Saturday Racing Preview
All eyes will be on the Curragh this weekend where record breaking Epsom Oaks winner Snowfall looks to complete a Classic double. Elsewhere we have competitive cards from Newbury, Haydock and Newmarket along with a decent summer jumps card from Market Rasen. Last Saturday the preview struck gold with Tilsit 5/1, Winter Power 9/4 and Royal Fleet 6/4 all winning.
Side with the Shark in Curragh opener
The first race on the card from the Curragh is the Juddmonte Farms Expert Eye Irish EBF Maiden over 7 furlongs. 8 of the field of 12 are making their debuts so this could be a tricky race to assess. Of those with experience, Manu Et Corde and Shark Bay 2/1 clashed on debut, where the Aiden O’Brien inmate finished a length ahead. He seemed quite green in the early stages of that contest and hailing from Ballydoyle, considerably improvement can be expected. Manu Et Corde could also improve plenty after running green, but he did look a slightly awkward ride and he could take more time to mature. Shark Bay stayed on strongly on his first start and I am hoping this good-looking son of Australia can get the day off to a winning start.
Lyons youngster can prove his class
The first Group race of the day from the Curragh is the Jebel Ali Racecourse and Stables Anglesey Stakes over six and a half furlongs. A small but select field of six go to post where Beaty Inspire 11/8 could be a warm favourite having seriously impressed on debut at the course three weeks ago. Held up towards the rear, the son of Mehmas travelled effortlessly into contention and breezed into an early lead. Colin Keane asked him to go, and he shot clear despite running a little green. I think there is plenty more to come from this chestnut gelding and the form of his debut success wouldn’t look too bad either, with the fourth and fifth placed horses coming second since. Up Above was four lengths behind Beauty Inspire in third and has since been beaten five lengths by Hadman who lines here. He could look a little overpriced on that form line alone. Celtic Times has experience on his side with five runs already in the book and could be the pace angle in the race. He looks slightly exposed though and I will side with the exciting Beauty Inspire for Keane and Lyons.
Logo Hunter worth taking on in the Sapphire Stakes
The top-quality action keeps coming at the Curragh with the Group 2 Paddy Power Sapphire Stakes over 5 furlongs. Logo Hunter has been in fine form of late and deserves to be favourite but I’m going to take him on with Romantic Proposal 5/1 for Chris Hayes and Edward Lynam. The pair met back in May where Lego Hunter ran out an impressive winner, beating Romantic Proposal by four and a half lengths. There is reason to believe that Romantic Proposal can get closer this time around though. Lego Hunter had four starts under his belt going into that race, whilst Romantic Proposal was making his seasonal reappearance, so there is a nice fitness angle there. Romantic Proposal also has a 2lb swing at the weights, encountered some traffic problems and has gone from strength to strength since. I was seriously impressed with Romantic Proposal last time out and believe he has improved considerably since he first met Logo Hunter. At nearly five times the price he looks a nice play.
Sit back, relax and enjoy Snowfall
The big race of the day is up next on the cards, the Juddmonte Irish Oaks over a mile and a half. Eight Fillies have been declared for this year’s renewal but there is no doubt all eyes with be on Epsom heroine Snowfall 2/7. She hardly set the world on fire as a two-year-old but stepping up in trip as a three-year-old has been the making of her. She stormed to success in the Musidora before effortlessly flying clear in the big one itself. She finds herself 15lbs clear on Official Ratings and should take the world of beating. If there is to be one slight concern it would be the drying ground conditions. Both wins this season have come with ease in the ground which she won’t get here. Given her considerable improvement from two to three it is hard to read too much into her form last season. Being by Deep Impact, breeding would suggest quick ground may actually suit! At those very skinny odds, it would be a niggling doubt though.
Dewcup can land the lucky last
The final race I will take a look at from the Curragh is the 5:10, a handicap over 2 miles. Just the six runners are set to go to post, and I like the chances of Dewcup 5/2 for Ted Walsh. Officially Rated 133 over hurdles, her hurdles of mark of 81 looks potentially lenient and she has often shown glimpses of high-class form. The form of her last run when second to Dalton Highway looks good too. Dalton has come out and run a good race at Royal Ascot, whilst the sixth and eighth placed horses have since gone on to place next time out. Ever Present looks the obvious threat for Jesse Harrington, having won his first two starts on the flat. He will have to concede a stone to Dewcup though and I believe Ted Walsh’s mare has more mileage in her current handicap mark.
Half brother to Enable can make a name for himself
Over to Newbury now and the first race on their card I’ve taken a look at is the Listed bet365 Stakes over a mile and two furlongs. A very competitive field of 10 go to post with course and distance winner Stormy Antarctic topping the Official Ratings. Ed Walker’s chestnut gelding comes into this in fine form but will have to concede weight all round to some promising rivals. Real World was an emphatic winner of the Royal Hunt Cup and looks sure to take this step up in Grade in his stride. The form of that win is tough to assess though and Real World finds himself on a career high mark of 108, just 1lb more than Derab 5/1. The Gosden inmate does however receive 9lbs from that rival due to the three-year-old allowance and subsequently looks the pick at the weights. Being a half brother to the mighty Enable, the racing world naturally expects a lot from this son of Sea The Stars. He hasn’t quite lived up to that billing yet, but he does have some very good form in the book. On his seasonal reappearance he finished second to the now Group 1 winning filly Snow Lantern over a mile, before bolting up in a Newmarket Novice Stakes. He destroyed his rivals that day and the form has been franked since with the third, fourth and fifth placed horses all winning next time out. Derab was subject to quite the market move when finishing six lengths behind St Marks Basilica in the Prix Du Jockey Club last time out. That was by no means a poor effort and both the winner and runner up Pretty Tiger have franked the form since. Derab travelled a tad keen that day and didn’t enjoy the smoothest of passages. He’s been given a little break and I believe he can bounce back here and prove his class.
