Sunday Betting Tips: York, Curragh and Newbury
Just the one winner today with TABEED (9/1) comfortably landing the odds - coming from last to first to win the Hackwood Stakes under a great ride from Jim Crowley. Not much stakes lost today although I had hoped for a few more winners. However, we have so far had a real good week with plenty of winners across the board and I am confident about Sunday’s selections.
MATTHEW FLINDERS (12.45 York, 1pt win @7/2)
The highly-anticipated return of Brentford Hope has been long overdue since his emphatic debut success at Newmarket 270 days ago. Richard Hughes’s three-year-old was featured in my horses to follow for this season and was expected to be a lively outsider in this year's Derby. Unfortunately, due to a few issues, he hasn’t been seen at all this season and despite being reunited with Jamie Spencer and a warm favourite for his return to action, I think he’s vulnerable given he’s up against race-fit rivals and the form of his debut success hasn’t worked out at all with the second, third and fourth all beaten since off marks of 77, 81 and 78.
So preference, therefore, goes in the direction of the Ed Walker-trained MATTHEW FLINDERS (7/2) held in high esteem by connections. An unfortunate third on debut when denied a clear run down the home straight, this good-looking, well-balanced individual comfortably made amends at Doncaster last time out when beating two decent racehorses. That form has a much stronger substance to it compared to what Brentford Hope achieved on debut along with being race-fit. With that being said, I’m happy to support his 7/2 current odds and side with him here based on the fact he’s an exciting prospect going forward for connections and Luke Morris has been booked to ride.
ROYAL COMMANDO (13.55 York, 0.5pt each-way @13/2)
This is competitive as not a lot separates those towards the front of the market. Having said that, I think ROYAL COMMANDO (13/2) has been located as an ideal opportunity to get on the scoresheet. His only blip in his career to date was when finishing down the field in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes over seven furlongs on soft ground. That was his first try over that distance while taking into account he was up against the likes of Pinatubo - so without question. you can easily forgive him for that outing.
His eighth in last year's Group 2 Richmond Stakes should be acknowledged given he wasn’t beaten far (just behind Symbolize) considering he energy unseated his rider coming out of the gates. His fourth in another Group 2 last season has been advertised by the fifth horse (Malutro) running well to finish third in a top-level event last week in France. But arguably his career-best performance was in the Commonwealth Cup last time out at Royal Ascot, finishing a close-up fourth of 16 runners - just a head behind Ventura Rebel.
Considering Royal Commando was sent off 250/1 with no expectations of exceeding those odds, he certainly did just that and even more praise should be given to him given it was his first run of the season in comparison to the third horse and winner who were already race-fit. That run will have taken the freshness out of him while this race displays a significant drop down in grade. Furthermore, being the joint top-rated at 107 alongside Ventura Rebel but with a run under his belt this time, I’m hopeful he will reverse the form and go close to winning this at a best price of 5/1 which I was quite surprised about given I thought he would be much shorter.
DANZENO (14.30 York, 0.5pt each-way @8/1)
Another fiercely-competitive handicap on York’s card, but the class-act in the race and top-weight DANZENO (8/1) has an excellent each-way chance with Adam Kirby booked to ride at a best price 8/1 at the time of writing. He is arguably better than this grade hence why he has to concede weight all around. Michael Appleby’s veteran loves it around York with form figures over C&D reading 9, 3, 2, 3, 2 and 3. The last two performances at this track have been at this level off this exact mark and also in listed company.
His reappearance in the Wokingham Stakes was eye-catching to say the least - finishing an encouraging ninth of 22 runners off top-weight 9-10. He actually led the whole field in the final couple of furlongs and was only headed inside the final 150 yards, losing multiple places in the process. Admittedly - Danzeno needed that outing so he did sufficiently well to finish as close he did that day. With fitness assured for today’s assignment along with being off a slightly reduced mark (1lb lower), from my point of view, he is sure to be thereabouts and gets a speculative each-way vote.
LAST EMPIRE (15.05 York, 0.5pt each-way @14/1)
SHADES OF BLUE (15.05 York, 0.5pt each-way @16/1)
I am happy to go double-handed in the Summer Fillies’ Stakes as I am quietly confident we have the winner. LAST EMPIRE (14/1) was progressive last year until flopping on his final start. It is possible his earlier excursions had taken their toll having run four times in four separate months. I thought she was a shade unfortunate to not finish in the frame on seasonal debut when sixth behind the classy Liberty Beach at Haydock. She looked to be coming with a strong-effort only to be denied a clear run inside the final two furlongs. When she finally saw daylight which was in the final 150 yards, Kevin Ryan’s filly motored home to be nearest the finish beaten just over one length. Admittedly - she is in a higher-grade race here, but the mere fact is that she will have come on loads for that reappearance, and providing she gets a clear run, I am optimistic of her getting a perfect lead into the race before pouncing late on the scene.
