Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Ripon and Newbury on Saturday. View selections below.
SHORE STEP (3.30) can reward an each-way investment in the William Hill Great St Wilfrid Handicap at Ripon. Mick Channon’s five-year-old feels right at home in these big-field sprints and arrives here in good form. A week after chasing home Tanzeel in the Sky Bet Dash at York, Shore Step lined up for the Stewards’ Cup Consolation race at Glorious Goodwood, running another excellent race in finishing fourth of 27 runners. Shore Step beat 17 rivals at Doncaster’s St Leger fixture last season and this could be the time of year to catch him. The field will probably split into two groups and with Shore Step drawn in stall 14, Charles Bishop is likely to elect to edge left and take the stands’ side route. David O’Meara’s entrants are always worthy of close scrutiny in this race and he saddles bottom weight Eccleston. Course form over Ripon’s undulations is always worth bearing in mind and Eccleston ran well in a first-time visor over this course and distance last time. Danny Tudhope’s mount is drawn two, on the far side, which gives us a second string to our bow.
O’Meara’s is represented by Provident Spirit in the Attheraces.com Handicap and his four-year-old is very closely matched with Richard Fahey’s OBSIDIAN (2.25) on their running behind Altharoos in the Thirsk Summer Cup a fortnight ago. Obsidian came with a storming run to win at Redcar last weekend and is much better drawn in stall two than Provident Spirit (17).
ALL ABOUT TIME (4.40) should ensure at least one O’Meara winner on the card. She lines up in the Fillies’ Handicap over an extended 1m 1f trip and a reproduction of her super second to Chain Of Daisies at York in July would make her hard to beat. That was only her fifth career start and Chain Of Daisies gave the form a timely boost on Wednesday when running fourth to Journey (hotpot Suffused in second) in a keenly-contested Salisbury Listed event.
The Group 2 Betfred Hungerford Stakes over seven furlongs tops the bill at Newbury and improving three-year-old HOME OF THE BRAVE (3.45) could give Hugo Palmer another big-race scalp. Home Of The Brave has won both his starts over seven furlongs and he whipped the older generation at the Curragh last time out. Gordon Lord Byron was in arrears that day and the Irish horse has since ran a cracker behind Muhaarar and Esoterique in the Group 1 Maurice De Gheest at Deauville.
Betfred also sponsor the Ladies Derby and Richard Fahey’s excellent lady amateur rider Alyson Deniel can do the business on PIN UP (4.50). The three-year-old filly landed some hefty wagers in a Ripon maiden earlier this month and should deal with some exposed rivals.
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