Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Musselburgh, York, Chester and Sandown on Saturday. View selections below.
DISTANT PAST (2.50) can make it a hat-trick of wins from three visits to Musselburgh by scooping the William Hill Scottish Sprint Cup Consolation race. Kevin Ryan’s speedball hosed up in an apprentices’ event over course and distance last Saturday and escapes a penalty. Distant Past has won three of his last four starts, his sole defeat coming over six furlongs at Haydock when he led until well inside the final furlong. Stall 12 near the stand rail is ideal and the in-form four-year-old will be hard to stop. Tim Easterby’s yard is firing in winners all over the place and his duo, Mappin Time and old boy Captain Dunne, are rated dangers.
The Saturday action is spread far and wide, with York hosting the competitive 888sport Charity Sprint over six furlongs. Bookmakers will be wary of TWILIGHT SON (3.45), unbeaten in three career starts, the latest coming on fast ground at Newmarket. The handicapper has raised Henry Candy’s three-year-old colt a hefty 11lb, but Twilight Son has looked a sprinter going places. Magical Memory, third at HQ, should finish closer to Twilight Son on revised terms but I still fancy the Candy ace to scale new heights. Market rival Scalzo has been hammered for his seven-length Haydock victory and will do well to defy an eye-watering 18lb rise. He is proven on softer ground, however, so any rain would enhance his prospects.
PEARL CASTLE (2.00) is fancied to repeat last year’s success in the Queen Mother’s Cup. Vastly experienced Serena Brotherton again takes the mount for John Quinn in the Ladies’ Derby and they can reverse recent Hamilton placings with Orsenfoolsies, representing the rampant Micky Hammond yard. Pearl Castle, 5lb higher than 12 months ago, runs the Knavesmire particularly well and the ground could ride a bit too slick for Orsenfoolsies if forecast showers fail to arrive. The handicapper may have finally nailed Ralphy Lad, who is on a four-timer, and he is another at his best with cut underfoot.
Quinn can be among the winners at Chester with his consistent, but frustrating, POETIC VERSE (4.50). She looked likely to register a welcome win at Pontefract, only to be reeled in by Modernism. Racing in cheek-pieces for the first time, Poetic Verse deserves a change of lady luck in this fillies’ handicap.
Sandown looks another minefield for punters and, with Royal Ascot looming, I’ll restrict my bets at the Esher track to an each-way wager on MASTER THE WORLD (2.20) in the Winner Sports Handicap over a mile. David Elsworth’s grey gelding finished fourth to Scottish raider Jacob Black in the Whitsun Cup here 16 days ago, with third-placed Tigers Tale also reopposing. Master The World met interference that day and although another wide berth in stall 13 is problematical, he should run his race.
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