• Wed 26 Oct, 2016
  • 01:32 BST
  • 21:32 EST (BST-4)
  • 03:32 CEST (BST+2)

Alex Hammond’s Saturday Tips


Alex Hammond’s Tip of the Day: Sky Sports’ Alex marks your card for the TV races at Newbury, Newmarket and York. Skybet £10 Risk Free Bet | Saturday Selections

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The July Cup: 15:20 Newmarket Live On Channel 4
The ground is expected to ride on the soft side of good but there are discrepancies in the various forecasts, so it’s hard to say how testing the ground could be. That hasn’t stopped Richard Hannon supplementing Strong Suit for the July Cup, despite the colt preferring faster ground than he’s likely to encounter at HQ.

Hannon says he will be fine on good ground so he’ll be hoping some of the heavy showers hovering around the area miss the course. If it is on the soft side it won’t suit Bated Breath, second in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, and he isn’t a certain runner, but if the ground were to be decent he is the obvious choice for his in-form trainer Roger Charlton.

Ortensia is a horse I liked in the King’s Stand, but she was disappointing there, but she has galloped on the July course this week and took to the track well so hopefully she can run a better race. I also like Society Rock, who was unlucky in the Diamond Jubilee when he missed the break and couldn’t get into the race.

He eventually finished fifth behind Black Caviar and his trainer James Fanshawe was really disappointed. Ryan Moore has come in for the ride and I think they could get some compensation. He does seem to save his best for Ascot but I’m with him here with the former champ on board.

The Bunbury Cup: 14:40 Newmarket Live On Channel 4
The Bunbury Cup gives us plenty to mull over at Newmarket. The seven-furlong handicap is ultra-competitive, although it seems leading ante-post fancy Cape Classic will miss the race for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, he needs 15 horses above him in the weights to come out in order to get in the race, and secondly, he doesn’t like cut in the ground. With that in mind, I like the look of Jamesie and Excellent Guest.

The former has the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood as his main target, but his trainer David Marnane could run him here first. He ran well to be second in the Buckingham Palace at Royal Ascot (first in his group) and is just three pounds higher in the ratings here.

Excellent Guest ##Non Runner## is coming here off the back of a good effort at Royal Ascot. George Margarson’s five-year-old was beaten by half a length by Prince of Johanne in the Hunt Cup, but will suit the drop back to seven furlongs here and was second in this race in 2011.

The John Smith’s Cup Cup: 15:00 York Live On Channel 4
At York there is another red-hot handicap, the John Smith’s Cup over a mile and a quarter; the draw is quite important here as you don’t want to be drawn too high. At the time of writing the final declarations hadn’t been made, but I’d avoid horses drawn very high when we know who is coming out of which stall.

Luca Cumani is always a trainer to respect in these big handicaps although he is yet to win this. He has Danadana and Kirthill and both have chances. The soft ground wouldn’t suit the former, though, and he won’t run if it’s too soft.

Kirthill ran well enough in the Wolferton Handicap at Royal Ascot, but the horse who finished third in that is favourite for this. Mijhaar ran too keenly at Ascot but if he can settle he has a very good chance for trainer Roger Varian.

Area Fifty One is a horse I like if he gets a decent draw. There is no better trainer at York than Richard Fahey and this horse won nicely in a mile and a quarter handicap at Newmarket last time out.

Although that was faster ground, he seems effective on softer, so hopefully conditions will be fine for him. He is still improving and is at the top of his game. Media Hype is another horse I have on my shortlist, especially if the ground is softish on Saturday.

Elaine Burke trains this horse who was unsuited by faster ground at Newmarket behind Area Fifty One. He needs three horses to come out above him when the declarations are made, but I’d be hopeful that that’s the case.

Saturday Selections:
Society Rock in the July Cup: 15:20 Newmarket @ 10/3 with Skybet
Area Fifty One in the John Smith’s Cup @: 15:00 at York 7/1 with Skybet (on good ground or faster)
Media Hype in the John Smith’s Cup: 15:00 at York @ 13/2 with Skybet (on ground softer than good)

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