Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with seven to follow on Saturday at Ascot, Haydock and Newmarket. View selections below
No surprise to see Telescope (2.55) odds on for the Rose Of Lancaster Stakes at Haydock (4/6 with BetVictor) as he clocked a very fast time at Leicester last time, despite running against inferior opposition, and still could be a Group 1 horse for Sir Michael Stoute.
I expect him to win and win well today before he takes on Roger Charlton’s Al Kazeem at York later in the month. The latter was backed from 13/8 to 6/4 for the International Stakes on the Knavesmire, but I am convinced we haven’t seen the best of Telescope (if you’ll pardon the pun) and he could be the best middle-distance 3-year-old in Britain and Ireland and I expect him to give the older horses plenty to think about between now and the end of the season.
Joseph O’Brien rides John Smith’s Cup winner Danchai in a cracking 10f handicap and, off a 7lbs higher mark, he must go close for William Haggas but in a cracking renewal I take Sennockian Star (2.20) to confirm recent Ascot form with Vasily. The selection is just the type of progressive 3-year-old that the yard of Mark Johnston do well with and the classic generation, of which he is the only representative, have won four of the last five renewals.
There is a cracking listed race named in honour of the late, great Dick Hern and Godolphin are triple-handed in the race including the once-raced Expressly (3.25) who ran away with an Ascot maiden in the manner of a, potentially, smart filly; the fact that she wore a hood for her racecourse debut suggests she is not exactly straightforward and the second was well beaten last time but she is entitled to come on for the experience and gets the nod.
If you are going to Haydock on Saturday make sure you don’t leave before the last race as it is in many ways the feature event! I am convinced there is more to come from Dare To Achieve (5.05) but will he learn to settle for Joseph O’Brien in the finale? There is plenty of pace in the race with Big Thunder, Salutation and Glacial Age all having front-run in the past and this should suit the selection who was far too free with Richard Hughes in his last couple of events despite winning at Pontefract on his penultimate start.
The Shergar Cup is not everyone’s cup of tea but Homeric (1.30) has a 10lb pull with Broxbourne on Ascot running last month and with Kieren Fallon in the saddle Ed Dunlop’s stayer is taken to reverse the form in a terrific little contest.
At Newmarket Godolphin have won the last four renewals of the Sweet Solera Stakes (3.35) and they are doubly represented this year with maiden Ihtimal, third in the Chesham at Royal Ascot last time, and Wedding Ring fifth in the Albany at the Royal meeting. The pair will be hard to beat but Goodwood maiden winner Amazing Maria (3.35) suggested she was up to this class when making all last time in a decent time and this fillies’ mile entry can take this Group 3 contest.
In the finale Big Time Billy (5.55) has had a wonderful time over both codes in recent months and can return to winning ways having not had much luck in running when fourth at York last time. Dougie Costello takes over in the plate and she can beat the progressive 3-y-olds and old rivals Argent Knight and Good Evans who are big dangers at the foot of the weights.