Sir Michael Stoute has a potent record at Salisbury and he looks to have sent another potential improver north for this one today.
Ryan Moore makes the trip to take the mount on Adamant who looked like a horse with real potential when bolting up at Windsor late last season and he looks another likely improver for the yard as a three-year-old so he gets the confident nod to land this on route to bigger targets this term.
John Gosden’s Elis Ruby looks the most likely danger to the selection. The yard are in red hot form at the minute and could not have started the season better and like the selection also signed off last term with a win, but the selection is far less exposed and looks the one to be on. ADAMANT (WIN)
The Richard Fahey yard might just hold the answer to this tight looking 6f handicap at Thirsk. Grandad’s World was well supported when recording a solid third place on his seasonal reappearance at Redcar and he looks feasibly treated based on that run for which he is entitled to strip fitter now. He is reunited with Paul Hanagan once again in the saddle and he is taken to land the spoils here this afternoon. Paul Midgley’s Naggers is the clear danger to the selection after a similarly promising run on his seasonal debut, but he might have to wait one more run here today. GRANDADS WORLD (WIN)
by Graeme Lafferty
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A ridiculously tough race to call as twelve four year olds battle it out in this juvenile handicap hurdle. Nine of the twelve runners have already tasted victory so far this season so the majority have enough to find the winners enclosure and the remaining three yet to win have been placed.
You may be better just closing your eyes and sticking a pin in the paper but never the less I’ll endeavour to decipher this puzzle.
On paper Call Me Lord ticks a tonne of boxes, he’s won his last two and represents top trainer Nicky Henderson. There’s no doubt he’s going to go close but in a race of this nature I have to look for each way value and I’m hoping Vincent’s Forever could be the answer. He hasn’t made a trip to the winners enclosure yet but the David Pipe team are always dangerous in handicap races. He’ll enjoy the ground and with new headgear applied if it helps his cause he could outrun his larger price. VINCENT’S FOREVER (E/W)
The first of two trips to Haydock on ITV sees fan favourite Top Notch Tonto set to compete. Despite seemingly being around the game for a while he’s still only seven years old and no doubt will be up there for most of the race. A poor run of form with no win in his last thirteen starts and on what is expected to be firmer ground his best hope is probably a minor place.
Another fan favourite is undoubtedly Frankie Dettori and he could add another televised victory to his list of career successes. He’s scheduled to ride the Luca Cumani trained El Vip who looks to improve on his promising third placed return to action at Bath last time out. A youngster who looks a progressive type and although he faces some more experienced heads could be better than his opposition. EL VIP (WIN)
Menorah may be twelve years old but if the old saying “horses for courses” is anything to go by then he cannot be beaten. He’s competed here at Sandown on five occasions and has found the winning line with his head in front four times. He’s a Grade 1 winner in his pomp and although he’s probably not at that level any longer has enough to claim victory here.
Josses Hill and Vibrato Valtat look the biggest threats but Josses Hill is mightily inconsistent and despite claiming a victory here at Sandown Vibrato Valtat doesn’t seem to really enjoy the course. MENORAH (WIN)
Although I may be doing a disservice to the rest of the field I can only see this as a theoretical three horse race. Oh This Is Us, Afjaan and Fawaareq look the likely contenders and my selection hails from this trio.
The Richard Hannon trained Oh This Is Us has the advantage of race fitness on his side however he’s been running over the winter and sits a whopping nine pounds higher than the rest.
We last witnessed Afjaan in a very competitive big runner handicap at Ascot back in October. He finished fourth that day but was only a couple of lengths behind the winner. If he’s trained on over the winter and he’s gone well fresh in the past he represents a yard bang in form and will be there or thereabouts.
Fawaareq became a revelation after switching trainers and Owen Burrows has done a great job. A second and two victories since changing yards he’s not put a foot wrong but that was in lesser grade handicaps. He may well be up to this task but that’s the question he has to answer. AFJAAN (WIN) – NAP
It’s a shame to only see four horses contest this Grade 1 chase but it’s relatively competitive none the less. Two Cheltenham Festival winners, three of the four are course winners and all four won last time out. They all have a very good level of talent and with Special Tiara winning the Champion Chase back in March he’s achieved the most but Altior is held in very high regard and to many in the know looks a special horse in the making. The Nicky Henderson runner has been very impressive this season and if the hype is real and continues to grow he’ll prove that his odds-on price is fair. ALTIOR (WIN)
The marquee race of the day is the Bet365 Gold Cup, a race that was won by the mighty Desert Orchid and a field of seventeen look set to take their spot in this years prestigious chase.
The likely market leader is Neil Mulholland’s Doing Fine who’s win at Cheltenham last time out looked very impressive. He’ll need to step up on that effort as he tackles a much classier level of opposition and with an eight pound rise in weight is going to have to improve.
