GBI RACING

Roaring Lion puts Classic claims to the test in Craven

Roaring Lion Roaring Lion bids to confirm himself a major Classic contender in the bet365 Craven Stakes at Newmarket on Thursday.
Run over the course and distance of the Qipco 2000 Guineas, the Group Three contest has long been considered Britain's leading trial for the Rowley Mile showpiece on the first Saturday in May.
However, it is 14 years since Haafhd won both races for Barry and Richard Hills and plenty have tried and failed since.
The John Gosden-trained Roaring Lion is long odds-on to claim the first leg of the double, having won three of his four starts as a juvenile before going down by just a neck to Saxon Warrior in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster.
Oisin Murphy has ridden Roaring Lion in his last three starts, which include a narrow victory in Newmarket's Royal Lodge, and is looking forward to renewing the partnership.
"He's quite laid-back and probably doesn't exert himself too much until you wake him up," the jockey told At The Races.
"Mr Gosden said the other day there's no races won on the gallops in Newmarket and it's fair point.
"From the experience I have of him I think he's a very straightforward horse and hopefully I can keep it as simple as possible."
Charlie Appleby is double-handed as he bids to win the Craven for the first time.
Masar performed with credit at the highest level as a juvenile, but needs to bounce back from a disappointing effort in Dubai last month.
Glorious Journey is unbeaten in two starts and, like Masar, struck gold in Group Three company at two.
Appleby said: " Masar flew in from Dubai this week and is fit and well. The combination of his unfamiliarity with the dirt surface and a wide draw means that you can put a line through his latest Meydan run, but at least he has the benefit of a run.
"He is a colt that has shown his inexperience in the past, but he's done plenty of racing and travelling and he has been getting better with every race.
"If he brings his strong Jean-Luc Lagardere and Solario form into the Craven, it will make him a major player.
"Glorious Journey has also been in Dubai and has done very well, but whatever he does on Thursday, there will be some improvement in him."
Hugo Palmer has booked Ryan Moore to partner White Mocha.
The son of Lope De Vega, who is fitted with a tongue-strap and blinkers for the first time, won twice from three outings last season but faces a significant step up in class.
Palmer said: "I just felt watching his races last season that he was going to win a lot easier than he did, and he even got beat one day.
"I thought blinkers might help him concentrate, so I worked him in a pair the other morning and they really sharpened him up.I was very impressed by how he worked.
"I wanted to start him off over a mile and given he's the winner of two races and I don't really want to run him under a double penalty, we were left with two options - the Craven or the Guineas.
"We're starting him off in the Craven and we're going to learn an awful lot."
He added: "Obviously there's a hot favourite, but they always say you should never run scared of one horse and we're looking forward to running him."
Peter Chapple-Hyam saddles course-and-distance winner Just Brilliant, whileDenis Quinn's Sir Hamilton and Thunderhooves from John Ryan's yard, both of whom will be big outsiders, complete the line-up.

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