It is not all about the Classic racing on both sides of the pond over the course of Saturday, there are plenty of other meetings holding races as well. In England, the pick is the Qipco 2000 Guineas which we have previewed here, but there is a decent card at Thirsk too.
The highlight of that card is the Hunt Cup handicap and on a day where there is a lot of action to get stuck into, we are going to add a couple of selections from that race to our selection in the big race at HQ.
Thirsk’s big race of the season, the Hunt Cup Handicap over the turning mile sees a strong field turn up with the Spring Cup winner Nugget & Spring Mile runner up Acquitted amongst the front 3 in the market. The former is in great form but has 5lbs extra to carry & should go well but with Ryan Moore otherwise engaged at Newmarket, it might be better to look elsewhere. The latter is a lightly raced horse but is best fresh & the time to back him has probably gone. Astro King is a typical improver for Stoute & the form of his Nottingham reappearance win is working out well. He’s 1lb worse off with Nugget for just over a length victory & whilst there’s more to come, he might not be quite as good with the bustle of a big field.
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There are 2 that stand out to me & I cannot leave either unbacked. Tom Collins has mixed form but judged on his win at Pontefract at the back end of last season, he could prove to be much ahead of his mark. He came clear with Dashing Roger that day & won by a neck but the runner up won next time out by almost 5 lengths off a 4lb higher mark. That would suggest that the 5lbs extra this horse has to carry won’t be an issue. Add to that, as a 2 year old, he won a novice race with the 3rd that day, almost 3 lengths back, being a certain Al Aasy who’s rated a lofty 115. With my selection off just 85 here, he could prove to be way ahead of his mark. He’s been gelded over the winter & has been bought out of Elsworth’s yard for 100,000gns. At one of the shrewdest yards around, he’s extremely likely to be involved in the finish before heading to Royal Ascot.
Hartswood is from a yard in form & I’m shocked to find it is his yard’s only runner in the UK today. That’s almost a tip in itself but there’s more to recommend him. Last year, he finished 1st & 2nd in a pair of York handicaps in this grade before finding very heavy ground against him. However, he signed off with a closing 4th at Doncaster over an insufficient 7 furlongs & has been eased 1lb in the handicap for that. He won here as a 2 year old so has track form & the trainer has already stated he expects him to be competitive in the top handicaps this year which would suggest he expects him to be able to defy a mark of 95. With the yard going great guns & the jockey having a treble on Friday, there’s plenty in place for a big run at a nice each way price.
Back Tom Collins (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 8.00 William Hill BOG (⅕ odds 1-5)
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Back Hartswood (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 11.00 Betfair Sportsbook BOG (⅕ odds 1-5)
Back it here: