£270 to 1pt profit on all Saturday tips.
Latest Horse Racing Tips
The fact that Declaration Of War is an O'Brien horse seeking yet another trial victory has no doubt shortened his price considerably
and he looks the most opposable of all that have gone before. There's no doubt he's classy but 9/4 is silly about a horse
unproven on quick ground making a big step up in class and I'll be laying. Trumpet Major looked good on reappearance but there
is a Dick Turpin failure hangover in my mind and he might not quite have the ability to contest this. It's not the best Lockinge,
but the two others at the top of the market look the most likely to score. Cityscape was in decent form on his travels last
year and will return here seemingly primed for Group 1 success but the nod goes to nearly horse Farhh. Saeed bin Surror
had his first UK winner yesterday and his representative can add to Godlphin's Group 1 glory in the Guineas to ease the controversy
surrounding them a little. He was close enough to wonder boy Frankel last year, twice second over today's trip and 10 furlongs,
and has won on seasonal debut in each of his 3 seasons on the track. 5/1 isn't huge but he'll like the ground and has
the proven ability to take this. The threat at a bigger price is Beauty Parlour and worth a saver if that's your thing. She
needs to bounce back after a disappointing effort at Newmarket last time but will go close if recapturing her French 1000
Guineas winning form.
Newbury 15.50 - Farhh 1pt win
We need to be wary of the ground at Newmarket as there's a fair bit of rain forecast overnight and in the early hours. It could mean the ground is a little easier than first anticipated and I wouldn't want to be going for any real quick ground lovers in the 6 furlong handicap. The unbeaten Secretinthepark heads the market and rightly so given his effort over course and distance on Guineas day. That, however, was on quick ground with Richard Hughes in the saddle and he's perhaps a little short under a penalty. Two finishing behind him that day were Brazen and Purcell and the latter may be the one to side with in this. Brazen has a 4lb pull with Secretinthepark and only a length and a half to make up but the Balding horse is 7lb better off with the winner and wasn't the easiest of rides that day. He has been in fine form this season and looks the best treated of all those returning from 2 weeks ago. Yet it may be foolish to look at that one race just because today's favourite was the eventual winner and it may be worth one last pop at Hasopop who is yet to disappoint having been put up twice here. He is also yet to win but has been a gradual improver for Marco Botti and is sure to win soon. There's every chance he may have to drop a pound or two before that happens but this is not beyond today's top-weight, especially with a little cut in the ground firmly in his favour. He was unlucky on reappearance before a solid 3rd off just 3lb lower at Newbury over an extra furlong, the form of which has worked out well with the second that day going on to win under a 7lb penalty. Back over this trip last time, he ran an even better race in listed company and makes plenty of appeal here at 12/1. Dane O'Neill rides for the first time and is another positive after his 4-timer yesterday at the course.
Newmarket 14.55 - Hasopop 1pt e/w
Newbury's version over 6 furlongs looks even more competitive and it's worth going after a couple in this 18-runner field. Most interesting is the previously put up here Khawatim who makes a much anticipated return to turf after a winter turn-around akin to Gareth Bale after his first few games for Tottenham. He started the year on an unfeasibly low mark given some disappointing efforts previously and duly won having been strongly supported (to say the least). In fact, the betting activity prior to his efforts has been a good guide, including when he was a beaten drifting favourite next time, but he's perhaps best left alone back on grass and up in the handicap. The one at the top of the market that does appeal is Modern Tutor for a yard which celebrated a treble at York yesterday. He was not a feature in two early efforts over a mile last year on softish ground but looked a completely different prospect on quick ground at this trip on his last start back in June. The ground should be fast enough at Newbury and that will suit, and an opening mark of 85 may be a touch lenient given the way he won that day. Signor Sassi (lining up today from 2lb out of the weights), who he beat at Lingfield, went on to frank the form of a mark 7lb lower than that of Modern Tutor and Ryan Moore's mount could have a lot more to come in first time hood at 15/2. The other one worth siding with back over this trip is Khubala at 18/1after his effort off this mark in the Victoria Cup. He travelled well before fading last week at Ascot and he simply couldn't go with them over 7 furlongs on quick ground. The drop back to 6 is welcomed and so would be a little bit of rain. That being said, it's only because most of his runs have come with cut in the ground that we assume he needs it; he has won on good and his effort at Yarmouth on very quick ground on reappearance this term was certainly good enough. He still looks well handicapped on that run and has blinkers back on for this first time this season, which gave him a win in similar circumstances last year.
Newbury 14.40 - Modern Tutor 1pt e/w
Newbury 14:40 - Khubala 1pt e/w
Sir John Hawkwood has a serious penalty to overcome after winning at Chester last week over an extended 10 furlongs but he
has shaped like this extra trip will suit and may be too good for these, even giving weight all round. The manner of his Chester
win was what was so impressive, drawn wide and shoved along early to get a handy position under a great ride from Ryan Moore,
things should be plenty easier from the start today. The only niggling doubt is the ground given that he doesn't want it too
easy underfoot and for that reason, he's just a little short at 11/4 to be getting involved with. The two at bigger prices
that make most appeal are Martin Chuzzlewit and Easy Terms. The latter won this last year off 2lb lower and will travel
in whatever conditions are thrown up on the day - I suspect the ground will dry up a little and be good to soft at worst come
the start of racing. She has, however, gone off the boil a little under only a 4lb penalty and may just have to drop back
to that last winning mark before taking a race like this. Either way, she looks to have strong place claims and is worth a
few at around 8/1. The official nod goes to Jamie Spencer's mount who makes his debut for David Simcock after transferring
from Michael Stoute (who will no doubt have a wry smile on his face should his former representative go on to touch off Sir
John Hawkwood). Simcock's acquisition is a promising and consistent 4 year old who has dropped to a career low mark. That
being said, he has only 1 win to his name, coming in a relatively uncompetitive juvenile maiden at Sandown. That was on good
to soft, which appears to be his ideal sort of ground, and he could do with it drying a little further today. 5 of his 6 efforts
last term came at this trip and he drops 1lb from his best effort when 2nd over course and distance on good. Ground excuses
and tactical changes can be made for his poorest runs off 3 and 4lb higher respectively (I'm not sure he's one to make all
with) and he's worth getting behind on reappearance at around the 8/1 mark.
