HORSE RACING: With leading pundit Charlie McCann. This week the former Talksport tipster picks out potential winners at York, Leicester and Lingfield and has a little look ahead to Royal Ascot.
England’s opening game of the 2010 World Cup casts a shadow over this weekend’s racing with the C4 cameras alternating between York and Sandown. Antigua Sunrise (2.05) caught a tartar in the shape of Just Lille at Musselburgh last weekend but that form has already been franked by the winner’s smooth success in a valuable race at Hamilton midweek. Her draw in stall 10 could have been better but her inexperienced jockey rode a winner in a similar event at Newmarket on Sunday and she ought to go close. Nina Carberry travels over from Ireland to partner Spirit Is Needed but it will take all of Nina’s considerable skills to get Spirit Is Needed competitive from stall 17.
Jeremy Noseda has been amongst the winners during the week and Rebel Soldier will be difficult to beat stepped up to 10f for the first time with Frankie Dettori taking the ride for the first time. Marginal preference, however, is for Thaahira (3.50) who was well beaten behind subsequent Oaks winner Snow Fairy at Goodwood last time; this represents a significant drop in grade and she can confirm Chester running with Cultivar this afternoon.
Arabian Pearl (6.00) bounced back to form last time and she is taken to follow up off a 7lb higher mark back at Leicester this evening. The talented Jack Mitchell keeps the ride on Peter Chapple-Hyam’s filly who has most to fear from Oh So Saucy who made an encouraging reappearance at Lingfield last month.
In Lingfield’s opener Days Of Summer has hardly been overfaced on her racecourse debut and would be worth a second glance in the market. The stable are not known for juvenile winners first-time-out, however, and their star filly Ceilidh House was reported to have come out of the Oaks with a temperature. Never Can Stop (5.50) failed to build on her Nottingham debut at Bath last time but dropped back to the minimum trip she can fulfill the promise of her first start and make it third time lucky.
Andy Balding and Jimmy Fortune gave us a winning nap in the lucky last at Lingfield seven days ago and let’s hope lightning strikes twice as the pair team up with Kakatosi (8.20) tonight.
Next week sees Royal Ascot the greatest flat-meeting in the world with five days of top quality action beginning with three successive Group 1 events on Tuesday. The Queen Anne starts the ball rolling at 2.30 where the French wonder filly Goldikova locks horns with Lockinge Stakes winner Paco Boy and the 2009 Sussex Stakes and QE II winner Rip Van Winkle. Goldikova recives 3lbs from her rivals and looked as good as ever on her reappearance (beaten first time out last two seasons). As long as the ground is no softer than good she can give the Head family another big race winner in Britain.
Nap of Royal Ascot: Mawatheeq (whatever engagement 3.50 Wed or 3.05 Friday)