Trainer Neil Mulholland has a great hand in the race with The Young Master and The Druids Nephew also entered. Of the Mulholland trio I’d probably side with The Druids Nephew who’s been lightly raced this term and put in a decent effort at the Cheltenham Festival but never the less my selections lie away from the aforementioned three.
Rock The Kasbah has only finished out of the top three once in his six starts this term and as such shows he’s ultra consistent. A defeat to a very promising horse last time out shouldn’t put you off and a step up in distance is likely to help this improving novice.
Of the rest of the field a small fancy goes to Le Reve who seems to relish Sandown and finished third in this race back in 2015. Another horse who’s been lightly raced this term and may have more left than some of the rest. ROCK THE KASBAH (E/W)
LE REVE (E/W)
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The Esher Cup looks as competitive as ever and the once raced Godolphin representative Atty Persse is the likely favourite. He comfortably won his only start as a two-year-old, but looks very short in a competitive field. A chance is instead taken with the John Gosden trained Jupiter Light. The 3yo stepped up on his debut run to land a four-runner maiden back in March with a narrow success over Tafaakhor, who has since franked the form. The extra furlong will be right up his street and he looks the value each way play here. JUPITER LIGHT (E/W)
This looks a decent renewal of the Group 3 Gordon Richard Stakes with a couple of these having been in the running for last year’s Epsom Derby. Aiden O’Brien’s Deauville was a disappointment when well down the field in that one, but improved on that to win in America before a narrow defeat to Modialiste in the Arlington Million stakes. A repeat of that form would have him bang there and he can confirm the form of beating the re-opposing Ulysses home in the Epsom showpiece here again today. DEAUVILLE (WIN)
This year’s running of the Bet365 Classic Trial can only be described as the battle of the Frankels with no less than three of the super sire’s next generations running here. The superstar horse has proven already to be as good at stud as he was on track and this race will surely propel yet another of his offsprings onwards to classic glory. The Mark Johnston trained Frankuus won twice as a two year old and looks like he will only get better for the step up in distance this season, but while he is the highest rated in the field, he is also the most exposed runner too.
John Gosden sends both Cunco and Monarchs Glen into battle here. The former is held by Frankuus on a previous running, but it is the latter who really showed signs of his father’s turn of foot when blitzing the field on his seasonal reappearance in a handicap at Kempton. The trip looks ideal and a repeat of that form will surely be too much for any of these rivals to live with today, so Monarchs Glen is the confident selection. MONARCHS GLEN (WIN) – NAP
The Group Two B365 Mile sees a number of in-form rivals lock horns, but it may be form in the book that may pose the best clue for the winner.
The Richard Hannon trained Kool Kompany scored narrowly last time out at Doncaster on Lincoln weekend in a listed contest. He now steps back up in class after accounting for the classy Stormy Atlantic and the re-opposing Dawn of Hope, but he will be a leading price in a field where it may pay to seek out some each way value. Mondialiste won the jackpot prize of the Group 1 Arlington Million last term and that form sets the standard here. He had a disappointing reappearance at Meydan last month, but he will strip much fitter for that run and can take a hand here at cracking each way price. MONDIALISTE (E/W)
Ryan Moore rarely rides for trainer David O’Meara so on paper alone it’s an eye-catching jockey booking to say the least. Six year old That Is The Spirit has only tackled an artificial surface once in his career and although he finished down the field that was in a much more competitive race than this. The O’Meara yard are flying with five winners out of twenty runners recently and they look to have a great chance with a horse who’s got a 100% strike rate in this grade.
Of the rivals you can’t discount previous course and distance winner Outer Space who’s been mightily consistent with a win and two second place finishes in his last three starts.
Punters should also be wary of the bottom weight Comedy School. This lightly raced three year old has plenty of scope for improvement and represents top connections so shouldn’t be far away. THAT IS THE SPIRIT (WIN)
by Rory Paddock
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A trappy looking handicap over the minimum trip where we see Lucky Beggar look to go one better than his second placed effort at Redcar last time out. A drop in trip looks likely to suite and despite a one pound rise in weights has a great chance.
Poppy In The Wind has a great record here at Beverley and despite now sitting much higher than her last winning mark she can’t be discounted too readily,
Of the remainder Tarboosh might not have won in eight attempts handicapping but you can’t readily ignore Paul Midgley’s yard in sprint handicaps and if a tongue-tie can bring about some improvement he could snap up place money. LUCKY BEGGAR (WIN)
Kinloch Pride ran a great race to finish just a length behind a 76 rated, well supported Mick Easterby runner at Redcar last time out, finishing a couple of lengths clear of third. A course and distance winner prior to that and having win two of her last three, she has been holding her form extremely well and can strike again here.
Lizzy’s Dream has placed in her last two runs but both came on the all-weather at Wolves and his turf form of just one win in over thirty runs means he is not one to put too much faith in so the bigger dangers look to be Culloden and Searanger who finished second and sixth respectively when behind our selection over course and distance when they last locked horns. KINLOCH PRIDE (WIN)