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The Craven Stakes is the feature race of Newmarket's three day meeting and it always attracts a cluster of top class three year olds.

Haafhd was the last horse to win the Craven-Guineas double, back in 2004. William Haggas will have the first Classic of the season in mind for RIVET, who tops BTO+ ratings heading into the affair. The son of Fastnet Rock was one of the leading juveniles either side of the Irish Sea last term and he should improve this season. Rivet scooped the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster in September from Thunder Snow, who subsequently won the UAE Derby at Meydan last month. Rivet was turned over in the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket on his next start finishing fifth, however, he was just three-and-a-half lengths behind winner Churchill on that occasion. Haggas' charge bounced back to form in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster later in October. Under a confident ride by Andrea Atzeni, the colt romped to a one-and-three-quarter length win and went into plenty of notebooks. If Rivet can reproduce that sort of form from the Racing Post Trophy, he should make his presence felt. The colt will have the services of Frankie Dettori and Haggas has been in cracking form and brags a 31% better than expected win-rate in the past two weeks.

WAR DECREE could go off as market leader for Aidan O'Brien, who had a winner at Newmarket yesterday. The son of War Front only had the three races last term but won two of them and was second in the other. After scratching off his duck on the first attempt, War Decree was just beaten at Newmarket in the Superlative Stakes. But O'Brien's charge improved plenty for that effort and displayed his improvement in the Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood. War Decree got the better of Thunder Snow by one-and-a-three-quarter lengths at the Sussex circuit and also reversed the Newmarket form with Boynton. O'Brien kept War Decree off the track after that victory and he's likely filled out significantly during the winter. The one worry is that War Front offspring often do not improve as might be expected from two to three, with the likes of Air Force Blue and Fahydhan being prime examples.

Between 2012-2015, the Richard Hannon yard was untouchable in the Craven. It's a race the stable love to win and LARCHMONT LAD holds sound claims. He signed off last term with an eye-catching win in the Tattersalls Stakes today's circuit. Despite racing wide, the son of Footstepsinthesand showed a wicked turn of foot and ran on gamely to beat Whitecliffsofdover, who won yesterday, by three-quarters-of-a-length. That form looks extremely strong and there's no doubt Richard Hannon will have Larchmont Lad spot on for the affair as the trainer brags a 17% better than expected strike-rate with his runners returning off a 150+ day break in April.

EMINENT is an intriguing runner for Martyn Meade. The son of Frankel has won just his maiden but it doesn't mean he can't be competitive. Eminent hacked up on debut over today's course and distance last September, slamming the field by two-and-thre-quarter lengths. However, the form from that affair has worked out average, at best. Nonetheless, Meade may have had this race in mind for some time and the trainer boasts a superb 95% better than expected record at the course.

BENBATL is in the same boat as Eminent having had just a single start. Saeed bin Suroor's charge bolted to a seven-length win at Doncaster earlier this month with Josephine Gordon a mere passenger on board. Benbatl will have a fitness advantage over all of his rivals having had a run and the third from that Doncaster race has subsequently won.

Article Posted on Thursday 20th April 2017 @ 08.04

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