HORSE RACING: With leading pundit Charlie McCann. This week the former Talksport tipster picks out potential winners at Haydock, Newmarket and Ascot, including the Shergar Cup Team Event.
The Beeb have ditched the Shergar Cup so those of us wanting to watch racings major team event must tune in to ATR for this afternoon’s sport. Andy Balding’s Opera Gal (2.45) lost nothing behind a typical Mark Johnston improver last time and the Middleham trainer saddles four of today’s opposition.
I am not too familiar with jockey Umberto Rispoli who has shot to prominence in his native Italy in recent years breaking Gianfraco Dettori’s (Frankie’s dad) record of 239 winners in a season last year. That record had stood since 1982 but Rispoli will not have the opportunity to ride alongside Dettori Jnr as Frankie has been booked to ride for Godolphin at Newmarket.
There is likely to be plenty of pace in the race which ought to suit Opera Gal who has only been raised 1lb for her latest effort over today’s C&D.
Set The Trend (3.20) wasn’t given the best of rides at Sandown last time, albeit from a poor draw, but he looks sure to go close for Aussie jockey Luke Nolan who will be riding in Britain for the first time this afternoon (as will his Rest Of The World teammates Anton Marcus and Yasunari Iwata). Nolan has won 6 Gp 1 races in Australia this year and he is considered a rare talent.
Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton has been sporting a funny moustache in recent weeks to try and improve dressing room morale at St James’s Park…you couldn’t make it up. Anyway his filly Crying Lightening (2.35 Newmarket) runs in the Sweet Solera Stakes having got going when it was all too late at Sandown last time; she ran well at Royal Ascot on her penultimate start and is taken to build on that effort.
The nap of the weekend is Vibrant Force (4.20 New) for Godolphin, and Frankie Dettori, who created such a favourable impression when finishing runner up at Leicester on debut behind a Michael Jarvis talking horse. Given normal progression he ought to be hard to beat.
Plymouth Rock (4.55 New) just failed to catch Lady Éclair at Haydock last time but that form has been franked and he ought to be supported stepping up to 2m for the first time with Tom Queally taking over. He holds an entry for the Ebor at York later in the month and a small penalty wouldn’t harm as he is only due to carry 8st 2lbs at present.
Haydock’s opener is a cracker with 4 of the 6 runners’ winners last time out and the other pair beaten favourites. All will have their supporters but the lightly-raced Regal Park (1.50) will appreciate the forecast cut in the ground and gets the vote.
The mare Les Fassani (2.50) will appreciate the return to 10f having run well behind Barshiba over 12f last time. She is penalised for an early listed success but she will love the ground and is a sporting selection.