Tom Stanley brings you his best bets at Ascot and Redcar.
A pair of Sir Michael Stoute horses that have been disappointing this year could well fare better this afternoon. Hillstar is a classy performer on his day and the Cumberland Lodge lacks strength in depth this year. Romsdal, so too Hillstar to be fair, isn’t to be relied upon and he could be one to take on to break his turf maiden (for all he was placed in the Investec Derby last year). Hillstar will get the pace he needs at this trip and looks pick of the prices. Integral is back after a poor run at Ascot when she wasn’t right. She won this last year and I fancy she’ll find the 3lb needed to take the race in successive years. 3 year olds have a good record but this bunch haven’t proved themselves up to scratch with the likes of the front pair in the betting. Another shortie that is definitely worth backing is Naadirr at Ascot back in cheekpieces. He looked worth a go at 7 at Doncaster but I’m not sure he really got home and a drop to 6 will help. He's a different horse since his gelding operation and the headgear that was on for his last 2 wins returns. This is a drop in class and the straight tracks at Doncaster, where he has a good record, and Ascot are very similar.
The Challenge Cup is well worth a play and 2 from the Ayr Gold Cup make plenty of appeal. There’s not a great deal of pace on but a couple in the centre should be happy to bowl along and that should suit Tanzeel who will be able to get cover from 15, a far better draw than at Ayr where his chance was gone early when keeping stands side with just 1 other. He was just 10/1 that day and looks bigger than he should be here based upon his York win. The ground was against him next time at the track when racing up with the pace over 7 in Listed company and this should be more his bag. Buckstay is the other from Ayr well worth another chance here but he’s well enough found in the market.
It’s 2 year olds galore at Newmarket and Twin Sails looks a likely winner of the opener. He’s clear on ratings and his trainer mentioned he was still making a noise after the race at Doncaster having missed a week due to a virus. An on song Twin Sails should prove difficult to be a but it’s a minefield of a race. Alice Springs is much the best of her bunch, obviously, and should win. I fancy Gifted Master may be too good for Waterloo Bridge over 7 furlong but am happy to watch. The Two Year Old Trophy at Redcar does look worth a play and Tim Easterly has sent out 2 winners and a 2nd in the last 3 years. His main chance this time around is Still On Top and he looks a healthy price given he was sent off favourite for a Listed race at the track last time. That came less than 2 weeks after his excellent York effort, both runs on ground looser than ideal, and he would probably have wanted more pace than was on last time. This bigger field should suit - he took a while to wind up at York but was flying at the finish - and his action and pedigree all point to quicker ground benefitting.