Michael Owen will hope that his Brown Panther will score for him on the first day of the new season. 

Brown Panther runs in what his trainer Tom Dascombe described to Racing Plus as “an interesting little race” – The Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury this afternoon. If their horse doesn’t score here he would not have missed an open goal as he will find strong opposition in the form of the St Leger winning Masked Marvel and the Melbourne Cup hopeful Mount Athos. Brown Panther ran gamely behind the top mile and a half horses in Europe last time at Ascot and won well the time before at Pontefract – up in distance today he stands a good chance of reversing last year’s St Leger form with Masked Marvel. Luca Cumani commented this week that his runner (Mount Athos) would need to be at least placed to get into the field for the race down under and that being his season’s aim connections will be determined on a big run today.

The Group Two Hungerford Stakes is an interesting and competitive renewal. The Newbury contest has attracted a quality field including – Strong Suit, Soul, Alanza, Libranno and Pastoral Player. These runners have all shown potential this season and Crockford can not be confident of punting success but has been impressed by the runs of the Hughie Morrison trained Pastoral Player.

Crockford’s Dead Cert – Scatter Dice (3.00 Chester)
This game horse ran well last Saturday for Chantal Sutherland at Ascot in the Shergar Cup and can keep up her consistent form at Chester today. Crockford can’t help but notice the form that Johnston has been in this Summer and his horse is well in today to add to the winning tally.

Crockford’s Whisper – Our Jonathan (3.30 Ripon e/w)
At 14/1 this Kevin Ryan horse jumps out of the page to Crockford as an excellent each way gamble especially given the form of the horse and the pre-season confidence from the trainer. He is also drawn well against the rail with competitive handicaps like this often bringing the best out of him.

Archer selects Excess Knowledge

Archer’s Selection – Excess Knowledge (2.00 Newbury)
With entries in the Racing Post Trophy and Royal Lodge and his overall aim appearing to be the 2013 Derby, Archer would certainly of been up on this colt.

Crockford’s other gambles around the courses this afternoon:

Chester – White Coppice (1.50), Scatter Dice (3.00), Arnold Lane and Bible Black e/w (3.35) and Harry Trotter (5.15)
Doncaster – Spieta (2.05) and Mont Ras e/w (3.50)
Ripon – Parisian Pyramid (2.20), Jo’Burg (2.55) and Our Jonathan e/w (3.30)
Newmarket – Fleeting Smile (2.15), Witchry e/w (2.45), Galician, Poole Harbour e/w and Amadeus Wolftone e/w (3.20) and Ex Oriente (5.05)
Newbury – Excess Knowledge (2.00), Brown Panther (2.30), Pastoral Player (3.05), Jacob Cats (3.40) and Commend (4.55)
Perth – Hawkhill (3.10), Cause of Causes and Kian’s Delight e/w (4.15) and Raajih (4.45)