York 14.15 - Martin Chuzzlewit 1pt e/w
A tricky 3 year old handicap with a likely 19 runners seems an apt place to start at York. There can often be a real springer in the market in these sort of races, normally something returning for the first time this season, and that's well worth keeping an eye out for on the machine prior to the off…not that blindly following the market will make any money long term. As far as what we have to go on this season, there was a decent handicap at Nottingham back in the second week of April and a few of those contenders head the market here. It was a messy race to say the least: Secret Look missed the break but powered home very strongly and a 3lb rise looks pretty lenient. Eventual winner, Mayfield Girl, seems to have suffered most with the handicapper and is up 8lb, though that is due to a follow up win 10 days later - either way she looks to have it all to do. I have a hunch Bispham Green may want further and the much fancied The Art Of Racing (great name) looks like being a non-runner. That leaves My Name Is Rio, who was particularly unlucky on what was only his second start. 7/1 for this, he tried twice to make his move from just in behind and was twice closed off, before switching right and staying on come the finish. 4lb extra in the saddle looks reasonable for him to overcome and he's the least exposed of the bunch, this being just his 3rd start, all of which have come as a 3 year old. The other to note at a decent price is Pipers Note, who comfortably won a 5 furlong maiden at Beverley on penultimate start last year. He clearly liked the firm ground that day and, while it will not be as quick today, no more rain is forecast and it does look to be holding up well underfoot. He put in a decent run at the end of the year off 1lb higher over 6 furlongs and looked much better suited to 5. He should get a strong pace to run at, which will suit, and 33/1 is worth a nibble for his seasonal debut.
York 15.50 - My Name Is Rio 1pt e/w
York 15.50 - Pipers Note 0.5pt e/w
The opening race at York sees Ryan Moore booked for the first time on Dungannon and it's worth siding with last year's
nearly man in sprint handicaps at this track. Andrew Balding has been progressive over the last few seasons and has started
this year in decent fashion; the two therefore make an eye-catching combination in what is a competitive contest. The horse
is, in some respects, unbeaten over 5 furlongs. He has won outright in 2 of his 4 starts at the trip and was first in his
group on the other two occasions when badly drawn. Stall 10 today should pose no sort of problem and Moore will have the choice
of where to go and who to follow - it wont be his mount making the running. Yesterday the sprints were won by horses in stalls
13 and 18 (twice) and preference is for those drawn nearer the rail but, either way, Dungannon should have his run of the
race at 8/1. Whilst he hasn't won for nearly 2 years, the last victory coming at Ascot over 5 furlongs on good to soft,
he is off a fair mark (2lb lower than that win) and will handle conditions. The ground was not as bad as feared yesterday
and, with no rain forecast today, the good / good to soft ground should be ideal. A dual winner with a little cut in the ground,
he has also won on firm but at this shortest distance he wouldn't want it too quick.
1pt e/w - U/P @ 6/1
Chronological order next takes us to a the Group 2 Middleton Stakes and Cubanita makes most appeal at around 9/2. Ralph Beckett and Jim Crowley have a superb record of late when teaming up, especially with fillies. They have a nearly 50% strike rate from 15 runners in the last 12 days and this filly in particular looks very progressive. Yet to race this season, she beat the likeable Sajjhaa in her final race at Doncaster last term - a horse that went on to score a turf four timer in Meydan including two Group 1's, albeit over a furlong shorter. The Doncaster race was listed company and this is a notable step up but one she is capable of taking over a trip which seems ideal. She has won on soft, though the better ground last time appeared to bring out some improvement and the sounder the surface, the positive we can be. Fortunately, as mentioned, no more rain is expected and the ground has held up well considering yesterday's early weather. Dalkala will go close given her French form and ability to cope on almost any ground. She won a Group 2 contest over 1m 5f and has won at this trip, though it's very much on the sharp side for her. A strong pace will suit, giving her something to run at but, if there's nothing to really take them along, she looks a little fragile to be getting behind at short odds and preference remains for the likely second favourite.
1pt win - U/P @ 10/3
The Dante looks tricky and I'm not sure I'll side with anything. The O'Brien horse may romp but the presence of Greatwood is interesting and the hint of 5/1 about him looks big - still best left alone, it should be a cracker to watch either way. The following handicap is far more interesting to have a go at and Two For Two seems an obvious choice at the head of affairs. He has some solid French form at the trip and has been better than ever since coming this side of the water for David O'Meara. Second on debut at Redcar, he then strolled a slightly lesser quality handicap than today at Ripon on good ground and was hiked 9lb for his troubles. Back on very quick ground, he nearly defied the penalty at Thirsk, again over this trip, running on strongly from a poor draw and after being bumped in running. Today's surface should be more favourable given his form of old and he's only up 1lb for that last effort. He is, however, very short for such a competitive contest at around 4/1. More appealing at the prices is course and distance winner Navajo Chief. In fact, both his last two wins have come at the track, the most recent of which came over 9 furlongs off 1lb lower in June last year. He beat the progressive Area Fifty One that day, who went on to win under a penalty and took a recent handicap over further off a full 10lb higher. It's true that Michael J M Murphy's mount is more suited to a mile than Area Fifty One but it shows he's now off a fair mark after some below par efforts up in weight and trip. A little cut in the ground is ideal and he's 3lb lower than for that course and distance win 2 seasons ago. He's back where he belongs after a little attempted tinkering whilst in the grip of the handicapper and 12/1 looks well worth taking.
1pt e/w - WON @ 12/1
The rain has come at York and it is still falling which means we may see some late withdrawals, as was the case on Saturday
up and down the country. Hopefully the field for the Musidora remains intact and I can't wait to see Liber Nauticus on reappearance.
