• Sat 3 Dec, 2016
  • 06:58 GMT
  • 02:58 ET (GMT-4)
  • 08:58 CET (GMT+2)

Charlie’s Weekend Whispers

Former Talksport man Charlie McCann picks out a host of potential winners at Newbury, including the Greenham Stakes, Ayr and Ripon.

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Having laid a bet of £550k to win half a million (10/11) on Frankel for the Qipco 2000 Guineas earlier in the week it would be fair to say that we have more than a passing interest in the colts’ reappearance in the Group 3 Greenham Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.

Unbeaten in four starts as a juvenile Henry Cecil’s three-year-old is now 4/6 for the Guineas but many of the yard’s 3-y-olds have failed to fire at Newmarket this week and, with impressive Royal Ascot winner Strong Suit in opposition, today will be a real test of his Classic credentials.

It is difficult to get away from Frankel (3.10) but he makes no appeal from a betting proposition. It is possible that he could lose today and still win the Guineas but Cecil will be keen to maintain his 100% record ahead of Guineas’ weekend at the end of the month.

Roger Charlton had a winner at Newmarket on Thursday and one of his leading owners Bjorn Nielsen has purchased Prix Morny third Pontenuovo (2.40) and she can land the fillies’ trial on her British debut. Stephane Pasquier who won a Gp 3 on the filly last year comes over for the ride and I suggest we take the hint.

The other feature race the John Porter looks a sub standard renewal with many of the principles unlikely to have the ground as soft as they would wish. Sir Michael Stoute’s Verdant (2.05) progressed nicely as a 3-y-o and he could improve past his more exposed rivals for a yard that does very well with its older horses.

World Domination (4.15) has yet to set foot on a racecourse but is only 20/1 with for the Derby as he has been the subject of very favourable homework on the Newmarket gallops. Another Cecil inmate he will have to win and win well if he is to take his place at Epsom (would run in the Dante at York en route) but he is likely to be a prohibitive price to make a winning start.

The big betting race of the day is the Scottish Grand National from Ayr and we will be betting ¼ odds first 5 in a race in which only eight of the 30-runners are in the handicap including Cheltenham Festival winner Chicago Grey who has a favourite’s chance for Irish raider Gordon Elliot.

Scottish Grand National EW first 5: prices from
Chicago Grey 5/1
Beshabar 13/2
Always Right 8/1
The Minack 9/1
Minella Four Star 11
Merigo 14/1
16s Bar.

Preference, however, is for Always Right (3.25) who did us a good turn when landing a gamble in the Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster last time. If his jumping holds up in the early stages he must go close although he won’t be played until the very last minute by jockey James Reveley who felt his mount idled when hitting the front last time.

The Alan King yard have always felt Franklino (1.50) was a better horse than he has shown on the track to date and he must go close in the opener for conditional jockeys.

Ballyvesey did me a favour at Ffos Las on Monday night and a 6lb penalty may not be enough to prevent him following up, but Humbie (5.05) won at Haydock last time despite being dropped to the minimum trip, will love the ground and would be a most popular local winner.

Sanctuaire (2.50) receives a stone from Mille Chief in the Scottish Champion Hurdle and although last season’s Cheltenham Festival winner has been bitterly disappointing so far this term he is taken to bounce back to form for Ruby Walsh and Paul Nicholls. He will appreciate the forecast good ground and a bigger danger could be Hunterview so impressive at the corresponding meeting last year.

There is a decent 2m handicap at Ripon and Montparnasse (3.00) is an interesting contender making his debut for Kevin Ryan. Bought for 45000 Gns at the Newmarket sales back in the autumn he is entered in the Chester Cup and connections will be keen to get a penalty which will give him a better chance of getting into the race.

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Charlie

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