Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at York and Goodwood on Saturday. View selections below.
MIGHTY YAR (3.50) can upset plunge horse Pallasator and give Lady Cecil successive victories in the Betfred Ebor on York’s closing day. The stable saddled well-backed Tiger Cliff 12 months ago and Mighty Yar has been prepared with this hot handicap in mind. The four-year-old grey ran a belter on the Knavesmire in July, chasing home highly regarded Kings Fete, despite going down on his knees at the start. That was over 12 furlongs and the longer Ebor trip could bring about more improvement. Mighty Yar also impressed when scoring at Newmarket in May when he had Van Percy back in fifth. Van Percy didn’t get the most positive of rides that day and he is a live danger. The key to Mighty Yar’s chance is fast ground, so a weather watch is advised. Should the rain arrive in significant quantities to influence the going, then Clever Cookie would be a strong alternative. He goes well at York and it is only the prospect of a very slick surface that tempers enthusiasm. Pallasator is a worthy favourite and may well drift on the day to become a more realistic price.
Sir Michael Stoute produced a fast improving three-year-old in Bragging to destroy her field in a warm York handicap on Thursday and ROCKET SHIP (2.40) could be another in the same mould. Rocket Ship also carries the famous Khalid Abdullah silks and it is significant he has shown much better form since encountering quick ground, just like his sire Sinndar. Both his wide-margin wins have come over 1m 4f, but the extra yardage of the Betfred Melrose Stakes shouldn’t present a problem. As always in this crackerjack of a three-year-old staying handicap, dangers abound and also near the top of my shortlist is Luca Cumani’s Connecticut, chasing a four-timer, Bold Sniper, Captain Morley and fast improving Penhill. However, Rocket Ship loves to bowl along and front-runners are often difficult to peg back when the Knavesmire is riding fast.
At shorter odds, FARRAJ (2.05) will take some beating in the opening Betfred Strensall Stakes. Roger Varian’s five-year-old has matured into a fine specimen and underlined his improvement by routing Air Pilot and Clon Brulee in a tip-top handicap at Epsom’s Derby meeting. Farraj came out to land the John Smith’s Cup at York in July and with track form so important, he rates a knocking bet to see off principal rivals Custom Cut, Graphic and Trade Storm.
The Gimcrack Stakes stayed in Yorkshire last year courtesy of Kevin Ryan’s Astaire and he relies on Teruntum Star. The locals again mount a strong challenge and Mark Johnston’s JUNGLE CAT (3.15) is the each-way recommendation. One of the most experienced two-year-olds in the 11-strong line-up, Jungle Cat has turned up at most of the big juvenile gigs this summer. He finished third to The Wow Signal in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot and filled the places behind Richard Hannon’s brilliant Ivawood in both the July Stakes at Newmarket and the Richmond Stakes at Glorious Goodwood. Hannon saddles a brace of useful sorts here in Beacon and penalised Baitha Alga, but Jungle Cat sets a good standard.
The Channel 4 cameras are also on duty at Goodwood where MALABAR (2.20) is the answer to the Group 3 Prestige Stakes. Mick Channon’s string has caught fire (treble from three runners at Bath in midweek) and Malabar duly picked off some less talented rivals in an Ascot maiden last month after running fourth to Cursory Glance at Royal Ascot.
Compare horse racing odds and bet at the best prices