As short as 5/1 for the Oaks after 1 juvenile run shows just how highly she is regarded and she is fully expected to win today
at odds-on. The following Group 2 Duke Of York is more interesting from a betting perspective and I'm looking to side with
some soft ground lovers (amazing given that the going was officially good to firm last night). Maarek is a true rain
lover and will probably go off favourite if the going changes to soft. There should be some pace in this field and that will
suit him on testing ground over 6 furlongs. He had a superb 5 year old season last term, winning second time out at Naas (ahead
of Good Lord Byron) and going on to win a Group 3 at Newcastle and the Group 2 Champion Sprint Stakes at Ascot. He started
this season with a win on reappearance 25 days ago at Naas over 5 furlongs which looked a good prep run for a race such as
this. Paul Hanagan sits on him for the first time and he looks a jockey to start getting behind after a slow start to proceedings
this term and his mount can be backed at 5/1. The other I can't shake of the want to have a nibble at is the progressive
Jack Dexter. This race can throw up a surprise, as was the case last year with 25/1 winner Tiddliwinks, and Daniel
Tudhope's mount will love conditions should they worsen. He won a couple of big field handicaps as a 3 year old and then stepped
up to listed company on first start this season. He's won over 5, 6 and 7 furlongs but there's no doubt that a truly run race
on easy ground over this trip is ideal. It's a big step up, as is reflected in his 14/1 price, but it's not impossible
if we can forgive him a below par effort last time. It appeared he couldn't cope under top weight on quick ground and conditions
will be far more favourable this afternoon.
Maarek 1pt win - U/P @ 7/2
Jack Dexter 1pt e/w - U/P @ 12/1
First up on the day is First Mohican, another apparent soft ground lover and one with the most interesting profile in the field at 5/1. He won on debut and was then off for 2 years before coming back last term and winning two of three starts; he's clearly highly regarded by connections. His run at the very end of the season was disappointing, beaten favourite in his first run over this trip but that was perhaps due to the ground. He had beaten eventual winner Art Scholar on soft on level weights on penultimate start but the latter will have preferred good ground and benefitted from a 7lb pull. Either way, Tom Queally's mount should appreciate this step up in trip and hopefully a slightly slower pace to run at in more testing conditions. Lahaag, the mount of Paul Hanagan, is a danger upped to a mile and a half but the rain will not help his chances. That being said, he's a real improver and will surely take a race such as this before too long. Ruscello is another to note at a bigger price and he's certainly going in the right direction. He won on the all weather at the end of last season over this trip and looked good on reappearance last month. He's up another 2lb for that but the concern is how he will fair back on turf, now 8lb higher than when struggling in this sort of company on quick ground at Ascot. He's definitely improved but how much remains to be seen.
1pt e/w - WON @ 3/1
York Glory may be set for just that at the top of the market in the 6 furlong handicap and the other with an obvious chance is Louis The Pious, also firmly up there in the betting. The former does, however, have mixed fortunes in this sort of company and is a little short. The latter has had plenty of support and his price equally looks a little unappealing and preference is for something a touch bigger in the market and less exposed. Prodigality has to come on to take this but signs were good first time out this term when winning a conditions race at Warwick before putting in an ok effort in a tough contest at Doncaster. The form of that race looks pretty solid and he drops 2lb to contest this in conditions that should suit. The one that gets the nod is Compton, who does look relatively unexposed over the trip. Simply outpaced first time out this year off the same mark over Newbury's 5 furlongs, he will fare better over this sort of distance. He finished a length behind Jack Dexter at Ascot over 7 at the end of last season when headed inside the final furlong and the conclusion, albeit a little obvious, is to get behind him over 6. He won on debut over this trip and was below par at the start of last term over a mile before improving for a drop back to shorter. Soft ground will be a plus (I sincerely hope it rains now given the above selections) and he looks decent value at 14/1.
1pt e/w - U/P @ 14/1
Addiction was very unlucky not to score over course and distance last time out when unseating Nick Scholfield after
jumping the fourth last. The pair looked certain to justify 2/1 favouritism under a 7lb penalty after an excellent 16/1 victory
at Exeter over 3 miles and Jeremy Scott's mare seems to have hit peak form. The trouble is she goes up another 6lb for the
unseating but, the way she travelled that day, you'd think she can go on and take this even with some classier types in the
field. The Scott yard is hitting form again after a quiet time of it a few months back as the season hit crunch time but this
jockey and trainer are a pair to support and Addiction makes plenty of appeal at 3/1. The only concern is the odd blip
in otherwise consistent form where she just fails to travel, as was the case at Newbury in December. The heavy ground may
have played its part and there could be ground excuses when coming up short on soft at Ludlow a month later. That being said,
a little rain (and there's likely to be plenty) will not be too detrimental given her form on good to soft. If the rain really
does set in and change the ground markedly then Plein Pouvoir could be interesting at 7/1. Only 1lb higher than for a second
over course and distance behind a well treated sort, and for a win up in class at Cheltenham, connections will be doing their
rain dance throughout the day.
1pt win - U/P @ 4/1
The following race represents a real case of horses out of form. The vast majority have dropped to comparatively lowly marks after a troublesome winter and obvious choice is for about the only horse in the field heading in the right direction. He may have only one win to his name in 25 starts, and that came nearly 2 years ago, but Little Eaglet has somewhat exploited a career low mark of late and returns carrying the same as when second over course and distance in October. An effort prior to that, again over course and distance, had the same outcome off 2lb higher and last time at Exeter was simply too sharp for Liam Herd's mount. The worry for him is, however, that any one of four or five of these can take this if they show the form of a year or so ago and it's worth nibbling at something a little bigger in the market. Boomtown Kat is 13lb lower than for a course and distance second as a 7 year old, though a return here in February still didn't see him back in form - he is dropped another 5lb for the effort. At a very big price is another with a 2 next to course and distance form. 14 months ago, Black Phantom was beaten only a length and a quarter here off 17lb higher and followed up with a career best effort under a penalty at Newbury. He hasn't looked the same horse this year though, including 3 poor attempts over fences, and is probably one to keep an eye on with regards to signs of improvement. Spanish Fork drops to career low mark and has, in comparison to many lining up, at least shown signs of recaptured form last time out. 4th of 12 at Fontwell over an extra furlong, he should be better for the drop in trip and returns 2lb lower in the handicap. His only course and distance effort was off a lofty mark and in classier company than this, and, at 15/2, Sheena West's gelding is fair value for a 4 year old with much more to give in this sort of company.
