Group Three Surprise Stakes Guide 2022

Jake Russell | @JakeRuss1000

Newbury - April 15 2022
Newbury 12:50
Ryan Moore

Red Verdon

J: Ryan Moore
T: Ed Dunlop
Age: 9
Weight: 9-0
OR: 104
Days: 7

The oldest runner of the field who is currently a 9yo, he is by far the most experienced horse in the field with 53 runs to his name, 10 of them getting his head in front past the post. He does look slightly more exposed compared to these so although he is a talented and a thoroughly game horse, the other runners will have improved past him over the winter months. A 9yo now, who is more exposed than the rest of the runners, but is a likeable horse who could run well, but would need others to not be fit to land a blow in this.

Newbury - April 15 2022
Newbury 12:50
Martin Harley

Raymond Tusk

J: Martin Harley
T: Alan King
Age: 7
Weight: 9-0
OR: 106
Days: 20

One of two runners in this contest who has already had a run this season, the Alan King horse was a winner at Doncaster in a Class 2 contest over this trip on good ground.

He wasn’t particularly fancied to win that day, by putting the break behind him to win going away by 4 lengths, which could have been more should he not have been eased down at the finish.

He might not have the speed or quality that some of these have in this race, but one thing for sure is he will stay for days and keep on running to the line.

His form previously is a bit patchy, but its clear to see last time out he is thriving at present and Alan King has had a phenomenal National Hunt season, so they will look to see that form pass over to the new flat season, and what a way to kick start the new season with a Group 3 win in this.

A winner on seasonal reappearance at Doncaster last time out, has the run to his name and is a thorough stayer who was rated at 113 at his peak a few seasons ago, so should he run up to that form he could be too good for these, but needs to put the age difference behind him.

Newbury - April 15 2022
Newbury 12:50
Christophe Soumillon


J: Christophe Soumillon
T: Charlie & Mark Johnston
Age: 5
Weight: 9-0
OR: 110
Days: 301

The Mark Johnston charge was electric in his 2yo campaign, where he ran three times and won on all occasions, including a Listed contest at this course back in August 2019.

He then looked to show he had trained on by winning the Group 2 Dante at York back in July 2020, beating the red-hot favourite in Highest Ground by a neck, holding on gamely to claim his first Group win in just his fifth career start.

He was showing clear promise early on in his 3yo campaign, but has slightly disappointed since, contesting in just four races since the Dante win, with a few minor setbacks to his name.

He finished 4 lengths behind Al Aasy at this course and distance last season in the Aston Park Stakes last May, with probably his best career performance to date was at Royal Ascot last year, where he came fourth in the Hardwicke Stakes, outrunning his odds of 40/1 and only being beaten by 5 and a half lengths.

Should he run to that level on his seasonal reappearance after a good amount of time off the track, he could be hard to stop, at a course he has won at previously.

Good second at Royal Ascot last season, is 3lb’s better off than the favourite and has top French jockey Christophe Soumillon booked to ride, which is a big eye-catcher of a jockey booking, but does need to overcome a 10-month break. Interesting runner who is sure to run well.

Newbury - April 15 2022
Newbury 12:50
Rob Hornby

Max Vega

J: Rob Hornby
T: Ralph Beckett
Age: 5
Weight: 9-0
OR: 105
Days: 175

Ralph Beckett’s horse has always been highly thought of by his connections but hasn’t quite lived up to those expectations with only 2 wins in just 11 runs, both of those coming in his 2yo campaign.

He looks a frustrating horse to follow at the moment, but has some good placed efforts in the Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury in August 2020, and in the St Simon Stakes last time out at Newbury behind Ilaraab in October of last year.

He is 3lb’s better off the favourite in this, and should he return to the track fit and ready to go, with that tilt in weights he could reverse the form with the William Haggas mount. This does look to be his best trip, as his best recent form comes at 1m4f.

Has only won twice in his career, both of those coming in his 2yo season, has some decent placed efforts and gets some weight off the favourite, but does look frustrating to follow so chances will be taken if backing this horse.

Newbury - April 15 2022
Newbury 12:50
Tom Marquand


J: Tom Marquand
T: William Haggas
Age: 5
Weight: 9-3
OR: 108
Days: 175

William Haggas won this race last season with the very impressive Al Aasy, who won this race going away by just under 5 lengths, unfortunately things didn’t fall for that horse later on in the season as he struggled to win in the manner that he suggested in this race last year, so they yard will look for Ilaraab to do slightly better.

This horse has some terrific form to his name, with the career record of 6 career wins in just 11 runs, including a 1 length win in the Group 3 St Simon Stakes at Newbury last October after taking the step up in class in his stride with a few placed Group efforts the runs before, with Max Vega and Morando in behind.

This horse has to carry 3lb’s more than his rivals in this, but he does go well fresh and has won over course and distance at this level, he usually kicks starts his season off in a slightly lesser race so it shows that the yard feel he has improved over the winter and will look to be even better in his 5yo campaign.

Has to give his rivals some weight, but he beat some of these last season, Group 3 winner over course and distance last summer, so he is very much the one to beat.

Newbury - April 15 2022
Newbury 12:50
J F Egan


J: J F Egan
T: Andrew Balding
Age: 4
Weight: 8-11
OR: 103
Days: 182

The second 4yo in the race who gets a very valuable 4lb’s off the favourite, does look slightly up against it compared to some of these.

He was a Listed winner at Chester last season however, so there is clearly some talent in his locker, but his run before that was little to be desired when contesting in class 4 contest and leaving the track without winning.

He is a 4yo however so might have improved over the winter months, but he is the lowest rated in the race so needs to step up to another level to land a blow in this on seasonal debut.

Two-time winner last season with a Listed contest to his name, is the lowest rated in the field but has 4lb’s off the favourite, will need to step up his form to another level to win this contest on seasonal debut.

Newbury - April 15 2022
Newbury 12:50
Frankie Dettori


J: Frankie Dettori
T: John & Thady Gosden
Age: 4
Weight: 9-0
OR: 104
Days: 282

Frankie Dettori has returned to the UK in top form, riding a few winners at Newmarket’s Craven meeting in the week, his ride Stowell is by far the least experienced horse in this contest making him a very intriguing runner.

A winner at Ascot on his second career run in May last year, he ran superbly well to win going away by just over 2 lengths with the two rivals being multiple winners since.

By far this horse’s best career performance to date was at Ascot once again at the Royal meeting, coming 3rd in the Group 2 Queen’s Vase behind Kemari and Wordsworth, only beaten by just under 4 lengths with again the form being franked since.

He then did disappointed last time out on his last run of the season at Newmarket when coming last of 5 at Newmarket, but the track potentially might not have suited this horse, Newbury is a slight easier track to run at, so this horse who also gets the 3lb’s off the favourite, could run a huge race for powerful connections.

Natural improvement could have occurred over the winter months with this horse, should we see that, and he is fit and ready to go, he could be hard to stop.

Only had the four career runs, winning once at Ascot last May, he then went on to run a brilliant 3rd in the Queen’s Vase only beaten by 4 lengths, a 4yo who could have improved over the winter months, and looks as if he goes well fresh.

Got a very good chance at the weights.