The term ‘Super Saturday’ gets trotted out most weekends these days but for the sport of racing that is exactly what we have this Saturday when some of the great horses of this time take to the track for a special day of racing.
They race at York, Ascot, Doncaster and Newmarket over the course of what should be a cracking afternoon and evening on Saturday. We’ve scoured all the cards and although we’re leaving the King George VI, the feature race, alone, we’ve found three bets at York and two more at Ascot.
A big field of 17 head to the start for this Class 4 handicap over the 7 furlongs on the Knavesmire. The favourite Prompting is currently quoted at around 2/1 which seems rather short to me. He did win on his first start for the yard, is up 8lbs in the weights & there’s sure to be more to come but I can’t have him at the current odds. Ulshaw Bridge returned to form last Sunday here at York, finishing 4th of 17 and goes again here off the same mark. Shady McCoy won off 6lb lower last time out on rain softened ground but he’s now a 10 year old & it’s hard to see him following up.
Parys Mountain is the first of 2 bets. A winner of 5 of his 44 starts, this 6 year old is a course winner whose prominent racing style is well suited to this front runners track. The fact he doesn’t look to have much competition for the lead only enhances his chances. In 14 starts last year, he won once and was placed once, those 2 runs off a mark of 77. The majority of his unplaced runs were off marks in the 80s & it’s clear he has a ceiling. Off 75 today, he holds solid claims especially given he was 3rd of 14 two starts back off this mark. His run at Beverley last time out can be ignored as he went off far too quoc & faded when meeting the uphill finish.
At an even bigger price, I cannot leave Amplification unbacked. He’s still lightly raced and is a winner of 2 of his career starts, his highest winning mark being 74. Today, he’s off 77 but given he’s been 2nd twice off marks of 78 and 80, he’s not handicapped out of this. On his 3 starts this year, he’s run poorly but has had excuses; mark too high, trip beyond him & slow to break last time out. The key to his chances though is the first time cheekpieces he’ll be sporting. His last win was when connections reached for first time blinkers & it brought about dramatic improvement. At the price, it’s worth chancing the cheekpieces have that same effect.
Back Parys Mountain (e/w) for a 0.75/10 stake at 15.00 Betfair Sportsbook BOG (⅕ odds 1-5)
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Back Amplification (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 29.00 BetVictor BOG (⅕ odds 1-5)
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The International Stakes is always a highly competitive Heritage handicap & this year is no exception with 20 runners over the straight 7 furlongs. At Royal Ascot, a high draw was advantageous but the pace here is low to middle so that should negate any bias. This isn’t a race to be taking a short price so I’m against the favourite Blue Mist. He looks sure to be over bet despite only finishing 9th in the Silver Wokingham but he did encounter a troubled run. Ebury, Eshaashy & Mutamaasik all ran good races here at the Royal meeting but I’m swayed towards the higher priced runners here. Blackheath was the last off the shortlist, leaving me with 2 bets.
Arbalet is the first of these & he was backed last Sunday when finishing 4th in a handicap up at York. I wrote the following before that race:
“He’s been seen 3 times since moving to the O’Meara yard over the winter & it’s worth noting the trainer does well with recruits from other yards. On his first start for the yard, he ran a cracker in a close 5th at Newmarket behind 2 horses who then went on to run very well in the Buckingham Palace at Royal Ascot.”
It’s worth noting he’s run in this race for the last 2 years. In 2018, he finished less than 1 length 3rd off 13lbs higher whilst he was only midfield last year but was 10lbs higher than today & was probably drawn out of it. He likes the track & has an eyecatching jockey booking in Andrea Atzeni.
The second bet is another who likes the track in Spanish City. He’s hard to win with, admittedly, but arrives here in good nick after finishing 3rd here in the Wokingham on reappearance & then 7th in the Bunbury Cup where he was drawn wide & got bumped at a crucial stage. That effort can be marked up. Off the same mark today, he now has a 5lb claimer on top which, when factored in, takes him 1lb below his last winning mark. His record at Ascot reads 66453 but given the field sizes, we’d have been paid out on each way terms every time. He looks a solid bet to be in the mix again today.
Back Arbalet (e/w) for a 0.75/10 stake at 17.00 William Hill BOG (⅕ odds 1-6)
Back Spanish City (e/w) for a 0.75/10 stake at 17.00 William Hill BOG (⅕ odds 1-6)
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Division 1 of this 6 furlong handicap over the straight track at York sees 14 go to post. It’s 6/1 the field so has a very open feel to it. Tukhoom is the likely favourite having won here last week at odds of 25/1 but now has a 6lbs higher mark to contend with. Abate has been in good form & Barry McHugh is back in the plate; he probably rates the biggest danger amongst the market principles.