1pt e/w - U/P @ 5/1
Starting with the strongest fancy of the day, her chances are well reflected by the money seen for her this morning. Shesastar
opened at around the 15/2 mark last night which seemed far too big as she should be favourite for this - and probably will
be come off time. A course and distance winner on good to firm last year off 3lb higher, she has form figures at the track
of 113731 and the last 3 of those have been up at 7 furlongs. Her worst effort came when never holding a position and the
next was on unsuitably heavy ground. She has won on good to firm but is also a dual winner with a bit of cut in the ground
so a little bit of forecast rain would be no worry whatsoever. In both her 3 and 4 year old seasons, she need a couple of
runs to find her feat but her third effort has always seen improvement and the same should be the case today. Two very average
runs started this term but it means she drops to a very handy mark and still looks value at 6/1. If you'd rather be
on something bigger then Escape To Glory is worth some each way money. He is only 1lb higher than when scoring at Haydock
over 6 furlongs and has shaped like this extra furlong will be no issue (he did win an easier contest over 7 furlong last
term too). He loves fast ground and can be excused a couple of average efforts to date off a higher mark.
1pt e/w - U/P @ 17/2
It's Monday and so Hughes and Hannon should be guaranteed a winner or two at Windsor. They saddle a couple of favourites at the track but perhaps the most interesting is the Hannon 3 year old, Montiridge, with Kieran O'Neill on board. Second in the Group 3 Autumn Stakes at the end of last year, he returns with plenty of expectation and may have too much for the older horses in listed company (he is a strong odds-on shot however, so the recommendation would be to pop him in a double with Arsenal to beat a hungover and probably doomed Wigan tomorrow night). Either way, I'm looking forward to seeing Montiridge battle it out with old favourite Fury, whose form had a bit of a boost with Captain Bertie winning last week. The tip from the track is Muskat Link at 8/1 who had a couple of decent runs at big odds as a 2 year old. Placed over 7 furlongs, he then took on better company at Ascot over 6 furlongs in October and wasn't exactly disgraced - 14 lengths behind the winner, soft ground wasn't ideal and he isn't a 6 furlong horse. Upped to a mile first time out this season, he finished close up behind a couple of these in Poor Duke and Harry Bosch but has a 4 and 2lb pull with those, which puts him right up there come the finish. The going looks a little more favourable today (it was very quick last time at Bath) and he's worth another chance up at a mile.
1pt e/w - U/P @ 14/1
In the midst of a flat season in full swing, it's 2 jumpers that catch the eye on a day seemingly given over to National Hunt
racing. Worcester hosts a decent handicap chase with most of the big guns having a go and Paul Nicholls saddles a likeable
sort in Doeslessthanme. There's a bit of rain forecast at the track today and this horse will not want too much of it. He
is 1lb higher than his last winning mark when 1st of 9 in a decent handicap up at Ayr on good ground. Under Ruby Walsh that
day, the very capable Harry Derham takes over and takes off a useful 5lb. That being said, the jockey and trainer have a poor
strike rate of late and preference is for something that may be a little better treated. Gallox Bridge is very lightly
raced for an 8 year old and is extremely consistent. He has been placed in over 50% of his 11 starts, including 4 wins, and
appears to travel on any ground. He won over 2m 2f at Market Rasen on soft but will handle this sharper test on better ground.
He returns off the same mark as for his handicap debut in novice company last time when unseating 3 out and there's every
chance he would have gone on to win that from the front. Similar tactics are likely to be employed today and he looks good
value to show the necessary improvement at around the 11/2 mark.
1pt e/w - U/P @ 9/2
Tim Vaughan, trainer of Gallox Bridge, also saddles Minella For Party over at Kempton and he's been put up here a couple of times. He has bags of potential but has not really fired of late in conditions that should have been ideal. Better ground today may not be the answer but it is interesting to see him upped to 2m 5f having initially looked like a 2 mile horse. Not worth putting money behind but well worth noting going forward for this lightly raced 6 year old. Alan King has had a very satisfactory strat to the summer season and saddles likely favourite Dalavar. One of three 5 year olds in the race, he is still a maiden in 8 runs but returns off the same mark as when second at Wincanton over an extra furlong and should come on for this sharper test on better ground. Rain wouldn't help but there isn't likely to be enough at Kempton to affect the going and Wayne Hutchinson's mount has the most potential of all those lining up. I saw him at Newbury in January behind Chiberta King and he couldn't jump put of the ground it seemed - it was a tacky soft that day and conditions will be much more favourable here. He has some classy names that have finished ahead of him, notably when close second to The New One on debut, and should have too much for these in justifying 7/2 favouritism.
1pt win - 2nd @ 4/1
28 look like lining up for the Victoria Cup and it's worth opting for 1 from the top and one form the bottom (if only there
was a horse called Strike It Lucky in the field). Of those drawn high, Bertiewhittle and Loving Spirit make most appeal, especially
given their course and distance efforts in the Apprentice Handicap behind the progressive Jack Dexter in October. Both can
handle the likely good surface here, though writing this 24 hours before the race the official going is good to firm. It will
be a real surprise if any mention of firm remains in the going description come the off given the likely rain and, with what
is forecast, there may even be a mention of soft. Either way, it seems wise to avoid quick ground lovers and Loving Spirit
has soft ground figures of 152, the last of those coming in the aforementioned race off 6lb lower. Preference for Bertiewhittle
is due to him being 3lb better off with Loving Spirit than for that course and distance effort and the presence of Richard
Hughes cannot be ignored. He was second of 14 in that near side group behind Lightening Cloud, whom he is 1lb better off with
here, and much will depend on how he fairs on first run this term. Though he has won on quick ground, his below par course
and distance effort on good to firm in September suggests a bit of rain will do no harm and he makes plenty of appeal at 16/1.
Of the lower drawn horses, Khubala lines up only 1lb higher than when 2nd on reappearance at Yarmouth on quick ground.
That was his first effort over 7 furlongs and he shaped like the step up in trip may be where his targets lie this season,
albeit on more favourable ground. A dual winner on soft, he will appreciate a bit of rain and can be backed at around the
22/1 mark. 7 placed efforts, including 3 wins, from 11 starts shows how consistent he is and, still only a 4 year old,
he may have a little left in the tank to improve at this new trip.
