Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your week card with four to follow on Saturday at Ascot and York and two from Uttoxeter on Sunday. View selections below
There was heavy rain forecast for the Berkshire area yesterday but as long as the ground is no worse than good it is impossible to oppose the unbeaten three-year-old Golden Horn (3.50) in the King George VI Stakes at. Ascot this afternoon
The Derby winner followed up his Epsom success with victory in the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown when he had to dig deep after making all under Frankie Dettori. He is not likely to make the running with Hardwicke winner Snow Sky in the field; the latter was given an inspired ride by the brilliant Pat Smullen over today’s C&D at the Royal meeting but he might find it difficult to give 12lbs to the Gosden colt.
Last year’s Oaks winner Taghrooda was a brilliant winner of the corresponding race 12 months ago and, on decent ground, expect Golden Horn to land the odds although at 2/5 I won’t be in a rush to back him especially not knowing the state of the ground at the time of writing
An each way (8/1 at BetVictor) alternative is Eagle Top who, as a son of Pivotal, should appreciate any significant rain and is taken to reverse Royal Ascot form with Snow Sky with Richard Hughes taking over from Dettori.
Besharah (2.05), last seen finishing runner up in the Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes at Newmarket earlier in the month, can take the other Group race on the card the Princess Margaret Stakes. The selection had looked in need of a sixth furlong when running on in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot previously and she will get further in time.
The big betting race of the day is the 7f handicap with 29 going to post including the Victoria Cup winner Speculative Bid (3.15) who has been raised 10lbs for that facile success. He met trouble in running when down the field in the Hunt Cup in his only subsequent start and his style of running, held up like most Jamie Spencer mounts, means he is always likely to be a hostage to fortune. He is the 8/1 favourite at BetVictor who are paying ¼ odds first five.
At York French raider Prince Gibraltar (2.55) is unproven on fast ground but as long as there is enough juice in the ground the 4-year-old can take the Gp 2 York Stakes. The selection was an unlucky third in the French Derby last year behind The Grey Gatsby and finished runner up in the Grand Prix de Chantilly last time.
Godolphin’s Tha’ir should ensure there is plenty of pace in the race which might not suit a couple of potential non-stayers and any significant rain would be a plus for the Gallic charge.
At Uttoxeter on Sunday I am going to reluctantly oppose Ulis De Vassy in the valuable handicap chase over 2m 4f given Dan Skelton’s charge is not guaranteed to appreciate the extra half mile. The vote goes to the Evan Williams-trained Domtaline (4.10) who will appreciate the step back up in trip and is well treated on his best form for Paul Nicholls,
Balding Banker (5.20) hasn’t seen the track for over 500 days but he has gone well fresh in the past and is well handicapped on his best form. He has been well entered up of late and is taken to reward each way support in the 16-runner staying handicap chase.