Sunday Betting Tips: Thirsk, Deauville, Curragh & Salisbury
Here are today’s best bets. Good luck.
SPARTAN FIGHTER (13.55 Thirsk, 0.5pt each-way @9/1)
SPARTAN FIGHTER looked a horse going places as a two-year-old following two novice wins, but he hasn’t had much luck since, enduring a luckless passage in the Group-two Gimcrack Stakes and then failing to get involved in another Group-two in Maisons-Laffitte. The heavy ground at Chantilly on his final start last campaign was a valid excuse when only seventh and he can be forgiven for his return to action at Royal Ascot where he was hampered at the start, and then again in the final furlong which put-paid to any chance he held at that point. This race is a lot easier, and his defeat over the high-class Ali’A who is now rated 110 as a two-year-old is the best form on offer. Therefore, an opening handicap mark of 94 makes him undoubtedly well-handicapped in a race like this and it should be worth noting that Danny Tudhope has chosen to ride him over Watchable who he nearly won on during the week.
KONCHEK (14.15 Sandown, 1pt win @9/2)
WELL DONE FOX (14.15 Sandown, 1pt win @9/2)
A lot of well-handicapped rivals return to face each other in this tricky sprint handicap, and I’m not all that inclined to look past the head of the market. KONCHEK hasn’t won since his debut success as a two-year-old, but he’s been knocking on the door for a while now to suggest his turn might be around the corner for Clive Cox and Hector Crouch. His speed-figures are well-ahead of this field based on statistics and his latest third off this mark makes him a leading contender, especially now being better off with the winner at the weights. I’m hoping Hector Crouch can make this a true test here with conditions to suit and for me, he won’t get many better opportunities of returning to the winners enclosure. This horse, although consistent, is possibly still a bit of an under-achiever in my eyes, but he has a chance to get his first success in almost two years.
The other one that stands off the page is Richard Hannon’s WELL DONE FOX who is a proven C&D winner and has arguably been competing in better grades races than this for a while. He’s a dual winner at Listed level and was also placed twice at Group level so in comparison to today’s race, this is a significant drop down in class. His best form has no doubt been over the minimum distance, for which his latest fifth off a mark of 100 at Goodwood over the trip saw him be nearest the finish (possibly given too much do). The 4lb drop in the handicap as a result of that eye-catching display last time out is more than a relief going into today’s race. For sure, the four-year-old has a lot going for him here and there’s just too much to like to let him go unbacked at the prices and he should be more than capable of winning a race of this nature.
THE LIR JET (15.10 Curragh, 1pt win @7/2)
Moving onto the feature race of Sunday’s card at the Curragh and as much as I like Steel Bull for whom has won both starts to date including an impressive win at Glorious Goodwood 11 days ago, preference is for THE LIR JET who sets a high standard. He lost his unbeaten record when turned over as the 2-5f by Ventura Tormenta in a close finish at Chantilly when last seen. Having said that, this race should play more to his strengths based on the way he seemingly travelled best of all last time out and I find it interesting that connections have supplemented him for this race instead of going over to France again. The Richard Hannon runner had a soft lead that day and is likely to get more competition for the lead in this bigger field this time which will play into the hands of the closers such as Michael Bell’s The Lir Jet. His Group-two Norfolk success over the well-regarded Golden Pal is the best piece of form on offer and, with clear claims on form, he is the horse to beat.
MOTAKHAYYEL (15.25 Salisbury, 1pt win @11/4)
ACCIDENTAL AGENT (15.25 Salisbury, 0.5pt each-way @20/1)
This is a very deep renewal of this valuable Group-three contest, but I have really been taken by MOTAKHAYYEL this season. He steps out of handicap company for the first time, but he is well worth his place at this level given the way he’s slaughtered decent rivals in both the Buckingham Stakes and the Bunbury Cup this season. His speed-figures provide clear indication that he possesses a devastating turn of foot in his inventory and the nature of today’s race will suit his style of running. If he can translate that form to pattern company, there’s every chance he will come out on top.
The market looks to have underestimated the chances of ACCIDENTAL AGENT who has been holding his form well for a long time without success. In fact, his last victory came in the 2018 Group-one Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot and based on actual facts, he’s the ONLY Group-one winner in the line-up which clearly gives him a great chance of winning this, especially taking into account there has been plenty of signs that he might get back on the scoresheet sooner than expected.
He was unlucky in this race last year when failing to get a clear run when required before storming home to be beaten only a nose. This ultra-tough six-year-old was third in last year’s Group-one Lockinge Stakes and ran well to finish fifth in the Group-one Queen Anne Stakes on his reappearance when attempting to win the race back-to-back. The form of that race has a lot of substance to it with the horse who was back in seventh Mohaather, bolted up in the Sussex Stakes subsequently.
