Saturday Betting Tips: York, Newbury & Curragh
Hope you're all well. We have some cracking racing in store this weekend and I will be providing selections for the whole weekend once again. Here are Saturday’s selections so let’s hope for a winner or two or perhaps even more. Best of luck to each and everyone of you, and have a great weekend.
MOONLIGHT SPIRIT (13.55 York, 1pt win @9/4)
Just the five runners go to post for the John Smith’s Silver Cup Stakes, and I’m firmly in the camp of Charlie Appleby’s MOONLIGHT SPIRIT who looks to have been located an ideal opportunity to secure a nice prize this season for connections. This represents quite a drop in class for the Godolphin team-member who competed in the Group 1 Gold Cup behind Stradivarius at Royal Ascot last time out. Initially, I thought he ran a lot better than the finishing position demonstrated having been bang there towards the front off the home-bend tackling the great stayer that is Stradivarius and the runner-up Nayef Road before his run petered out over the last couple of furlongs on soft (ish) ground. Today’s better ground offers plenty of enthusiasm about his chances based on the fact that his form figures on ground away from soft reads an impressive 1, 1, 1, 3 and 1. With all things outlined above that I’ve stated, this 4 year-old will relish the forecast ease in the ground taking a drop down in class, and he can make the yard’s long journey (only runner on today’s card) worthwhile with the bang in-form William Buick riding him again.
MIGHTY GURKHA (14.15 Newbury, 0.5pt each-way @7/1)
KRAKEN POWER (14.15 Newbury, 0.5pt each-way @12/1)
It is hard to argue how impressive Method was on debut when scooting away, looking as though he could be an above-average sort for connections. But one horse in particular seems to have been excessively overlooked in the market by most firms is the Archie Watson-trained MIGHTY GURKHA who actually achieved higher figures than Method’s success on debut when winning by seven-lengths at Wolverhampton. There was a lot of substance to his creditable fifth on just his second start which came in the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot.
That form has been well-advertised since with the first and second finishing in the same order next time out in group company. I’m also inclined to believe the return to six furlongs will be a welcome addition to Mighty Gurkha here. Furthermore, as we’re all aware, Hollie Doyle is riding a crest of wave this season and in theory, Archie Watson’s 2 year-old brings the best form to the table and therefore, should be a lot shorter in the market, especially with the 6/1 available looking a bargain each-way proposition from a punting perspective.
The other one I want to keep on side is the Ian Jardine-trained KRAKEN POWER who showed plenty of promise on debut to finish second, albeit in reflection, should have won, having been given a little too much to do. Having said that, he left connections with plenty of optimism going forward with that promising display on debut, and made no mistake on his second outing three weeks ago at Hamilton, travelling powerfully before unleashing an astonishing turn of foot. This is a better race, admittedly - but he’s open to more progression and I get the suspicion that if he was trained by a bigger yard he would be a lot shorter in the betting.
BALTIC BARRON (14.30 York, 0.5pt each-way @25/1)
HARROVIAN (14.30 York, 0.5pt each-way @9/1)
All odds are with bookmakers paying 5 places)
A very open-looking affair for the John Smith’s Cup in which plenty can stake a claim.
I have firmly had BALTIC BARRON in my tracker since his creditable performance at Royal Ascot but has invariably been denied a run since, presumably when the ground would have been against him. Sent off 33/1 for the Royal Hunt Cup, Baltic Barron was slow into stride and on the face of it, it looked like his chance had gone. To his credit, the five-year-old was travelling anonymously well, evidently better than the majority of the field who favoured the stand side (fared better throughout the week).
He cruised through the scrimmage of runners from the back of the field and in summary, finished a creditable 5th of 23 runners, beaten just a handful of lengths. His performance deserves a great deal of praise, especially with how he travelled in such a warm event. My reaction to that performance was to back him next time out and here we are. Surprisingly, the handicapper has dropped him 1lb for that fine run in defeat, which is a big bonus. The manner in which he has finished his races suggests he will relish this trip, and with young Angus Villiers on his back who rides this track well, he rates a very attractive each-way selection.
