Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Ascot and York on Saturday. View selections below.
GOLDEN HORN (3.50) can add his name to an illustrious roll of honour by landing the ‘King George’ at Ascot.
John Gosden’s colt is seeking to become only the fourth horse to land the Derby, Coral-Eclipse and King George treble, following in the hoofprints of Nashwan (1989), Mill Reef (1971) and Tulyar (1952) as he bids to make it six wins from six career starts. Golden Horn is the only member of the Classic-aged generation in a field of 10 runners which includes the first three home in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot – Snow Sky, Eagle Top and Postponed.
Pat Smullen gave Snow Sky a textbook front-running ride, with Eagle Top and Postponed engaging in their own private barging march as they jostled for position straight from the stalls. Flintshire gave superstar Treve something to think about before giving way at Saint-Cloud and Andre Fabre’s colt could hit the frame yet again. For win purposes, however, Golden Horn is irresistible. The further they went the stronger he looked over an inadequate 10f in the Coral-Eclipse and Frankie Dettori is highly unlikely to gun Golden Horn to the front from the gate this time. My only concern would be soft ground and connections will monitor the ground carefully in the run-up to the race. If the track turns heavy and Golden Horn is pulled out, then Gosden’s Derby third Romsdal would become an interesting substitute on ground he enjoys.
Multiple Irish champion jockey Smullen has two more attractive rides for Sir Michael Stoute and PLANE SONG (5.00) is an improving three-year-old running in the famous Ballymacoll Studs silks. Plane Song was flat out to land the odds over 10 furlongs at Salisbury last time on only his third start but the step up to 1m 4f looks sure to suit.
Earlier on the card, AZRAFF (2.40) is my idea of a cracking each-way wager. Marco Botti’s top weight retains the blinkers he wore for the first time at Doncaster in June when swept aside by Oracolo after leading two out. Azraff has posted several consistent efforts and this looks an opportunity to break his seasonal duck. Stoute’s unexposed Grand Inquisitor has been raised a whopping 11lb for his narrow Sandown victory in June and could be vulnerable.
CUSTOM CUT (2.55) is a solid pick in the Sky Bet York Stakes, even though this is his first attempt at 10 furlongs. Stamina shouldn’t be a concern, however, judged on his course victory in the Group 3 Strensall Stakes last August. The trip that day was just short of nine furlongs and he wasn’t stopping after taking the measure of Trade Storm. David O’Meara sent him to Epsom’s Derby fixture for his last run when chasing him Arod in the Diomed Stakes. The winner has gone in again and Custom Cut holds Tullius on his winning seasonal return in the bet365 Mile at Sandown in April.
Sky Bet also sponsor the two-miler at York and CORONA BOREALIS (4.40) is an interesting contender. The market could be dominated by Waterclock and Aldreth following their titanic battle at Beverley 11 days ago but Corona Borealis showed plenty of courage to cut down Be Perfect on Wetherby’s inaugural Flat card in the spring. The ex-Irish maiden has been raised 5lb but Michael Dods has booked James Doyle which suggests connections mean business.
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