We start off our tips with a handicap at Sandown which could feature a lot of nice types for the future. There are a myriad of improving 3 year olds and it is a minefield to try and pick out a winner. The top weight Tashaar is the first to catch the eye and with the horse not having a 2 year old career (a huge surprise given the Hannon team’s record with them) and has one run with one win to her name. The manner of her victory 16 days ago would suggest that a similar showing here could see her run very close.
Star System is another horse with 100% form coming into this race and could be a decent price. Andrew Balding is often excellent at selecting where his horses run and in what race. He has Jimmy Fortune on board here and the horse could be nicely weighted on the back of two straight wins.
Western Reserve has the best jockey in the world on board in the shape of Ryan Moore and comes here with some bright form and could be anything. Only two runs so far have culminated in a placed and winning effort at Chelmsford. The worry would be whether that would be enough to land a contest of this nature.
Pacify, comes here with a significant form boost to his 2nd place at Leicester with both the winner and the 3rd placed horse going on to win next time out. He will have stripped fitter for that return and could be the one to side with in a hugely open contest.
Pacify (E/W if 9/2+)
We head north to York for this Queen Mother’s Cup lady amateur riders stakes and Pearl Castle is surely the one to beat. She has crack amateur jockey Serena Brotherton on board. The horse won this contest, over 1m4f last year and is just 5lb higher than that win. The price is currently under the requisite for an each way bet at 7/2 but that may have all gone by mid morning as the horse bids for a double victory. The horse runs over both codes so won’t lack for stamina and toughness so you would only worry about the ground. Yet, with the forecast rain a huge plus I cannot look beyond her for the win.
Indeed if the ground does ease then it could also be worth taking a look at the market for Only Orsenfoolsies too as she has also been running over both codes and whilst Mickey Hammond’s early season form has dipped a touch he has enlisted an excellent jockey in the shape of Katie Margarson which is vital in this sort of contest.
Of the others Innocent Touch and Ralphy Lad are also worth having a look at.
Pearl Castle (WIN)
Another handicap at Sandown and another tricky puzzle to solve. Jacob Black looks like he could be a horse to win a race of this magnitude very soon and this could well be the day. He is partnered by Derby winning hero Frankie Dettori and the pair resume here after winning by a neck the last day over the same distance. That has to be the brightest form on show here and the horse is a decent price at 13/2 to follow up. He has been given a 5lb rise in the weights for that victory but there may well be more to come in this contest.
Basem is another course and distance winner coming into this race with a big chance. James Doyle takes the ride and though she disappointed the last day, trailing in a hugely disappointing second last, her other runs have been absolutely excellent including a win at this track and one at Newmarket. The jockey has not taken the ride before but there couldn’t be a better debutant for it.
There are a mammoth 18 runners for this handicap run over 7f and it could pay to side with a horse that may just well be out of the grip of the handicapper still in the shape of Alfred Hutchinson. The horse has very good course form around here including at The Dante meeting last month and whilst he may we up again for the last of the two runs he has had at the course there is a strong feeling he still has something to come and in this sphere on his favoured faster ground. A discernible ease in the ground may prove a problem so it’s worth keeping an eye out on the weather.
Instant Attraction has been running some decent races too and has managed to get his head in front the last twice. Naturally he has had a rise in the weights for these exploits but it isn’t out of the question that he can continue that run here.
Twin Appeal is another horse that has been running very well recently and has run into at least a place the 5 of the last 6 times. He gets a tentative nod here in a very open heat in which it could pay to be up with the speed in what is likely to be a strongly run race.
Twin Appeal (E/W)
This listed contest over the 5f pits two horse against each other that could go on to be something very decent. Likely is the one to make you take notice straight away as just one victory has been gleaned before she is pitted into this listed race. The only victory was a 5f victory up at Carlisle in an unremarkable race so connections must think very highly of her and she is the main selection of the day for me.
Waady may go off favourite in the race and her form probably gives her that right but she may be mighty short at 9/4 and Dane O’Neill has the ride instead of the main retainer for Hamdam al Maktoum – Paul Hanagan.
Profitable could be value for a place here at the very least as he is weighted 8lbs ahead of his current mark and with Adam Kirby starting to show the sort of form on turf that he shows on all weather surfaces, Clive Cox’s charge could well run a massive race here.
A listed race ran over the mile and in many respects an even trickier prospect than the large handicaps at York. There are a few horses in good form but the one that takes my fancy at a big price is Fire Ship for Paul Hanagan and William Knight. The jockey is the master around this track as this is his local racecourse. The horse ran well the last day over in Ireland after disappointing at Doncaster when trailing in 2nd last. As with the above selection it is interesting that connections have put the horse in this contest after that let down, even with that last run behind him.
Wannabe Yours also runs here for in form John Gosden and he puts Nicky Mackay on board. The trainer must have been disappointed to lose William Buick to Godolphin but that hasn’t stopped him winning The Derby and this horse has an excellent recent record and will enjoy the quick ground. He is currently around the 7/2 mark and could be a big danger to the selection.
Of the remainder I like Elleval very much and bringing over crack youngster Connor King from Ireland for the ride is a very interesting move and she could well run a place here.
Fire Ship (E/W)
This renewal of the Scottish sprint cup over the minimum distance has a number of regular handicappers some of whom may be thoroughly sturdy runners and that makes picking the winner even more difficult. Red Baron naturally makes a lot of appeal based on his terrific recent form and his form around this course. His handicap mark is very light given that and he is definitely a betting proposition at 4/1 in this race.
Boom the Groom ran an excellent race when 3rd the last day at the Epsom Dash and his quick reappearance here is worth taking note. He came late that day from off the pace and fairly flew home in a bit of a bunched finish which means the handicapper hasn’t been too harsh with her at all in allowing her to race off the same mark
Fast Track, Online Alexander and See The Sun make up the remainder of the fancied runners and all could easily win on their best form but may just come up against an in form rival in Boom The Groom.
Boom The Groom (E/W)
This is another huge field and the handicapper may again have gotten a hold of some of these runners. Two that make the most appeal are the two market principals in Scalzo and Twilight Son with the latter coming here unbeaten in all 3 runs for Henry Candy. Scalzo has only been beaten once in her fledgling career but both sets of connections will fancy their chances in this race and be looking towards a group contest in the not too distant future.
Explosive Lady for Ben Curtis also has a string of placed and winning efforts scattered over his last 6 runs and he would be my selection based on the prices and the field size. He is currently best priced 14/1 and he may well run a huge race here. The two market principles may take some shifting but there is very little between them and that could make it difficult from a betting side of things.
Indescribable and Northgate Lad may also run big races in what promises to be a very tough race and one which the handicapper may have spot on, or may be giving Scalzo or Twilight Son a huge rise in the weights.
Explosive Lady (E/W)