Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Sandown and Haydock on Saturday. View selections below.
WATERSMEET (2.50) is a tough nut to crack and looks sure to figure prominently in the bet365 Old Newton Cup at Haydock.
An early spring campaign on the all-weather yielded a hat-trick of victories and the grey has gone from strength-to-strength on turf. Watersmeet threw away a winning opportunity at Newmarket by hanging violently left under pressure but atoned for that errant display next time, beating Dashing Star in a valuable handicap at HQ. He ran another cracker when fifth to Arab Dawn in the Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes at Royal Ascot, again edging off a true line. He is probably better served going left-handed and he boasts a Haydock course victory last summer over 10 furlongs. Mark Johnston saddled another four-year-old, Star Lahib, to win this event in 2013 and Watersmeet should soon assume a handy position from stall 11. Some 10-1 was available earlier in the week but he will probably go off a few points shorter come post time, but still represents solid each-way value in a typically formidable renewal of this historic handicap.
GOLDEN HORN (3.45) has the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown at his mercy. The emphatic Derby winner has only The Grey Gatsby, so unlucky at Royal Ascot, to beat but the 11lb three-year-old allowance is a huge advantage to the middle-distance Classic generation in high summer. Both the top two in the market prefer fast conditions and the only chance of a massive upset hinges on the arrival of prolonged thunderstorms.
SAHAAFY (2.35) may be the answer to a devilishly tricky Coral Challenge. Barry Hills’ three-year-old could finish only 10th to War Envoy in the Britannia Handicap but, given his unfavourable stands’ side draw, that wasn’t a bad effort. Sahaafy’s earlier demolition of Angel Vision marked him down as an improving colt and the form was made to look pretty tasty when Sir Michael Stoute’s filly hosed up next time. Stall five is ideal, with Sahaafy’s most dangerous rivals gathered around him. Last year’s runner-up Ifwecan sneaks in at the bottom the weights and he looked back to his very best when making all at Carlisle. The Johnston raiders do well at Sandown and Ifwecan is feared along with probable favourite Basem, a course and distance winner three weeks ago. The margin of his success over Jacob Black would have been more comfortable had he gained a clearer run when throwing down a challenge over a furlong out. The third and fourth, Master The World and Enlace, have since won to give that formline a boost. Top weight Spark Plug took a crashing fall in the Royal Hunt Cup when closing and should go well if there are no mental scars. Ryan Moore replaces the unfortunate Jimmy Fortune.
HAVANA BEAT (4.20) wins a confident vote to repeat last year’s success in the Coral Marathon over two miles. Andrew Balding’s gelding was just out of his depth in the Ascot Gold Cup, when the extended trip probably overstretched his stamina. His earlier third to Snow Sky reads very well, as does a fourth to Brown Panther at Meydan in March.
SALT ISLAND (2.00) is worth an each-way stab in the Coral Challenge on the back of his excellent fourth to Muhaarar in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot. Charlie Hills’ three-year-old finished right on the heels of speedy Limato and Anthem Alexander and one of his main rivals here, Waady, has a couple of lengths to make up on Newbury form in May. Top weight Mecca’s Angel has won five of her last six starts, the latest coming in a Group 3 at Longchamp in May. Michael Dods has done a terrific job but most of his flying filly’s best form has come on ground with some ease.
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