Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with nine to follow on Saturday at Newmarket, York and Killarney View selections below
The Darley July Cup is the feature race from Newmarket this afternoon and Aussie sprinter Brazen Beau (3.45) is taken to go one better than when runner up in the Diamond Jubilee at the Royal meeting last month. The selection is the 9/4 favourite at BetVictor but he was asked to race away from the main body of runners at Ascot and James Doyle replaces Craig Williams who was criticised in some quarters for his ride on the colt who will race in the colours of Godolphin this afternoon.
Muthmir remains a potential group one winning sprinter but you got the impression trainer William Haggas felt York (Nunthorpe over the minimum trip) was his best chance of hitting the bullseye. He settled better than he had done on previous occasions when third in the King’s Stand Stakes last time and he was certainly running on at the finish.
Jockey Paul Hanagan prefers Muhaarar who bolted up in the inaugural Commonwealth Cup for Charlie Hills and receives 6lbs from the selection. Paul Hanagan chose the wrong one (Adaay) at the Royal meeting and I’m not convinced he he’s on the right one this afternoon!
In the opening mile handicap Good Contact (2.00) wears a hood for the first time dropping back in trip having been too keen at Chester last time over the extended ten furlongs. James Doyle takes the mount and if the headgear does the trick he looks sure to go close.
Ballydoyle (4.20) won’t be much of a price but I would be very disappointed if she didn’t win the fillies’ maiden over 7f. The selection finished runner up in the Chesham last time and is clearly held in some regard at Ballydoyle; she will get further in time but she will not have the assistance of Ryan Moore who misses the rest of the meeting following a neck injury sustained in a stalls incident on the opening day.
Majdool (4.55) improved for the step up to 7f when running away with a maiden at Wolverhampton on his last start and is taken to land the nursery for Roger Varian. The form of the selections second at Chester previously over 6f has been franked and an opening mark of 84 might not prevent him following up.
At York the John Smith’s Cup is one of my favourite betting races of the year and my two against the field are Battalion (20/1 with BetVictor) and Sennockian Star (3.25) with marginal preference for the latter. Franny Norton takes the ride on the 5-y-old who was last seen finishing runner up to Mahsoob in the Wolferton Handicap at Royal Ascot. The form, at first glance, was let down when the winner ran poorly at Newmarket earlier in the week but it was the trip that seemed to beat him as much as the step up in grade. At 10/1 with BetVictor he can reward each way support.
Knightly Escapade (4.35) finished runner up in the 2m contest on this card 12 months ago and is taken to go one better despite the fact that he must race off a mark 9lbs higher for Brian Ellison. The selection looked better than ever when winning at Newcastle last time under Silvestre De Sousa who keeps the mount.
Connections have finally settled on Arod’s (2.45) best trip of a mile and I was pleased to see Andrea Atzeni allow the 4-y-old to stride on at Epsom last time when he made all having settled well in the lead. The colt loves to hear his hooves rattle so the good to firm ground is ideal and he is 5/2 with BetVictor from 3/1 following yesterday’s announcement that Toormore would miss the race and wait for Goodwood.
Pulcinella (4.30) may not have got home at York last time over ten furlongs and should appreciate the return to a mile in the fillies’ handicap. I hope William Buick makes plenty of use of the filly as there is no guaranteed pace in the race.
At Tipperary Diakali (4.25) can land the feature the Grade 3 Grimes Hurdle for Willie Mullins; the selection hasn’t been seen since running over an extended 3m in the French Champion Hurdle over an extended 3m in June 2014 but can race prominently and did finish fourth in the County Hurdle last year under the steadier of 11st 12lbs. Bayan is the obvious danger for Gordon Elliot but the Mullins runner gets the nod in a hot contest.