Action from three different tracks this afternoon, with the meeting at Newbury the main event.
Feature race on their card is the Unibet Hungerford Stakes at 3.35, which has a field of 7, including last year’s winner Sir Dancealot, which is following an identical route as last season by winning the Lennox at Glorious Goodwood, beating the re-opposing Hey Gaman by a length.
The 3lb penalty means that Hey Gaman is that much better off today, but we think they will both be beaten by John Quinn‘s big improver Safe Voyage.
This 6-y-o has been a surprise success this season, winning its first three races, including the Group 3 John Of Gaunt Stakes at Haydock. The key seems to be soft ground, which it gets this afternoon and will be more suitable than for its latest run when a strong finishing third in the Group 2 Minstrel Stakes at The Curragh, behind Romanised, which has gone on to pouch a French Group 1. Has half a length to make up on the aforementioned Hey Gaman but, with more cut today, we have to be confident. Have a decent bet at 5-2.
Coverage starts with the Listed Denford Stakes at 1.50 and in the absence of the forecast hot favourite, we have no hesitation in going for Richard Hannon‘s colt Sun Power, which is available at 6-4.
Fourth to the mighty Pinatubo and then a close second to Al Dabaran, both in Ascot Listed events is the strongest form on offer and SDS should get him home.
The Unibet Geoffrey Freer Stakes at 2.25 has Andrew Balding‘s Morando installed as 11-8 favourite and on ratings, this 6-y-o is nicely clear. However, its last three runs have been somewhat underwhelming and with potential improvers lining up against it we give this race the swerve.
The Unibet Handicap at 3.00 has a field of seven and we recommend a bet on George William, trained by Ed Walker. Gradually regaining the form of its exploits with previous trainer Richard Hannon, GW is now off a really good mark and should be backed at 11-4.
Over at Ripon the cameras are covering the William Hill Great St Wilfrid Handicap and the consolation version the William Hill Silver Trophy, both of which have just 19 runners charging down the straight six furlongs – deep joy.
Statistics tell us that the place you don’t want to be in these races is anywhere in the middle of the track, so it makes sense to pick one from each side of the draw and hope for the best.
If handicapping in these sprints means anything (doubtful) then Muscika is the one to be on in the main event at 3.15 and Lahore would be the one on the other side. Each way bets at 14-1 and 8-1 are advised.
The consolation at 2.05 sees our pin land on Lucky Lucky Man at 12-1 and Flying Pursuit at 8-1, so that’s what we’ll do.
Just one race is on t’telly at Newmarket at 2.45, which is the annual renewal of the Unibet Grey Horse Handicap, with, ho ho, exactly 16 ghostly animals standing their ground.
Second in this race last year was Glenn Coco and we take this one to go one better today. The slightly higher rating caused by this season’s improvement is offset by the booking of Mad Italian Mark 2 by the name of Marco Ghiani, who takes off a valuable half stone. He has a long, long way to go to emulate Mark 1 but he can ride a bit, folks, so at 8-1 an each way punt is suggested.
Let’s hope for a flying dismount, eh?
Safe Voyage 3.35 Newbury 6pts win @ 5-2
Sun Power 1.50 Newbury 4pts win @ 6-4
George William 3.00 Newbury 2pts win @ 11-4
Muscika 3.15 Ripon 0.5pts e/w @ 14-1 (6 places)
Lahore 3.15 Ripon 0.5pts e/w @ 8-1
Lucky Lucky Man 2.05 Ripon 1pt e/w @ 12-1 (5 places)
Flying Pursuit 2.05 Ripon 0.5pts e/w @ 8-1 (5 places)
Glenn Coco 2.45 Newmarket 1pt e/w @ 8-1 (5 places)