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TULLIUS (Best price 8-1) would appreciate further overnight rain but, in the hope there is no jar in the ground, then Andrew Balding’s charge is taken to preserve his perfect York record in a tricky opener. In truth, a case can be made for plenty of the eight-year-old’s rivals and it isn’t a race for big wagers to my eye, but connections look to have waited for the Group 3 with Tullius given he has been rested for 11 weeks since winning a similar contest at Epsom.
There are some powerful stables represented in the Melrose Stakes but non are going better than Alan King at present and MASTER BLUEYES (Best price 12-1) could look a shade of value come 3pm. A course winner over 12 furlongs earlier this season, the selection was unlucky not to finish closer to favourite Shraaoh at Goodwood last time and he looks like there should be more to come now he tackles a stiffer test of stamina. I was really taken with INJAM (Best price 16-1) at Haydock last time – he will make a lovely hurdler in time – and he looks too big a price to let run unbacked, especially with man of the moment Paul Mulrennan riding. Any overnight rain would not inconvenience his chance.
William Haggas landed a valuable maiden on the Knavesmire yesterday and MUBTASIM (Best price 9-2) could supplement that success with victory in the Gimcrack Stakes. The Arcano colt has recorded excellent speed figures on both of his starts at Yarmouth and Haydock, with his latest win achieved in facile fashion. Main market adversary Blue Point hails from a yard that have become becalmed of late and Mubtasim looks capable of taking the step up in grade in his stride.
Backing TAWDEEA (Best price 16-1) for Europe’s richest handicap takes a little leap of faith given he was well beaten at Goodwood last time. However, David O’Meara’s charge may prove to be more effective on a flat track and was never put in the race behind Elidor so could bounce back with a prominent showing given the form of his yard on the Knavesmire this week. An impressive winner of the Old Newton Cup at Haydock on soft ground in July, Tawdeea was only beaten five lengths in the John Smith’s Cup over a trip short of his best and could be ready to spring a mini surprise now he tackles more of a trip.
As a huge fan of the Iain Jardine stable I can’t let SHREWD (Best price 12-1) go unbacked either. The form of his Listed race fifth to Pamona over course and distance took a handsome boost yesterday when runner-up Barsanti bravely landed the opener. Shrewd wasn’t disgraced that day and was noted staying on nicely to finish upsides the classy Quest For More so he appeals back in handicap company.
A sharp turn of foot from PERSUASIVE (Best price 5-2) settled the Sandringham Handicap in a number of strides and hopes are high that John Gosden’s filly can continue her upwardly mobile profile here. Onlookers were left the impression that Persuasive won in spite of the ground that day and a better surface could suit a filly who boasts a smart change of gear.
It is arguably difficult to be dogmatic about this event with any number of classy juveniles in opposition. Narrow preference is for the son of Frankel, MAJORIS, (Best price 7-1) who routed his Newmarket rivals last time and looks ready for this step up in class. Ascot one-two Apex King and Monticello are respected as they stay well, but there looks more to come from Hugo Palmer’s charge which represents a yard that have been firing in juvenile winners for fun recently.
FIRE FIGHTING (Best price 10-1) has struck a rich vein of form and can follow up his Newmarket victory of last weekend. The selection is a much better horse in handicaps and the drop in trip should be no issue to a horse who has struck form with a vengeance at some major venues of late.
BAYDAR (Best price 10-3) is worth a saver as he has found a way of winning this summer and could still be a step ahead of the handicapper.
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