Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Goodwood and York on Saturday. View selections below.
OPINION (3.50) is on an upward curve and looks sure to play a major role in the Betfred Ebor at York. Sir Michael Stoute’s colt was given a positive ride from Ryan Moore to stamp his authority over Stencive and co in the Duke Of Edinburgh Handicap over 1m 4f at Royal Ascot. Kieren Fallon came in for the ride when Opinion was well touted for the bet365 Old Newton Cup at Haydock but the former champion jockey endured a horrid passage, Opinion eventually running on strongly into fifth behind Star Lahib (Shergar Cup winner since). Moore returns to the saddle and it has paid to lie handy on the Knavesmire this week, so expect Opinion to go forward from a good berth in stall 5. Dangers abound, headed by Epsom winner Sheikhzayedroad, Caravan Rolls On (poorly drawn at Royal Ascot), course winner Sun Central and stout stayer Tiger Cliff.
The Melrose Handicap is restricted to three-year-olds over the 1m 6f Ebor trip and Moore has landed another plum ride on HAVANA COOLER (2.40), this time for Luca Cumani. Havana Cooler saw off Pether’s Moon at Newmarket, throwing down his challenge before the furlong pole, but Richard Hannon’s colt overturned that form at Glorious Goodwood. Van Percy was close up in fourth and finds himself 9lb better off, which throws him into the mix as well.
The juveniles have their day in the sun in the Group 2 Gimcrack and Aidan O’Brien relies on WILSHIRE BOULEVARD (3.15) from a strong pool of two-year-olds. After a slightly disappointing effort in the Windsor Castle Stakes over five furlongs at Royal Ascot (drawn wrong side), Wilshire Boulevard lowered the colours of better-fancied stablemate Oklahoma City in a Group 3 at the Curragh over today’s distance of six furlongs. Kevin Ryan always turns out speedy two-year-olds at York and course winner Astaire falls into that category.
It is with some reluctance that Sennockian Star is overlooked in the Betfred The Bonus King Handicap over 1m 2f as Mark Johnston’s gelding doesn’t know how to run a bad race. He led two out at Haydock, only to be reeled in by impressive Robin Hood’s Bay, but is shooting up the ratings. CHARLES CAMOIN (5.00) overcame a long absence to weave a passage through some congestion to land a competitive Ascot handicap from rock-solid Haylaman and Love Marmalade. The five-year-old is lightly raced and clearly hasn’t been easy to keep sound, but Sylvester Kirk’s gelding is up only 5lb, which is fair. Strictly Silver beat in-form Ningara at Newmarket and goes well for 5lb claimer Robert Tart.
At Goodwood, AFSARE (3.30) is difficult to ignore in the Betfair Celebration Mile. The Cumani-trained gelding has always been a very talented individual and stretched clear at Salisbury nine days ago to mop up a Group 3 by six lengths. Previously, Afsare went down by under a length to French star Mandour over a longer journey at Sandown, only giving way in the final 100 yards.
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