Buik can pounce abord the lion
Next up on the card from Newbury we have the Bahrain Turf Series Handicap over 2 miles where impressive Northumberland Vase winner Zeeband could be hard to beat. He has been raised 8lbs by the handicapper for that success and this looks a competitive contest, so I have decided to take him on. On a form line through Al Kout, Sleeping Lion 14/1 could be the play against him. Zeeband beat Al Kout that day by 8 lengths conceding 11lbs, whilst two starts back, Sleeping Lion beat Al Kout by 7 lengths conceding 14lbs. With 5lbs separating Zeeband and Sleeping Lion the price discrepancy looks large to me, considering I believe you can put a line through Sleeping Lion’s Royal Ascot run. He was slow into stride that day and travelled far too keenly throughout. William Buik is an eye-catching jockey booking and Sleeping Lion does have a fairly patching record, highlighting both his ability to bounce back from a poor run, and also underperform. At 14/1 I’m willing to take a chance he is on form, at a track where he has previously entered the winner’s enclosure.
More Newbury joy for Happy Romance
The big race of the day from Newbury is the Group 3 Hackwood Stakes over 6 furlongs. King’s Lynn and Tabdeed head the current betting, but I quite like the chances of Happy Romance 8/1 for Levey and Hannon. She put two slightly disappointing efforts behind her last time out when running a cracker in behind Came From The Dark. She was a tad slow away that day and stayed on strongly to challenge just over a furlong from home. She didn’t quite have the pace to get involved and this step back up to six furlongs looks a good move. Officially rated 103, she has a few pounds to find with a couple of these, but receiving 8lbs from the colts at top of the market will certainly help. We know she enjoys the track, having won the Super Sprint on the card last year and the ground should be ideal for her. In a trappy little heat she looks a tad overpriced to me.
Venture is ready to strike
The last race I will look at form Newbury is the Whitsbury Manor Stud Supporting The British EBF Premier Fillies’ Handicap over a mile. This looks a good race with nine runners set to go to post. Declared Interest is liking to prove a popular selection after running a cracker in the Kensington Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, but I will be siding with Ready To Venture 5/1 for the Haggas team. Officially Rated 3lbs superior to that rival and in receipt of 5lbs, there is lots to like about her chances at the weights. Her last start came on soft ground over a trip that I believe may have stretched her stamina reserves. I believe this daughter of Kingman will appreciate both the drop back in trip and return to quicker ground. I am also a big fan of her reappearance third to Creative Flair and Auria who have both majorly franked the form since. Ready To Venture was a neck behind Auria and just over a length behind Creative Flair racing off level weights. Those rivals are now Officially Rated 99 and 102 meaning Ready To Venture’s mark of 93 could possibly underestimate her talents.
Why has Frankie gone to Haydock?
On a day full of good quality racing, it is interesting to see a certain Frankie Dettori go to Haydock for just two rides, one of which aboard the Gosden trained Gal Wonder 11/10. I was impressed with this daughter of Galileo last time out where she beat the reopposing Evident Beauty in receipt of 6lbs. The pair meet on an even playing field here, but Gal Wonder looks a progressive sort and she won in a cosy manor. I believe considerably improvement is possible and she’s one to watch going forward.
I can feel the force at Market Rasen
Jumps action now and the Betway Summer Handicap Hurdle over an extended two miles. An excellent field of 15 go to post for this year’s renewal and they are headed by the progressive Hooper for Nicky Henderson. Having won his last five starts there is lots to like about his profile and he clearly relishes good ground. The handicapper has raised him 17lbs since February and he hasn’t won in the manor of a horse will loads left in the tank the last twice. Ben Ffrench Davis takes a handy 7lbs off once again but having patterned Hooper in previous starts, I would just wonder how much help that claim has been! I’ve decided to take him on with defending champion Red Force One 20/1 for Philip Kirby. His recent exploits have been on the flat where he has disappointed the last twice, but prior to that he had been seriously impressive on extremely quick ground. I believe he loves these conditions, and his last hurdles start yielded a good sixth on Grand National Day at Aintree. He hasn’t won over hurdles since this race last year, but his handicap mark is just 2lbs higher and conditions have come right for him. He is race fit from flat exploits and clearly goes well at the track. For a 20/1 shot, I think there is lots to like about him.
The Skelton’s will have Solomon spot on for this
The feature race of the day from Market Rasen is the Betway Summer Plate Handicap Chase over an extended two miles and five furlongs. Captain Tom Cat has been in fine form this season and looks extremely progressive but at the weights Solomon Grey 13/2 has to be in with a huge shout. Officially rated 139, he will receive 8lbs from Captain Tom Cat and his shrewd connections will no doubt have had their eye on this valuable prize. Third in the race last year, he comes into this renewal rated 6lbs higher, but I believe in better form. He caught my eye last time out when travelling well in the latter stages of a valuable Uttoxeter handicap. He unfortunately unseated that day but has a perfect completion record barring that blip, so it doesn’t represent a concern of mine. I expect Harry Skelton to sit close to the pace and make good use of his stamina at the trip.
By Sam Rdieout
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