The other one I really fear is the Clive Cox-trained SHADES OF BLUE (16/1) who was runner-up in this race twelve months ago when beaten just a neck. She also was beaten just a neck in a Group 3 over in France last year behind Glass Slippers which is pretty useful form. This likeable filly ran a nice race to finish sixth on her reappearance last time out behind some decent horses when sent off favourite and that run should have put her spot on for today’s race. I think connections have clearly targeted her at this race again, and I find it fascinating that Adam Kirby comes here to ride her instead of going to ride the promising Get It who runs at York. Therefore, I can envisage a big run from Shades Of Blue, who has the form in the book to win a race like this, and she rightfully deserves to do that having hit the woodwork on so many occasions.
SUCELLUS (15.35 York, 0.5pt each-way @18/1)
(Odds are with most bookmakers paying 5 places)
Once more, plenty are within a shout in this closely-matched handicap and it could be worth taking a chance with SUCELLUS (18/1) who has been on my radar since Royal Ascot. He competed in the Investec Handicap at Epsom a couple of weeks ago and ran better than the finishing position indicated. Ultimately, he could never land a blow on those towards the front having been held-up at the rear of the field. However, I liked how he travelled that day and probably would have placed with a clear run and ridden closer to the pace.
I don’t think the drop back in trip will inconvenience him at all, if anything, it should benefit him. It has to come to some relief to see the handicapper dropping him a pound from that latest eye-catching display along with the ease in grade. Ben Curtis is back in the saddle and I can envisage the high draw in stall 19 playing a major supporting role to his chances. Clearly, this is still an ultra-competitive race, but this unexposed four-year-old has a touch of class and is well worth considering at double-digits.
RIDENZA (16.15 Curragh, 1pt each-way @8/1)
I am surprised to see RIDENZA (8/1 NAP) available at such a big price as I had her firmly in my tracker after a promising return to action when finishing third in a Group 3. She raced a little too exuberantly in the early stages, but travelled smoothly into the race, and it looked as though she would go and win her race to be honest. However, her passage wasn’t the clearest down the home straight which didn’t help matters, but she kept on nicely all the way to the finish without being given a hard time of things by her rider leaving plenty of optimism going forward. We must remember this beautifully-bred filly comfortably dispatched Lemista on debut so I I can’t quite believe this filly is 8/1 compared to the latter mentioned who is 15/8. Looking at this race from a form perspective, I know where the value lies, and it is definitely with Ridenza who clearly has an outstanding each-way chance.
SO I TOLD YOU (16.30 Newbury, 0.5pt win @10/1)
DUBIOUS AFFAIR (16.30 Newbury, 1.5pt win @5/2)
A compact field assembled for this valuable fillies’ contest. Although given a lofty mark of 90, it might be worth having a saver bet on the Richard Hughes-trained SO I TOLD YOU (10/1) who has been highly tried this season in the Lingfield Oaks Trial and the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes. She has yet to prove herself over extra emphasis on stamina, but connections obviously feel she will stay without hesitation, and if she runs to anywhere near her mark (90) which is the highest in the race, then surely she’s overpriced, especially knowing she will get weight from her market rival participants.
I am also very sweet on the chances of the vastly-improving, four-year-old DUBIOUS AFFAIR (5/2) - who is my strongest bet in the race with slightly raised stakes advised. She seeks her fourth-straight success and bids to make it 3-3 for current trainer Charlie Fellowes in this much-deeper race. The one key asset in her inventory compared to the majority of her rivals is that she is proven over a longer trip than today’s having won both her last races over 1m6f comfortably. I have no doubt she will be capable of making an impact at this level as I envisage her being switched off at the back of the field before Stevie Donohoe let’s her roll inside the final furlongs and her proven turn of foot can hopefully prove decisive as she attempts to maintain her fine winning-sequence.
DUNE OF PILAT (16.45 Curragh, 0.5pt each-way @6/1)
This decent handicap has plenty of substance with a variety of potentially above-average three-year-olds coming to the fore. Having said that, I’m quite attached to Joseph O’Brien’s unexposed DUNE OF PILAT (6/1) who comes into the race with the perfect-looking profile. He was last seen easily accounting weak rivals at Southwell. His opening mark here demands more, but he’s going the right way and has all the potential to be a very bright prospect for connections having won his last two races smoothly albeit at a lower level.