On the other hand, John Gosden boasts an excellent strike-rate at the track and it is very appealing to see his only runner on the card HARROVIAN take his chance in the fiercely-competitive handicap. Also, Frankie Dettori comes here for just this sole mount, and this improving 4 year-old had plenty more up his sleeve than the bare margin suggested at Doncaster 22 days ago when getting back to winning ways. He might be up 6lb in the handicap this time, but I think a mark around 95-105 is where you want to be for this race and a nice enough slot in stall 11 won’t hinder his chances at all. Normally, I like to shy away from those horses towards the front of the market, but this good-looking individual has an excellent each-way chance.
GRACEFUL MAGIC (14.50 Newbury, 0.5pt each-way @8/1)
GRACEFUL MAGIC is a model of consistency for connections and ran above market expectations when finishing eleventh in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket on seasonal debut. Prior to that huge task, she had dead-heated with Rose Of Kildare and was then beaten just half-a-length by that same rival in a Group 3 on her final race last season. The winner won another pattern race since, so on the face of it, not much separates our selection and Mark Johnston’s runner in comparison to today’s field which is a lot easier. She will strip fitter now with fitness that can be assured, and this good-looking filly holds iron-cast each-way claims to say the least from a form perspective. I couldn't see another horse with the right combination of positives to back, therefore, I am quietly confident her class will prove decisive because in reality, her form is head and shoulders above this field, taking into account the big drop down in grade from Group 1 to Class 2 company.
LA LUNE (15.25 Newbury, 1pt win @4/1)
Once more, plenty are in with a shout in this competitive-heat on Newbury’s card, but the unexposed Henry Candy-trained filly LA LUNE could be the answer to the race. Her improvement can be recognised in all three of her races, starting with her promising sixth on debut before comfortably succeeding at Salisbury next time out. Her latest reappearance was another step up the ladder, beaten just half-a-length behind the 110+ rated Antonia De Vega with already race-fit Makawee back in third. The freshness will be out of her now with that run under belt including the fact that she had her first taste at listed level and handled it very well. The York long straight will suit her galloping style of racing, and that latest performance hinted a mile-and-a-half is more than within her compass. She’s learning her trade very well, and is expected to take another step forward from a good slot in stall 5 for her bang in-form stable.
TABDEED (16.00 Newbury, 0.5pt each-way @9/1)
I have closely scrutinised this year’s renewal of the Hackwood Stakes with one horse in particular jumps off the page for me, and that horse is the Owen Burrows-trained TABDEED - who will be ridden by none other than Jim Crowley. Speaking of Mr Crowley - his record in this race is pretty good, having had form figures of 1, 3, 1 and 2 the last four times he’s had a ride in the race. Owen Burrow’s 5 year-old won four of his first five races with his only blip coming in the 2018 Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot on his sole try over seven furlongs.
If you put a line through that performance, his form is rock-solid. The soft ground wouldn’t have suited when only sixth two starts ago, but he replicated his earlier promise, potential and enthusiasm by finishing second on his seasonal bow behind Glen Shiel at Newcastle. Despite failing to justify favouritism, there were a lot of positive points taken out of that run in defeat given he was conceding race-fitness and weight to the winner who has subsequently upgraded the form by going close in a Group 3 contest in France.
His fitness will be more streetwise here along with good ground being a key factor to seeing him to best effect. His form on good to firm ground, which is what conditions are riding at this moment, reads figures 1, 1 and 1. Clearly, this well-balanced individual will relish the conditions this weekend, therefore, with more progression to come now stepped up to a higher graded race with everything in his favour, he makes plenty of appeal in the concluding race on the card.
