Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Ascot, Haydock and Thirsk on Saturday. View selections below.
SOLE POWER (3.50) can prove the doubters wrong by taking his first Group 1 scalp over six furlongs in Haydock Park’s Betfred Sprint Cup. Drying conditions are in the Irish raider’s favour and Richard Hughes will be able to stalk the trailblazers from an ideal draw (9) in a maximum field of 17 runners. Imperious over the minimum trip this season in the King’s Stand and Nunthorpe Stakes, Sole Power’s previous recent efforts over this longer trip are hardly shoddy – second to Japanese champion sprinter Lord Kanaloa at Sha Tin and fifth behind Lethal Force in the 2012 July Cup at Newmarket, when he had traffic issues. Gordon Lord Byron routed Edward Lynam’s Slade Power in this race 12 months ago, with Johnny Murtagh blitzing a solo on the far side from stall two, but drying ground isn’t ideal. He is drawn on the stands rail this time. G Force is berthed alongside Sole Power and shouldn’t be far away, granted he didn’t enjoy much luck in running at a crucial stage in the Nunthorpe. Tropics has rediscovered his form at just the right time, while Wokingham hero Baccarat looks overpriced at 25-1.
On a tremendous support card, CAPTAIN CAT (2.40) is fancied to recover recent Goodwood losses when he lines up in the Betfred.com Superior Mile. Front-running Bow Creek was allowed far too much rope on the Sussex Downs and never looked like being reeled in by the chasing pack. Captain Cat had previously sauntered home under another patient ride at Salisbury and his potent turn of foot is well served by good ground. Short Squeeze and last weekend’s brave Chester winner Ocean Tempest look the principal threats.
CHANCERY (3.15) merits another chance in the 1m 6f Betfred TV Old Borough Cup. His form figures are hardly inspiring this season but David O’Meara’s gelding has been crying out for a step up in trip. On his last run, Chancery finished in midfield behind Glenard at York but his chance was effectively scuppered at the start when the six-year-old pitched on his nose. Chancery is a dual course winner and the handicapper has dropped him again to an appealing mark of 93. Crucially, there should be plenty of early pace with the likes of Nautilus, Be Perfect and Eagle Rock happier at the head of affairs. Top weight Havana Cooler gives Luca Cumani bright prospects of bagging another big handicap and at the other end of the weights, rampant Epsom Hill is chasing a hat-trick. His best form has come on soft ground, so a weather watch is advised.
Cumani sends SECOND STEP (3.30) to Ascot with a leading chance in the 1m 4f Winning Post Bookmakers Bristol Handicap. The lightly-raced three-year-old boasts career figures of 2113 and a repeat of his last run when third to Double Bluff and Kings Fete puts him bang in the firing line. A one pound rise seems lenient and he is taken to overcome a problematical pitch in stall 18. Mark Johnston saddles four runners, with improving Rainbow Rock preferred over Hamilton winner Swivel, Bureau and Notarised.
Hugo Palmer is a trainer going places and he despatches EXTREMITY (3.40) north to Thirsk for a 1m 4f handicap. The top weight seeks to avenge his York defeat at the hands of Master The World and there is little separating the pair on revised terms.
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