Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with six to follow on Saturday at Newbury and Newmarket. View selections below
The ground was soft at Newbury for Friday’s meeting but it is likely to be holding and tacky for Saturday’s card with no further rain forecast. I’m not convinced conditions will suit BetVictor’s 9/2 favourite for the feature Geoffrey Freer Stakes Pether’s Moon who must give 2lbs and more to his ten rivals but is overlooked wearing blinkers for the first time.
Seal Of Approval’s (2.40) run at Haydock last time was just too bad to be true and she must be given another chance on ground that will suit the daughter of Authorized. She seemed to sulk when getting behind early at the Lancashire venue and George Baker replaces Hayley Turner on the mare. Note Baker has a 100% record on the horse having won both times he has ridden James Fanshawe’s 5-y-o.The selection is priced at 7/1 with BetVictor and would be very competitive if back to her best.
Many of the top yards are represented in the opener which promises to be an informative fillies’ maiden and the vote goes to Penny Pepper (1.00) half-sister to a soft ground winner in France having shaped with considerable promise at Windsor on debut earlier in the month. Jim Crowley takes over in the saddle and she is taken to reward each way support.
Mythical Madness never got competitive in a better race at Sandown last time but was backed as if he was well up to defying his current mark. It will be interesting to see if he attracts support gain but preference is for Flippant (1.35) who as a daughter of Pivotal will not be inconvenienced by the ground and wasn’t seen to best advantage when last seen back in June.
Gregorian (3.50) is out only six days after disappointing at Deauville last weekend but trainer John Gosden must think this is too good an opportunity to miss on ground which should be ideal. He won the corresponding race (Hungerford Stakes) 12 months ago, doesn’t carry a penalty and if it wasn’t for his trip to France last weekend he would be a very confident selection.
At Newmarket Emirates Airline (3.25) was backed into favouritism at Ascot on debut and performed creditably to finish a running on fourth. If he handles the soft ground at HQ he must go close with the newcomers looking nothing out of the ordinary on paper.
Ainsi Fidelis has a 10lb penalty to carry in the Novices’ Chase and a chance is taken on Minella Forfitness (6.45) at Market Rasen having been sold out of Nicky Henderson’s yard for only £10,500 back in May. The gelding was at one time considered a top class chaser in the making and let’s hope the local yard of Charles Pogson can help fulfil the tremendous potential he had going back a couple of seasons.
There is a valuable handicap chase at Southwell on Sunday and a chance is taken on Superior Quality (3.00) beaten 15L at Market Rasen last time in the Summer Platebut with regular pilot Noel Fehily back in the plate. The selection has never won over the larger obstacles but is well treated on his best form over timber and gets the nod in a fabulous event for the track.
At Pontefract Shane Kelly takes the ride on Alex Vino (2.45) for Sir Michael Stoute and this lightly-raced 3-year-old should follow up his recent Sandown success stepped up to 12f for the first time. The ground is currently good at the West Yorkshire track and he wouldn’t want the ground to deteriorate too much given he is out of an Oasis Dream mare.
Valonia (3.45) travelled well for a long period over seven at Goodwood last time and should appreciate the drop back in trip in the listed event for 3-year-olds and older. The selection only has one maiden success to her name but her latest effort was, arguably, a career best and she has posted two decent efforts under today’s pilot Harry Bentley.