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Skardu ready to take on strong field in bet365 Craven Stakes

Skardu is one of five unbeaten colts among a ten-runner field for the Group 3 £60,000 bet365 Craven Stakes, the centrepiece of the three-day bet365 Craven Meeting, at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile Racecourse on Wednesday (17th April).

Skardu ready to take on strong field in bet365 Craven Stakes

Skardu is one of five unbeaten colts among a ten-runner field for the Group 3 £60,000 bet365 Craven Stakes, the centrepiece of the three-day bet365 Craven Meeting, at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile Racecourse on Wednesday (17th April).

SKARDU winning the Derrinstown British EBF Maiden Stakes in Newmarket, United Kingdom.
SKARDU winning the Derrinstown British EBF Maiden Stakes in Newmarket, United Kingdom. Picture:(Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

This one mile event is a leading trial for the first Classic of the season, the QIPCO 2000 Guineas, run over this same course and distance on Saturday, 4th May.
 
Skardu Horseform  comes into it with a single career start under his belt - an impressive two-length maiden victory over seven furlongs of the Rowley Mile last September. That form received a boost when the third home, Estihdaaf, landed the Group 3 UAE 2000 Guineas in Dubai in February.
 
His opposition is led by a colt with a similar profile in Charlie Appleby’s Zakouski, successful on his only start at Kempton Park in November and recently the subject of a big gamble that has seen his odds for the QIPCO 2000 Guineas tumble to as low as 7-1 in some places.
 
Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin, the ownership operation responsible for Zakouski, has a second string to its bet365 Craven challenge in the shape of the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Royal Marine. He is already proven at Group 1 level, having landed the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at ParisLongchamp last October.
 
Apart from Skardu and Zakouski, the other three unbeaten members of the line-up are Global Spectrum, successful in the valuable Al Biddah Mile in Qatar seven weeks ago;  Set Piece, twice an easy all-weather winner over the winter; and Jackstar, who made a victorious debut at this meeting exactly a year ago and returned from a long lay-off to score at Wolverhampton last month.
 
Wednesday’s other Group 3 contest is the £60,000 Connaught Access Flooring Abernant Stakes. Kevin Ryan’s Brando - attempting to lift this six furlong contest for the third successive year - heads a field of eight runners which also features the Wokingham Stakes runner-up, Dreamfield, and the five-time course winner, Gifted Master.
 
The running order at this year’s bet365 Craven Meeting has been altered due to ITV Racing’s coverage on Good Friday. ITV 4 will carry four races from Tuesday and Wednesday and as a result, the bet365 Craven Stakes will take place on Wednesday, 17th April. Please visit www.newmarketracecourses.co.uk for full details of each day’s running order.
 
 
William Haggas, trainer of Skardu, said:
 
“Skardu has done well over the winter, I am very happy with him. All he has done so far is win a maiden, which I wasn’t expecting as he ain’t that flash at home, but he won easily in a good time against a good field.
 
“He has come to hand a bit quicker than I expected - a month ago I did not think he would be ready for the bet365 Craven but the dry weather and the dry ground has helped him. He will come on for what he does on Wednesday as it’s not his Derby at all – it’s a trial for a better race.
 
“He’s entered in the 2000 Guineas, though that’s not to say that he’s a definite runner – we will be much wiser about that after the Craven. I suspect the opposition will be very strong – I know Zakouski is very fancied.”
 Racing And Sports




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