Another big weekend in the racing world begins early on Thursday as there are two quality meetings taking place. Last weekend it was the Derby meeting and this weekend it is the July Cup and before then the condensed Dante meeting at York on a great day of racing.
There is also an afternoon meeting at Navan over in Ireland as well as evening racing at Chepstow but it is the two main cards where our bets come from on Thursday, although not necessarily in the big races on them.
Onto the July course for an excellent 3 days at HQ where 12 runners contest this 6 furlong Class 2 handicap. Nahaarr is a short priced favourite based on his 3rd in the Silver Wokingham off a 1lb lower mark whilst Highland Dress, 8th in the Wokingham, is 2nd favourite. He had no obvious excuses & maybe that’s as good as he is off this revised mark (6lbs higher than his previous win). Chairmanoftheboard won at Windsor 2 starts ago but failed to back it up off 6lbs higher & is up in grade here.
Instead, Woven is the selection off the back of his 6th in the Silver Wokingham. Whilst he was behind Nahaarr, there are reasons to suggest he’ll turn the tables here. First up, he is 2lbs better off for a beating of a length and a half but, of more interest, was their track position. Nahaar got the dream run on the favoured nearside rail whilst our selection was stuck out in the middle of the track. Add to that a track absence of over 4 months & with Simcock’s runners coming on for a run, I’m quite confident Woven will improve a bundle today.
Previous to Ascot, he won at Meydan off a 1lb lower mark & last season as a 3 year old, he was placed 4 times from 7 starts but was winless. That preserved his mark however & he looks well handicapped this year. 12 months ago, he was 3rd over course & distance at this meeting, finishing just behind Oxted who’s due to run in Saturday’s Group 1 July Cup. Provided the ground remains good or softer, he’ll go well at a price.
Back Woven (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 9.50 William Hill (1/5 odds 1-4)
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A mile and a half await 12 handicapper’s in this Class 3 contest. There’s a really strong favourite in Fox Vardy who absolutely hacked up by 14 lengths at Newmarket last time out. Taken literally, he’s a good thing here but I actually think a 9lb higher mark & a rise in grade could stop him at a very different track. Sandret is the second favourite but only managed to finish 7th last time out at Ayr behind Nicholas T.
In front of Sandret in that Ayr race was Dark Lochnagar & he’s the selection here. He finished 4th that day but should improve for the run & for this extra quarter of a mile. He races off a mark of 87 here and that’s well within range. As a 3 year old, he won off a mark of 81 but placed off 86 & 87 (twice).
There are 2 key positives to his chances, the first is the jockey booking. Shane Gray has ridden him 7 times, winning 1 & placing a further 4 times whilst in the 7 runs without Gray on top, the horse won once & was unplaced the other 6 times. With quite a bit of rain around, his chances would be enhanced if we get some soft in the going description. That has happened 6 times in his career & the form reads 151322. If the deluge comes, he’s sure to go well with the jockey booking, trip & mark all favourable.
Back Dark Lochnagar (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 15.00 Bet365 BOG (1/4 odds 1-3)