At double figure odds, Ugo Gregory is the bet. He looks the yard’s 2nd string on jockey bookings but I don’t see it that way. He’s a 4 year old who’s won 2 from 14 starts on turf and, to me, looks ready to strike again. It took him 2 runs to get up to speed last year & he did it in good fashion, winning his next 2 off marks off 58 & 64. He races off 66 today but the mark is within range given he’s finished 434 in 3 of his 5 starts since, all off a mark of 68. He has blinkers on for the first time & that, along with the fact he should be spot on after his 2 runs to get up to speed, puts him firmly in the mix. Any rain will boost his chances.
Back Ugo Gregory (e/w) for a 0.75/10 stake at 13.00 Boylesports BOG (⅕ odds 1-4)
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A mile and a half awaits 12 runners in a Class 3 handicap. A pair of 3 year olds head the market, the first of those being Media Storm who’s seen the track just twice. Both starts were on the all-weather & he’s finished 1st & 2nd but his opening mark of 82 looks about right. Mascat finished 2nd on debut behind Group 1 winning Palace Pier & that’s arguably the best formline here. However, he’s not run up to that standard since & was only 4th of 6 on his last run off this mark.
The first of 2 bets is Frontispiece, a 6 year old now having his second start following wind surgery. He’s won 4 of his 14 starts including handicaps off 81, 82 & 85. He’s also finished 2nd twice off a mark off 88, and gets in here off 86. He was 2nd on reappearance behind Country at Newmarket where the front 3 pulled clear. Ryan Moore is in the saddle again & he has a good record on the horse, winning twice & finishing 2nd & 3rd on his other 2 rides. He looks a very solid each way bet.
I put up top weight Sandret last week before he was withdrawn so I see no reason to leave him out here. Here’s what I wrote then:
“He won 2 in novice company & has since progressed in handicaps. He finished a neck 2nd to a 99-rated handicapper when stepped up to a mile & then improved again when tried over a mile & a quarter, winning a stakes race on unfavourable terms. His reappearance run was good enough without being sparkling in a much better heat than this where the front 2 run in the John Smith’s Cup. He looked in need of the race that day & is taken to continue his record of showing improvement for another step up in trip.”
His hold up style should be suited to Ascot more than York & in an easier race than the one he was entered in last week, he looks a good each way bet.
VOID – Back Frontispiece (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 10.00 Betfred BOG (⅕ odds 1-4)
Back Sandret (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 15.00 William Hill BOG (⅕ odds 1-4)
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Division 2 of the earlier 6 furlong handicap sees 13 runners go to post here. Roundhay Park has run well in defeat on 3 occasions this year but has yet to trouble the judge and looks one to oppose for win purposes. Look Out Louis showed improved form last time out at Catterick & might now be on a winning mark but again is not one to put too much trust in.
Instead, I like the chances of Tabaahy. As an all weather specialist who’s never finished in the first 3 on turf, you’d be well within your rights to ask why. The answer is simple, he’s only begun to show anything in the last 9 months where he’s run 9 times on the sand, winning 3 of them. What makes him particularly interesting is his run when reverted to turf on Tuesday at Chepstow; he finished 6th of 8 but only a length behind the winner. After being outpaced, he began to mount his challenge & was bang in contention before being badly hampered, losing all chance in the process. The extra furlong here should be in his favour as should his lighter racing weight (last time he carried 10st2lbs). For this powerful yard, he’s taken to go close.
At a bigger price. I don’t want to leave out the very well handicapped Lucky Lucky Man for the Fahey yard. On the face of it, he has loads to prove but the handicapper has given him a massive chance. In 2018, he won off marks of 80 and 83, and then last year he was placed off 77, 78 and 84. He gets in here off just 73 and has 3lb claimer Connor Murtagh on board who gets on well with the horse. Given he’s a former Ayr Bronze Cup winner, is still only a 5 year old & races off his lowest mark since his 2 year old career, I’m prepared to have a small each way bet on him.
Back Tabaahy (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 9.00 William Hill BOG (⅕ odds 1-4)
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Back Lucky Lucky Man (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 17.00 Betfair BOG (⅕ odds 1-4)
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