Bertiewhittle 1pt e/w - 2nd @ 12/1
Khubala 1pt e/w - U/P @ 16/1
How nice to be getting stuck into to a tough little handicap hurdle in the middle of May and it may be worth taking a risk on the youngest horse on the race over this 2 mile trip. Deepsand will have to show some serious improvement and it's a big ask stepping up to this sort of company in amongst some older, more proven horses, but there's every chance he can spring something of a surprise. 12lb higher than when winning a low key Perth handicap over an extended 2 miles on debut in that sphere, he steps into this Grade 3 very much on the up having taken to hurdles with relative ease. His figures over obstacles read 221BD1, the most impressive of those being that victory last time when taking some time to settle but still going on to win by some 9 lengths. He pulls hard early but there may be a bit of a pace to run at here which can help his cause and he should cope with whatever ground the weather serves up. That being said, his best efforts on the flat and over hurdles has come with cut in the ground and there may be plenty of that come off time. It is a tall order but 12/1 is well worth a go and nobody would begrudge Trevor Hemmings picking up a trophy to kick off the season with this promising youngster.
1pt e/w - U/P @ 12/1
Pick of the day is now a non-runner but I really did feel confident about Dutch Masterpiece. A draw in stall 10 wouldn't have
been ideal but Ryan Moore did a superb job yesterday on the wider drawn Sir John Hawkwood and, with this softer ground, there
is perhaps less emphasis placed on being drawn low. That being said, 5 and 7 furlong races will still show an advantage to
the lower numbers and Storm Moon can make use of stall 1 at a decent price of 4/1. He will not want it too soft
but there isn't meant to be further rain today which should keep 'good' somewhere in the official description. A 6lb penalty
off the back of an impressive win at Kempton 4 days ago will not be easy to overcome but he may still be well treated in his
form last term. He couldn't quite cut it in Group company in the Norfolk Stakes at Ascot but followed up with a second at
Thirsk off 1lb lower on good ground. A couple of subsequent efforts over 6 furlongs under a penalty didn't suit and a return
to this trip on turf should see the required improvement. He won on debut with cut in the ground and though his only effort
on soft was below par, we can put that down to an unsuitable trip as opposed to ground. At a bigger price, Jillnextdoor may
be able to threaten after last year's 5th in the Cheveley Park Stakes and a better draw today than she had last time out.
1pt win - U/P @ 9/4
The 7 furlong opener is very open, though the horse at the top of the market may just be a class above. 4 year old Gandalak has had 4 runs in a month since coming over from France but still remains relatively unexposed this side of the Channel. Two runs at 5 furlongs looked a little on the sharp side but he came on for the step up to 6 at Newcastle before looking even more impressive over 7 at Musselburgh under a penalty last week. Up a further 9lb, he will have to improve some more but conditions will suit (he won on heavy in France and good to soft last time out and can probably cope with any amount of cut in the ground) and even 3/1 doesn't look all that short. There is, however, a certain Captain Bertie in the field who, rather like Bancnuanaheireann yesterday, has just taken a little time to find his stride this term. In fact, the 2 finished a length apart in the Lincoln first time out this season and Captain Bertie has dropped to feasible mark on the pick of his form last year. Drawn in stall 2, he drops to a lowest mark since winning the Spring Cup last April on soft, returning here 6lb higher and back on loosish ground. Since then, his 2 runs at 7 furlongs have seen the best of him in comparison to 5 efforts over a mile and today's extended 7 at Chester may be ideal at a general 11/2.
1pt e/w - WON @ 9/4
One more for the day is All Or Nothin who drops in the handicap and in class to contest this. He's been very consistent bar 2 efforts this term off 2 and 3lb higher respectively, and may just have taken a while to get back in form after the winter. He won on handicap debut off 8lb lower over 6 furlongs but performance of his 3 year old season came at this track when winning on heavy ground off only 1lb lower, again over 6 furlongs (his form here reads 131 with that middle effort over today's trip). This step up in trip seems sensible given recent efforts when looking outpaced in tougher company than this and 2 career runs over 7 have produced 2 respectable 3rd place finishes. At 10/1 he's well drawn in stall 4 and Darren Egan is a jockey well worth a 3lb claim. Personal Touch will be a leading player given his good showing at this meeting last term (3rd behind the impressive Jack Dexter over 6 furlongs) and he looks another very progressive 4 year old. He was successful on reappearance at Doncaster in March on soft ground and looks the one to beat, despite a tougher contest and 4lb penalty.
1pt e/w - U/P @ 7/1
Chester was tricky yesterday and it proved a good day for the bookies. Much is made of the draw at that track and the evidence
was there yesterday to demonstrate that a low draw is always preferential, especially over the shortest distance. Today we
have a few longer races with the first 3 contests over 10 and 12 furlongs where perhaps a high draw will not be quite so damaging
to a horses chances. That being said, it's not easy to get behind the likeable Sir John Hawkwood from stall 11, also
known as the car park. He has the pick of the profiles of all those lining up but there is the concern that he is ultimately
suited to a mile and a half, and a low draw would have helped. He needs a strong pace but, equally, does not want to be left
to far back. We saw yesterday that it can be difficult at this track to contest a finish from off the pace and if it turns
into a sprint finish, Ryan Moore's mount may be left behind. So the hope is for something to take them along here and for
Sir John to break well and get a reasonably handy position. All in all, he looks overpriced at 6/1 given what he showed
in his debut season last term and, with a better draw, would be far shorter. He's been gelded since and may return with plenty
more to offer this season for a top yard.
1pt win - WON @ 10/3
There's a nice little handicap over at Goodwood sandwiched between the C4 Chester races and I've been waiting for the right race to put up the horse with hardest name in racing to say and spell (originally Arvika Ligeonniere's coveted title). Bancnuanaheireann carries top weight today but must have a serious chance on the peak of last seasons form. Second in a 3 year old handicap here over a mile last term, he has similar conditions today and will appreciate the extra mile. He hasn't gone unnoticed with many industry professionals talking him up on both efforts this season but each time has had his excuses. 3lb higher on reappearance in the Lincoln on unsuitably soft ground, he looked outpaced last time at Ripon and drops a further 1lb to contest this extra furlong which must be in his favour. The concern is a 15 race winless streak since debut in Ireland (1 mile) and this really is his chance to step up and show his worth. 4th in the Cambridgeshire over this trip last season on good ground and off 3lb higher puts him right up there with the best of these but his price is a more appealing 13/2, compared with the win-only prices about Lucky Henry and Charitable Act.
