Sunday Betting Tips: York and Ascot
Here are today’s selections including a 12/1 each-way nap. Best of luck.
OTI MA BOATI (13.00 York, 0.5pt each-way @8/1)
OTI MA BOATI won her first three starts last summer when trained by Richard Fahey which evidently caught William Haggas’s eye hence why the masterful handler paid a huge amount for her to join his yard. She was well-supported on stable debut in a class 2 nursery race at York but looked in need of a step up in trip when only keeping on to finish seventh of 20 runners. Having said that, she does have a bit to prove all of a sudden having failed to sparkle on her final start last year.
Nevertheless, this race does represent a significant drop down in class and one can assume she is better than this grade based on her previous collateral form. It is hard to gauge whether she will need this after a 300+ day absence, but she won first time out previously, so fitness shouldn’t be of concern, therefore, I am going to take a chance on Oti Ma Boati each-way at 8/1 (general) despite the favourite Zezenia being her main chief threat.
SHE CAN BOOGIE (13.20 Ascot, 1pt win @9/2)
Indeed, I was disappointed the Tom Dascombe-trained filly SHE CAN BOOGIE failed to win at Pontefract three days ago. But having examined the race in closer detail, she stayed on again towards the backend of the race to not be beaten far having set up the race for the closers in behind. Despite not winning since May 2019, she is very well-treated here based on her close-up third in a class 2 event last year off a mark 90 behind two 90-rated racehorses.
I think connections were left frustrated that she couldn’t get back to winning ways earlier this week, but today’s race is a lot easier now dropping down into class 4 company off the exact same mark of 83 as last time out, and we must remember she has already recorded two victories formerly at class 2 and class 3 level. I can envisage her being ridden more conservatively today which should see her outclass this field at a decent-looking price.
MUBAALEGH (13.55 Ascot, 0.5pt each-way @14/1)
BOMB PROOF (13.55 Ascot, 0.5pt each-way @13/2)
An interesting angle to this highly-competitive race can be based around top-weight MUBAALEGH who has interestingly been handed a top-rating of 97 on his very first start in the UK. Marcus Tregoning’s six-year-old was a four-time winner when trained in France and was highly tried on several occasions in Stakes company without any success, albeit beaten only three lengths when last seen.
He makes his stable debut today at a decent level, which could well suggest he’s a very good sprint horse. I’m also inclined to believe connections have purposely saved him for this race for quite some time given his record first time out reads figures of 1, 1 and 1. This gives us clear indication he’s caught best fresh, and with Jim Crowley booked to ride, he rates an interesting candidate in a quite competitive heat.
Meanwhile, James Fanshawe’s BOMB PROOF shouldn’t be underestimated carrying an unbeaten record on handicap debut. He won with a ton in hand on debut at York on his sole start for Jeremy Noseda and it should be acknowledged that the form of that race has worked out nicely with the runner-up going on to finish fourth in a Group 1, the third horse has since won a Listed event rated 109 and some of those further down the list have also ran to a fair level to boost the form.
He was off the track for 405 days prior to making a winning return to action 33 days ago when conceding plenty of weight to the runner-up. The second has subsequently won, and although that horse is lower-rated in comparison to today’s opposition Bomb Proof will face, he still has to be seriously respected here with much more to come. If he was trained by one of the leading yard’s, it would be hard to argue he’d be much shorter in the market so I think he is well worth a chance.
PROTECTED GUEST (14.30 Ascot, 0.5pt each-way @33/1)
SAM COOKE (14.30 Ascot, 1pt win @7/2)
This looks competitive, but one horse who has been on my radar for sometime is PROTECTED GUEST who looks to have been totally dismissed by the layers judged on his current odds. His two runs this year off a mark 99 have been quite decent, out-performing odds of 33/1 and 50/1 on both occasions. The latest effort from the five-year-old saw him finish seventh of 14 runners in the Duke Of Cambridgeshire over 1m3f, where he did all of his best work in the final furlong.
He also went close over C&D last year when beaten just a neck under top-weight 9-12. In fact, Protected Guest was unlucky not to win that day having been bumped leaving the stalls and was held-up in last place, well off the pace compared to eventual and more prominently ridden winner Francis Xavier. To his ultimate credit, the ground he made up down the home straight was worth a good deal of praise.
He clearly likes this track and has dropped 1lb since last time out with conditions likely to be in his favour. Furthermore, the yard has been going well since racing resumed so that speaks well of Margason’s only runner on today’s card. I just think he has an ideal set-up here, and providing he doesn’t endure a troubled passage on this occasion, so he will do it for me at 33/1 or bigger in places.
The other one I want on side is the Ralph Beckett-trained SAM COOKE. Harry Bentley has opted to come here to ride him instead of riding at the Berkshire venue which could prove significant. The four-year-old has a likeable profile coming into the race having won twice and finished no worse then second on his first four starts before an encouraging return to action last time. His smooth turn of foot when winning at Chester’s May meeting on his only start last season identified him as a very talented individual. He had to overcome another absence most recently at Newmarket, for which he started favourite and having travelled stealthily well, he stayed on quite nicely while taking a good blow out.