Accidental Agent invariably needs a run or two to put him straight, and it seems highly likely that connections have trained him for this race again given he should have won it last year. With course form, ground conditions to suit along with bringing Group-one form to the table in comparison to today’s rivals who haven’t, he makes fair each-way appeal at 25/1 to say the very least.
GLEN SHIEL (15.40 Curragh, 0.5pt each-way @17/2)
GLEN SHIEL is a very likeable sort who continues on an upward curve having built on his second in a french group-three race to win a competitive conditions race last weekend when giving weight away to the smart runner-up Danzeno. It seems an interesting move by connections to supplement him for this contest which should suit. He deserves his place in this line-up while in a rich vein of form and his rating of 108 firmly puts him right in the mix alongside most. It’s clear to see that Archie Watson wouldn’t bring him over to Ireland if they didn’t think he could go close. He looks solid and arguably too big in the betting to be overlooked, so with being said, I’m firmly happy to put him up at around 13/2 generally each-way.
OSTILIO (16.10 Thirsk, 2pt win @13/8)
It’s been a long time since the Simon Crisford-trained OSTILIO (NAP) but he evidently the most uncomplicated and formative selection in a field of this size as he comes out best at the weights and brings arguably the best form to the table. He returned from a fair absence to finish an excellent second in defeat off level-weights. His form as a three-year-old which included victory in a higher-grade race (well in front of Qaysar) is head and shoulders above this lot. Furthermore, the yard is operating at an impressive 31% strike-rate over the last month and if he steps forward from this reappearance, he will be hard to beat. I’d be very disappointed if this classy five-year-old doesn’t get the job done under Andrea Atzeni who had the choice of the two Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum runners in the race.
SNOW PATCH (16.50 Curragh, 1pt each-way @15/2)
This race might have looked a minefield at first glance, and it isn’t normally the sort of race I would tend to get involved with, but one horse in particular looks extremely well-handicapped and has an excellent chance of taking this prize. The mare SNOWPATCH (E/W NAP) has a very modest record on the turf (0-8), but those statistics don’t justify her cracking runs in defeat. Her last two performances over five-furlongs on the turf has resulted with two third placed efforts, the first of those behind two horses who are now rated 80 and 85, while her latest C&D third was behind two horses have subsequently finished runner-up off marks of 71 and 73. Bearing that in mind, her handicap mark of 59 makes her very interesting from a handicap and form perspective. With room for improvement with relatively low-mileage on the turf, I rate her as my strongest each-way bet of the day especially with her prominent style of racing ensuring us that she won’t meet any traffic problems.
WICHITA (14.50 Deauville, 0.5pt each-way @12/1)
GOLDEN HORDE (14.50 Deauville, 1pt win @9/2)
This is a highly competitive renewal of the Maurice Gheest with the unbeaten Earthlight heading the market for Andre Fabre. He has beaten Golden Horde twice previously, but I can envisage Clive Cox’s much improved youngster gaining revenge. Golden Horde has improved massively since the pair clashed at Newmarket when the selection was beaten just a neck. The ground should be soft (ish) which will help Golden Horde in his bid to add a second Group-one on his CV. I’m expecting Adam Kirby to make full use of his proven tactical speed and stamina which should allow him to settle on the front-end and if allowed to dominate, I’m pretty hopeful this high-class sprinter can make the trip for connections worthwhile.
The other one I’m backing who has seemingly been overlooked in the market is the Aidan O’Brien-trained WICHITA. I have a half sneaky incline that this drop down in trip is exactly what he has needed all along. Although yet to race below seven-furlongs, Wichita has some seriously strong form to his name which include placed efforts in three consecutive Group-one races between 7f-1m which were the Dewhurst, 2,000 Guineas and St James’s Palace at Royal Ascot. He’s closely matched with Pinatubo on all known form and can definitely be forgiven his latest run in the race of the season, the Sussex Stakes.
For a brief moment, it looked as though he was only to play a major role against the best milers around until the final furlong where it was reported by Frankie that he was struck into, lost his right hind-shoe, and finished lame. According to Frankie, he said to Aidan that day he’s got loads of pace and would be more comfortable over today’s trip, and we know he is 9/10 times correct when he makes comments about future entries of a horse he’s ridden previously.
To add further interest, Frankie Dettori travels over to Deauville to ride only Wichita on the card which clearly states a big run is expected from this high-class three-year-old. He’s also joint-top rated at 118, yet he’s 12/1, which evidently underestimates his chances here. If this drop down in trip does do the trick, I can envisage him gaining his Group-one success hence why Frankie has made the decision to remain on his back again.