1pt e/w - WON @ 9/2
Much will depend on how the rain affects the ground at Chester today but, with it currently good to firm and not too much
bad weather predicted, it make sense to search for quick ground lovers. The 5 furlong handicap is a tricky one with plenty
of chances but I'll get the mention of Fitz Flyer out the way first. If his draw was lower and he was still 25/1, he would
be getting a official nod. Dandy Nicholls' horse looks very well handicap with the return to quicker ground and a visor again
fitted both big positives, as is the huge price. But, as with last year, the high draw may have scuppered his chances. Of
the rest, it really falls between 3: Captain Dunne is well drawn and off a decent mark considering his second in this 2 years
ago off 9lb higher. He drops to nearly a stone below his highest career mark and finally has better ground - most of his latter
season efforts were on unsuitable soft surfaces and he will fare far better today. He's one of the older horses but that shouldn't
be off putting - look at Kingsgate Native last Saturday at Newmarket. The issue is he often needs a run and may just be worth
hanging on to until later in the month. One that does go well fresh is Noble Storm, who has 3 course and distance efforts
to his name and been placed on two of those occasions of 7lb and 5lb lower respectively. This is a little easier than the
company he's been keeping of late and he returns to handicap company for the first time in 2 years since winning at Newbury
(good to firm) off 3lb higher. Graham Lee is a promising booking but 2 years out of the winner's enclosure is a touch worrying.
The nod goes to the only Marwan Koukash runner in the race who drops back in trip for this. Gatepost has contested
most of his races over 6 and 7 furlongs but his only 2 career wins came in his first two starts as a juvenile over this trip
on fast ground and with Jamie Spencer on board. The jockey has a decent record for connections over recent seasons and a return
to 5 furlongs could be just what this 4 year old needs. 5/1 is appealing considering a low draw and, with plenty of
front runners in the field, he may get a necessary quick pace to run at. A bit of rain would be no problem either and he drops
to an attractive mark, 10lb lower than his opening handicap effort last April.
1pt e/w - U/P @ 3/1
The Chester Cup is always a season highlight and a pleasure to have a go at from a betting perspective. Countrywide Flame will be very popular considering his 2nd in the Cesarewitch at the end of last season followed by a super season over hurdles. The issue is the the ground and the more rain the better but, at 7/2, he's just too short to recommend. The horse of most appeal is the consistently improving Buckland who seems to go from strength to strength with the more that is asked of him. His first win of the year came back in February off a massive 24lb lower but the further he has gone, the better he has got (indeed that run was his first upped to 10 furlongs). 4 of his subsequent 5 starts have come on the all weather, with form figures of 1112, but perhaps his most encouraging performance came at Ascot last week when fourth in a Grade 3 at 33/1. That turf effort (good) really sets him up for a bright season over this sort of trip and the extra 2 furlongs here may eek out more improvement considering he was staying on last time - the hope is that this hasn't come too quickly. Due to go up 10lb, he's in the very capable hands of William Buick and makes plenty of appeal at 12/1. The other of interest at a double figure price is Investissement for David Pipe and young William Twiston-Davies. The jockey is well worth his 5lb claim on top of this lightly raced seven year old that has been drawn in stall 1. That may suit him as he can get a decent position in behind the front runners and not be asked for an effort too far off the pace. His only career win since coming over from France was 2 years ago for John Gosden at Goodwood over 1m 6f (good to firm) and there's every chance this step up in trip will suit. He's 2lb higher today but finally has the better ground that has been lacking on recent hurdle efforts. Rain would be a negative but it is interesting that the Goodwood win came after an quiet hurdles campaign and he returns at an eye-catching 20/1 in similar circumstances.
Buckland 1pt e/w - U/P @ 14/1
Investissement 1pt e/w - U/P @ 20/1
Still kicking myself after opening with talk of Sky Lantern yesterday but going for a real unexposed sort instead for the
1000 Guineas (alongside the disappointing What A Name who didn't appear to travel on the firm ground). It all seemed so obvious
as they lined up before the start: this was to be the year that Richard Hughes would finally get his first Classic, just in
the different race to that which seemed most likely. But Sky Lantern, ante-post favourite for the race at the end of last
season, is a classy lady and can go on to even better things, though the Oaks may be a touch far. Two from Kempton today,
the first of which lines up against yet another Cecil favourite in those famous colours. Noble Mission was beaten favourite
at Newmarket and there's reason to oppose Disclaimer today, though he looks the most talented in the field. He has been improving
with the extra trip and adds another furlong today after a good win at Doncaster over a mile and a half but he does have an
11lb penalty to defy and there's no telling how he will take to a first run on this surface. Preference is for Sizzler
who is bigger in the market at 10/3 and who has a course and distance win to his name last time out. That was in maiden
company and this is quite a step up but an opening mark of 84 may be quite lenient. He finished some 10 lengths behind Powder
Hound on penultimate start but has a 7lb pull in his favour today and looks a far better prospect this term.
2pt win - U/P @ 3/1
The race preceding the one above looks, on paper, like a battle at the top of the market but there are reasons to oppose the leading fancies and one of the younger horses may come through to take this. Ree's Rascal is the likely favourite and plenty likeable but he is up 2lb from a win over course and distance on penultimate start and has always struggled off this sort of mark. The two four year olds worth plenty of respect (and it's pretty much a straight choice between the two) are Stir Trader and Magma. The former has a couple of placed efforts behind him over course and distance and can be forgiven a below par effort when never getting into the race from a bad draw last time. He remains on a feasible mark (down 2lb from that last run) but there is just a slight concern over this trip with all previous wins coming over 6 and 7 furlongs. Magma is a big price at 10/1 given his course and distance win last summer ahead of Dubawi Island. That horse has gone on to win off a mark 8lb higher than Magma finds himself off today, albeit over an extra furlong, and this is a lowest handicap mark in 3 starts for David Probert's mount. The jockey gets on well with him, his best efforts coming when the two have been together and there should be more improvement to come second time out this season and back on the all weather in first time blinkers.
