HORSE RACING: With leading pundit Charlie McCann. This week the former Talksport tipster picks out potential winners at Ascot and York, including the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
The last three-year-old to win Saturday’s feature the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes was Alamshar back in 2003, but impressive Derby winner Workforce (4.25 Ascot) is taken to buck that trend in what promises to be one of the races of the season. The selection has only raced three times and in recording the fastest ever time for the Epsom classic he looked a potential superstar. The Derby form has taken a few knocks in recent weeks, but Workforce is taken to reverse early season form with subsequent Irish Derby winner Cape Blanco who missed Epsom for the French Derby where he finished down the field.
Cape Blanco bounced back to his best when giving Aidan O’Brien a fifth successive win in the Irish Derby at the Curragh last time, but that performance was not as visually impressive as that of Workforce who is bidding to give Sir Michael Stoute a fifth win in the King George. Harbinger looks the best of the older horses and he turned the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot into a procession last time. This is the first time Harbinger has been asked to race in Group 1 company and this is his acid test giving weight to a pair of Classic winners. Ryan Moore has, unsurprisingly, stayed loyal to Workforce and Olivier Peslier will take over on Harbinger; Workforce is a confident selection. StanJames.com make Workforce the 3/1 favourite for the Arc de Triomphe which is sure to be the horse’s end-of-season target. Connections of French filly Daryakana believe she is a better horse going right-handed and Ascot should suit her down to the ground; she adds spice to what is a quality renewal despite the low turnout.
Cape Blanco 11/2
Dar Re Mi 16
It will be disappointing if Margot Did (2.40) cannot return to winning ways in the Princess Margaret Stakes. Michael Bell’s filly went down by a head in the Albany Stakes last time to Memory who followed up in the Cherry Hinton at Newmarket last week. Margot Did is currently 25/1 for the 2011 1000 Guineas with StanJames.com and that price could look attractive if she impresses this afternoon.
The big betting race of the day is the International Stakes over 7f and at the time of writing we are betting 6/1 the field with the progressive three-year-old Yaa Wayl at the head of the market. Note only three of the last ten winners of the race have been returned in single figures in this hot handicap. Himalaya (3.50) carries plenty of weight but he didn’t have the race run to suit last time and is the ew recommendation.
The Channel 4 cameras are at York and Monitor Closely (3.05) makes a belated seasonal debut on the track where he gained his biggest win to date in last year’s Gt Voltigeur. Today’s trip of 10f is on the sharp side and he may need the run but he is a fascinating runner having changed yards since his last start when looking a non stayer in last September’s St Leger.
Antigua Sunrise (2.30) chased too fast a pace and failed to stay over an additional quarter of a mile last time and she looks sure to appreciate the drop back in trip in the 10f fillies’ handicap. Paul Hanagan who was disappointingly overlooked for the ride on Harbinger at Ascot takes the ride on the Knavesmire and he can stretch his lead at the top of the jockeys table.