That was his first attempt at 1m6f, so in theory, he was entitled to have got tired in the closing stages. But for that matter, he travelled like the best horse in the race and that run will have taken the freshness out of him. His capability to win on any ground will stand him in good stead here compared to a few others who look ground dependant. The drop back in trip to 1m3f should be no hardship, and if anything, it should actually suit him even better given his smooth-travelling style of running. A mark of 92 makes him extremely well-handicapped and I’m more than willing to take a piece of his 7/2 price tag.
GUNMETAL (14.45 York, 1pt each-way @12/1)
GEORGE BOWEN (14.45 York, 0.5pt win @7/1) (small stakes)
Once more, plenty are within a shout in this closely-matched handicap and it could be worth taking a chance with GUNMETAL (E/W NAP) at very generous odds. There is an element of risk attached of course with his form being very patchy for quite sometime. Having said that, I feel as though connections have long-targeted him at this race this season and looking at previous runs of this race, those who are handed stall 1 have an outstanding record in recent years. Clearly, Gunmetal is extremely well-handicapped here and is seen to best effect when racing prominently.
Even though he hasn’t won since 2018, his last win was off a mark of 97 at this level when making all the running to beat last year’s winner of this race Dakota Gold very comfortably. Not only that, but he also won another race the same year off a mark of 93. Ultimately, Gunmetal charged up the handicap as a result of those performances meaning he raced through the majority of 2019 off marks 100+ in some of the major-sprint races that season. He shaped with plenty of credit each time, including when sixth in the Wokingham Stakes at Royal Ascot off a mark of 103 before almost capitalising off a reduced mark of 98 carrying top-weight when second at Ripon.
His three runs this year have shown that he’s on the way back to that form without the bare result telling the full story. His recent eighth of 16 when sent to the Curragh another step back in the right direction, and the handicapper has given him a right chance of winning going close in today’s race off 3lb lower. Effectively, he’s 8lb below his last winning mark with Ben Curtis back aboard him which is a strong positive. Gunmetal has finished ahead of most of this field before when worst off at the weights and they favour him today.
I strongly suspect Ben Curtis will send him forward as soon as the gates open, and the rail will be a huge advantage being on the favourable side of this track. So with all that has been mentioned with proven course form, winning form off tougher marks, a more than favourable low-draw along with AW champion Ben Curtis on his back, I just think he has been located an excellent opportunity to be highly-competitive. If granted an easy time of things on the front end, there’s a strong chance of him collecting this prize, especially knowing he’s capitalised off higher marks before.
GEORGE BOWEN is tied in closely with most of the opposition and although not the most consistent, he’s lurking on a dangerous mark of 86 having been rated as high as 107 in the past. He’s a former C&D winner off a 2lb higher mark and bounced back to form when second behind the 105-rated Summerghand at Pontefract last time. That form reads very well on a line through a few of his market rivals and a repeat performance might well suffice here. The favourite obviously makes appeal but I think these two selections are the best value in the race by some margin.
BILLESDON BROOK (15.05 Ascot, 1.5pt win @11/4)
I am very surprised BILLESDON BROOK isn’t odds-on for this race because her form is head and shoulders above this field. She brings top-class form to the table being a dual Group 1 winner. She won the 1,000 Guineas back in 2018 and proved that success to be no fluke when a commanding winner of the Sun Chariot Stakes in 2019. Richard Hannon’s filly is consistent and has gone close to winning the last twice behind Nazeef, including when just touched off by that same rival in another Group 1 back at Newmarket last time out - running up to her 116 mark.
Clearly, her best form has come at HQ but this high-class filly does have form elsewhere given she’s won two Group 3’s at Goodwood and was fourth in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes over C&D back in 2018. To add further spice, the admirable five-year-old is top rated at 115 - officially putting her 7lb clear of her nearest rival. Her form figures over 7f has recorded plenty of victories (high strike-rate) and she’s the class-act in the field. She wouldn’t even need to run to her mark to win this race, therefore, she’s very hard to oppose especially with the Richard Hannon team in red-hot form.
SANTOSHA (15.40 Ascot, 1pt win @4/1)
You can obviously see the case for the favourite More Beautiful being Aidan O'Brien's only runner on the card who made a sparkling debut. She was one of the well-backed favourites at Royal Ascot but fluffed her lines when only managing ninth. Today’s step up in trip should suit better and she rates the most likeliest of winners, but I think she represents poor value at the prices. Therefore, preference swings in favour of SANTOSHA who would arguably be favourite for this race if trained by one of the bigger yard’s. Initially, she sprung a 50/1 shock on debut, but won easily by nearly two lengths despite racing green showing herself to be a more than useful filly for connections.
Once again, she was sent off 50/1 last time out in a Group 2 without hope of exceeding those expectations, but she proved her debut success was true-form, finishing a creditable close-up third behind Dandalla and Fev Rover. In fact, she was the last horse off the bridle in comparison to her rivals that day, travelling very smoothly before keeping on stoutly all the way to the line to be beaten half-a-length. That form has been well-advertised by the runner-up subsequently winning a competitive race this week. Rightfully, Santosha will start at shorter odds today, and if she’s able to confirm that form from last time, I think she will go very close to winning today’s race given she’s achieved the best form over the six furlongs.