1pt e/w - WON @ 12/1
Sky Lantern was a beaten favourite in the Nell Gwyn behind Hot Snap but was giving her opponent 3lb that day and there's every
chance she can reverse the form on faster ground and off level weights. Hannon and Hughes had a disappointment in the 2000
yesterday but won the last race of the day and maintain a superb strike rate of late. The Cecil horse deserves to be favourite
given that superb turn of foot taking her from last to first here a few weeks ago but is a little short in the market considering
the inexperience she showed in the early part of that race (and we can't have 2 favourites taking the first two classics of
the year after Dawn Appraoch yesterday).
The filly lining up here by the same sire as the winner of the 2000 (New Appraoch) is the unexposed Rasmeyaa. Half sister to a Group 3 winner, there's no guarantee she is up to this but is certainly worth a nibble at 12/1. She was underwhelming on debut but looked to be getting the hang of things next time when taking a decent maiden on soft ground over 7 furlongs. She's not certain to get a mile but may well come on for better ground and has some smart entries later in the season...much will depend on how she performs here. The other of interest is the French dual Group 3 winner What A Name. She took the Prix La Rochette at Longchamp as a 2 year old (good ground) and followed up with another win in Pattern company on return this year on good to soft. Her previous Group 1 effort came when second to the smart colt Olympic Glory, winner of the Greenham last month at Newbury and he looks a real strong galloping sort that will stay further than a mile. He will have preferred the heavy ground in their French contest and What A Name can benefit from a sounder surface here on her first attempt at a mile. In short, there's bags of value at 5/1.
What A Name 2pt win - U/P @ 7/2
Rasmeyaa 1pt e/w - U/P @ 9/1
Ryan Moore will hopefully have had some sleep after his flying visit to the States to ride in the Kentucky Derby...he has 7 rides at Newmarket today and first up is Opinion. Due to be on the withdrawn Sir John Hawkwood, he switches to the other Stoute horse ahead of Johnny Murtagh and Opinion always had the more likeable profile of the 2. Stencive was an impressive 2nd in a quality handicap at the end of last season and rightly heads the weights and the market for this. A scorer last term over course and distance, a 5lb penalty may well be within his grasp with conditions proving ideal. Opinion was virtually tailed off behind today's favourite in that Ascot handicap but was completely luckless in running (something that has happened a few times now) and he has plenty more to offer than bare form suggests. Up 4lb from a win over 10 furlongs on penultimate start, this is another go at a mile and a half and there's every chance it will be in his favour with a clear run. Currently 14/1, his Haydock win came on quick ground and he can still be considered a horse very much on the up.
1pt e/w - 3rd @ 8/1
A mouth watering card is served up for 2000 Guineas day at Newmarket and the big race itself looks very much a 2 horse race
on paper. Whichever goes on to take glory will have a potentially incredible season ahead and if something at a bigger price
comes through to spoil the show it will be quite a story (Garswood is the niggler at double figures given that effort at the
Craven meeting). Elsewhere on the card, Frankel's brother lines up for the second time in a fortnight but has been unconvincing
at the trip, despite winning in Pattern company over the distance at Goodwood last term. Excuses could have been made for
the ground (good to soft) at Newbury but he has performed with cut underfoot previously. Much will depend on tactics and,
if they go a little slower than average over the first mile or so, the Cecil horse could have the turn of foot to take this
and there's no obvious front runner in the field. Yet a safer option at the prices and one proven over trip and ground is
Dandino for his new yard. He won this 2 years ago and followed it up with a 6 length fourth in the Group 1 Coronation
Cup. Very consistent since but without a big prize to his name, this may not be the strongest of renewals with others having
a question or two to answer and Marco Botti's new acquisition can make experience tell at 9/4.
2pt win - 2nd @ 9/4
Pearl Secret was unbeaten until last season's Nunthorpe but everything seemed to go against him there and he's likely to be very popular today. If he handles this very quick ground, and there's no obvious reason he shouldn't, then he will be a leading player. The other at the top of the market is the impressive Sole Power who, at 6, is one of the older horses in the field but looks to have ideal conditions. He's had a good couple of runs at Meydan over the winter and comes here very fit and in decent form. 3rd in this 2 years ago behind Tangerine Trees, a 6 year old when he won it and who lines up again today, Jonny Murtagh's mount will love the quick ground. He'll never be near that 100/1 price tag when taking the Nunthorpe in 2010, but 9/2 is a fair representation of his chances today. It's not all that appealing to get behind a 3 year old in this but Bungle Inthejungle is a quick ground performer that mixed it with some classy 2 year olds last term. He beat Garswood over this trip on soft at Ascot (Group 3) and was second to Sir Prancealot the time before at Doncaster on better ground (Group 2). His early season form was all on quick ground and, though this is a big step up with some maturer horses, he's an attractive price at 16/1 for a colt with bags of potential.
Bungle Inthejungle 1pt e/w - U/P @ 12/1
Sole Power 1pt win - WON @ 7/2
There's likely to be plenty of pace over Lingfield's 5 furlongs at 3.40 and that should set things up for Lujeanie who has
a better record over further. He is fairly consistent without winning all that often (only 3 wins since the start of 2010)
but it feels like he's due a win and things may just pan out perfectly today. He won a claimer here back in December over
6 furlongs and has dropped to a lowest mark for 3 and a half years, though still had a bit to find last time off the same.
While Lujeanie will look to finish from in behind, one that will try and make all, you'd think, is Howyadoingnotsobad
who makes his seasonal reappearance here. He has a solid record on the all weather with 4 wins from 8 runs over this trip
- though none of those came a this track. Currently 5/1, he won first time out last season at Kempton but has to step
up somewhat to take this. He is hiked 5lb from a win at that course on penultimate start and was below par off this mark next
time on firm ground at Bath and we have to excuse that a little. Back from an absence since September, he should be nicely
freshened up and improvement can't be ruled out.