SURROUNDING (17.45 Curragh, 0.5pt each-way @12/1)
An interesting, highly-competitive renewal of this Group 2 contest with Lancaster House heading the market but I think SURROUNDING is worth an interest at nice odds. He’s closely matched on collateral form with Lancaster House in comparison to the useful Speak in Colours. Lancaster House beat that rival last time out when both were race-fit. However, on the other hand, Surrounding was only two-lengths behind Speak In Colours on seasonal debut and is sure to be fitter here with that run under his belt, especially knowing he invariably needs his first run after a break.
With that being said, he gets 3lb from Lancaster House today - so looking at the race from a form perspective, Michael Halford’s-trained 7 year-old has every chance of winning this despite current official ratings suggesting otherwise. He’s capable of good form at this level and has been in good form all year given he finished a solid-looking sixth place in a Group 1 over in Meydan before chasing home the horse I mentioned earlier at Fairyhouse last time. He looks the most overpriced horse with a strong chance of winning the race for connections with Ronan Whelan back on board.
ARDHOOMEY (18.15 Curragh, 0.5pt each-way @10/1)
A typically competitive renewal of this tricky heat, but I think ARDHOOMEY (E/W NAP) has an excellent each-way chance here. He looks so well-handicapped these days and generally goes well at this track. He's a former Group 2 winner at the course, and although he hasn’t won for quite some time, the consistent 8 year-old has been fiercely-competitive in good company ever since off much higher marks. Impressively - Ger Lyons’s runner has never run a bad race in his career, and his eighth in this last year should be acknowledged because he had to deal with a low draw in stall 4, which doesn’t bode well in this event, yet he wasn’t beaten far.
His two performances this year have offered plenty of enthusiasm and encouragement, finishing second on seasonal debut over C&D when beaten just a neck off a mark of (90) before finishing fourth last time out off a mark (92) under a monster weight of 10-2. The handicapper has left him alone on 92 meaning he runs in this race off a 5lb lower mark compared to last year. Furthermore, he’s been allocated in stall 16 which can only enhance his chances with ideal ground conditions. For sure, he will need a bit of luck in-running but providing Ardhoomey doesn’t meet traffic problems, I can't see how he doesn’t go close to winning this or at the very least being thereabouts. I really can’t see any negatives in his armour at all and for that reason, I make him my each-way nap of the day.
CAYENNE PEPPER (19.15 Curragh, 2pt win @2/1)
We conclude today’s racing with the feature race at Curragh being the Irish Oaks this evening. Boringly, I am happy to support the favourite CAYENNE PEPPER (NAP) who certainly has the strongest form in the book, and this race has clearly been her long-term target this season. I was quite surprised to see most firms put her up at around 2/1 which I think underestimates her chances. Apart from her obvious market rival Ennistymon, I’m inclined to believe this is a very weak-renewal of the race and I just don’t think any of the remainder of the field are genuine Group 1 horses in comparison to Jessica Harrington’s filly.
I do have a soft spot for Laburnum who could go well at double-digits, but I was disappointed she couldn’t get the job done last time out and will need to be at least a 111+ rated horse to win this. Ennistymon has done nothing wrong this season, winning once and placing second in both the Ribblesdale Stakes and Investec Oaks. But look at it this way, Ennistymon was nine-lengths behind Love in the English equivalent, whereas Cayenne Pepper was only 1 length behind Love when they clashed in the Fillies’ Mile last season.
Evidently, Love has improved a ton since that outing but I just get the feeling that Cayenne Pepper has more potential and progression compared to Ennistymon. The latter has also had two hard races in quick succession so surely those excursions will take their toll here unlike Cayenne Pepper who put in a highly-courageous performance when second behind the 122-rated Magical on her return to action. She has yet to tackle this longer distance, but all of her previous form has indicated a step up in trip will suit, therefore, she is handed a confident vote to win this.
For the followers who would like a multiple bet I will advise the following shortlist. Please note, this is not an advised Stakes bet - only for fun.
GRACEFUL MAGIC (8/1)
LA LUNE (4/1)
CAYENNE PEPPER (2/1)