Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at York and Sandown Park on Saturday. View selections below.
FIELDS OF ATHENRY (3.45) has been handed a very wide draw in the Betfred Ebor at York but his class can carry him home under rookie pilot Donnacha O’Brien. The 5lb claimer, whose father Aidan saddled another three-year-old, Mediterranean, to win in 2001, will be having his first ride in Britain but he is sitting on a horse of infinite potential. This will be only the sixth career start for Fields Of Athenry but he is quoted in single figures in some books for next month’s Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster and has already taken a Group 3 scalp, striding clear in the Ballyroan Stakes at Leopardstown. His young rider was among the winners at the Galway festival and his 5lb claim reduces his mount’s burden to 9st 2lb, quite a significant weight for a three-year-old taking on a bunch of street-wise older rivals. Willie Mullins, successful yesterday with Max Dynamite in the Lonsdale Cup, has two leading contenders in dual purpose sorts Clondaw Warrior and Wicklow Brave. Clondaw Warrior sneaks in as first reserve following the defection of top weight Quest For More and the Ascot Stakes winner looks sure to be involved. Wicklow Brave, so useful over hurdles, didn’t appear to get home over 2m 6f at Royal Ascot and rates a big threat. Tony Martin’s versatile Quick Jack was well beaten by Wicklow Brave, receiving weight, in the County Hurdle at Cheltenham in March but the Irish trainer was on the score-sheet earlier this week. Of the home contingent, Hughie Morrison’s trio Arab Dawn, Fun Mac and Nearly Caught hold leading claims.
BURATINO (3.10) is given the chance to atone for his recent capitulation in Ireland and looks a worthy favourite to add the Betfred Gimcrack Stakes to his hugely-impressive triumph in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot. Air Force Blue avenged that defeat with a powerful performance at the Curragh but Mark Johnston’s colt didn’t appear at home on the softer ground. Buratino must carry a penalty for that success but with drier weather forecast he will be hard to beat. Legendary rider Edgar Prado crosses the Atlantic to partner Wesley Ward’s Finnegan and the American sprinter is clearly one to respect. Red-hot William Haggas saddles wide-margin course winner Ajaya, beaten in a photo at Maisons-Laffitte on his last start.
MAHSOOB (2.00) can resume winning ways in the Betfred Strensall Stakes. John Gosden’s colt rocketed up the rankings by winning all four of his career starts before the bubble burst with a lack-lustre sixth to Big Orange in the Group 2 Princess of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket. The 1m 4f trip appeared beyond him that day and this drop to 1m 1f can do the trick. Haggas strips Mutakayyef for his belated seasonal debut and a repeat of his run in the Darley Stakes at HQ last October, when splitting Berkshire and Air Pilot, puts him in the frame along with Mondialiste, Basem and Master Carpenter.
At Sandown, Hugo Palmer targets the 888sport Solario Stakes with THEY SEEK HIM HERE (2.15). Palmer saddled last year’s winner Aktabantay and the cleverly-named They Seek Him Here, a son of Elusive Pimpernel, ran with credit until fading out of the frame behind Birchwood in a hot Group 2 at Newmarket last month. He had Beaverbrook hot on his heels but should confirm the placings, despite the widest post position in stall 11.
CARRINGTON (4.00) has drawn the plum berth in stall one in the seven-furlong nursery and can go one better than his last outing when chasing home promising Shawaahid at Newmarket. An easy winner of a Chelmsford maiden back in May, Carrington has been brought along steadily by Charlie Appleby. With Kevin Stott taking off 3lb, the top weight should be sent off an each-way price in an open heat.
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