1pt e/w - U/P @ 5/1
I like a couple over at Chepstow in Jarrow and Guilded Spirit. The former takes a notable drop in grade to contest this off top weight after some woeful performances this term on the all weather. He did, however, win his first turf start for this yard last season off 3lb higher and may be rejuvenated back on grass. He will like the ground today and may have too much for some of these at a decent price if back on song. The official shout goes to Guilded Spirit who makes his second start after being gelded over the winter break. Third on soft at the end of last season to the very progressive Mr Impatience (who hacked up on his Doncaster reappearance before being beaten next time up in class), Stuart Kittow's charge can show improvement from that first effort this season. A beaten 7/4 favourite, he never settled but should have a stronger pave to run at here and that should suit him over a mile on this fast ground. A 4/1 shot, it's a shame the e/w value has gone but still worth getting behind this promising 3 year old.
1pt win - U/P @ 4/1
Most interesting runner of the day is the long term absentee Mr Maynard at Lingfield. Returning from 348 days off,
his sole win in 5 starts came over 7 furlongs at Kempton as a 2 year old and he has never quite fulfilled that early potential.
Interesting then that connections keep the faith after a lengthy absence and there is every indication that this extra half
mile will suit. He drops 8lb from his opening handicap mark after those below par efforts at the start of last season and
can make a winning return for a top yard at 11/4. The other at the head of the market is Syncopate who scored over
course and distance in December. The concern for him is this career high mark and, though he has been in good form this term
including a solid 2nd last time at Wolverhampton, he needs to come on again to take this. The one of interest at a bigger
price is If I Were A Boy who is only up 1lb for a course and distance win last month. She has been placed over slightly shorter
off a mark 4lb higher back in January last year and it wouldn't be a surprise to see her go very close against others with
a bit to prove.
2pt win - U/P @ 6/4
Much has been made this year about potential lack of fitness from some yards due to the bad spring weather but there's been little sign of such worries coming to fruition. Horses are winning first time out and I think we can abandon any theories about giving more weight to those that have had a run. This leads us into the feature race at Redcar where the two highest in the weights and at the top of the market have contrasting profiles. Summerinthecity has had a fairly busy winter and, though he took a few months off after a run in January, returned 5 days ago on firm ground at Haydock when 2nd off 1lb higher. That was a very impressive run up in class at 33/1 but he's a firm ground lover and looks far more exposed on the all weather. Mont Ras, on the other hand, returns for a first effort since defeat on heavy ground in October and is making his polytrack debut. This is a distinct drop in grade for him and he runs of a career lowest mark since winning a class 4 handicap 2 seasons ago. Most of his career efforts have come over a mile but 7 furlongs here shouldn't pose a problem. He won over this trip first time out in 2011 and was 3rd on his only other attempt at 7 furlongs in a tough contest on penultimate start. 11/4 is not huge given he has questions to answer but he is the one to beat and he should give a better show than when last seen on unsuitable ground 6 months ago.
2pt win - WON @ 9/4
Last month's cash cow: there wasn't one.
Last month's cash carnage: Aintree. It was the worst for years.
Straight back on the horse today with Ascot serving up a midweek treat and a few runners we have tipped up previously take to the track again in Stipulate and Hasopop. The former was a little disappointing for a firing Cecil yard on reappearance and is a little short to get behind on his second run out this term. Preference would be for Sovereign Debt at a bigger price but this ultra competitive race is a swerver as far as the tipping goes. The subsequent Group 3 looks a super race and Estimate must a have a real chance of giving the Queen another winner after her success at Newbury last week. She had an impressive 3 year old season (the horse, not the Queen), winning a Group 3 over course and distance at the Royal meeting and 2nd in a Group 2. She is half sister to a couple of Group 1 winners at staying trips and the good ground shouldn't pose a problem, though that previous win here came on soft. Sir Graham Wade is a little bigger in the market than he should be on the bare form he showed last year but just looked a little lacklustre on reappearance. He has some notable entries though and may well bounce back today. The lurker that is of real interest is Earth Amber for Jamie Spencer and Nicky Henderson. He won on good ground in a decent French contest over the water last summer with some respectable efforts either side and then gave a super performance in behind the classy Testosterone on debut for this yard. I'm not sure what he cost or how good he is and this is a real step up into Pattern company. He is, however, a decent price at 9/1 and looks like this step up in trip may suit under a lower weight than all but one of the rest.
1pt e/w - U/P @ 10/1
The previously put up, Marco Botti trained Hasopop lines up next at 6/1 and his trainer looks like a promising season awaits, though he's taken a little time to start firing. Hasopop was unlucky first time out this season when looking primed to go close on the all weather - he had a luckless run but finished strongly. He showed his class next time when 3rd in a competitive Newbury handicap on turf debut this term and looks to have trained on well for this 3 year old campaign. He has to step up again to take this listed race but has shown improvement after not really cutting it with the Group winners as a 2 year old and looks as though this sort of race is within his grasp. He won a good to firm 6 furlong contest at Yarmouth last year and may enjoy a return to the trip on good ground today. The other one of interest is the unexposed Snow King for John Gosden, if only because you wouldn't necessarily expect to see him line up here over this sort of trip. He won a decent Ascot maiden at the end of last year over 7 furlongs and then disappointed over in the States on very firm ground. He looked to be one to step up in trip on return but the fact that this top yard sends him sprinting has to be noted at this early stage of the season.
1pt e/w - 3rd @ 5/1
Another one worth noting today is Pure Faith over at Southwell. He looked to be a decent chasing prospect when second to Albertas Run in the Old Roan back at the start of 2011 but then has not really lived up to potential. Sometimes they never do but sometimes a little break and drop in Grade can be what is needed and Tom O'Brien's mount must have the capabilities to win this after 166 days off. He struggled up in class last term but then should have faired better in easier contests towards the latter end of the season, notably last time out at Cheltenham off a fairly lowly hurdles mark. He does though, look every bit the chaser and returns here of his lowest chase mark at an appealing 4/1. That being said, Kings Grey will take some beating after his excellent showing when fourth at Aintree on good ground last time. This is plenty easier and he's only 6lb higher than his Doncaster win over a furlong shorter 6 months ago, though that came on soft.
1pt win - U/P @ 7/2