes like he’ll absolutely love this step up in trip, the Haggas team are in good form and the booking of the excellent Richard Kingscote is another major plus.
I – and I’m sure connections too – will be disappointed if he can’t get off the mark here.