Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with eight to follow on Saturday at Ascot, Haydock and Newmarket. View selections below
The Shergar Cup at Ascot is not everyone’s cup of tea but I like the chances Castilo Del Diablo (1.30) in the stayers for David Simcock and Graham Lee. The selection has been running over trips shorter than today’s 2 miles on turf of late and running on in the manner of a horse who will appreciate the step back up in trip. The 6-year-old has won on turf in the past and has the assistance of Graham Lee from the saddle; at 9/1 with BetVictor he can reward each way support.
There are a number of inform trainers at present but, at the time of writing William Haggas has his string in extremely good form as form figures of 2-2-1-2-2-2-1-1-1 would suggest. In the 12f handicap the Newmarket handler saddles My Spirit (2.05) who was subject to a change of tactics last time when racing more prominently than in recent starts. Sammy Jo Bell takes off a valuable 3lbs and she is taken to go close at 8/1 with BetVictor.
Over at Haydock I hope to see Wonder Laish (4.00) defy an 80-day lay-off in the valuable 12f handicap for the aforementioned William Haggas. The colt has been off the track since easily landing a poor maiden on ground softer than the official description of good at Lingfield back in May and, as a son of Halling, is likely to continue to improve. As long as there is a bit of juice in the ground expect him to go very close in a top class event which is, surprisingly, not shown on terrestrial TV.
Basateen ran a race full of promise on his reappearance at York and I thought he was an exciting colt last season. Despite being a son of Teofilo there must be a doubt about the selection getting today’s 10f trip, however, and he is reluctantly overlooked as a consequence.
Green Light (2.20) didn’t get the best of runs at Chester last times and has a poor draw (11) to overcome today but he needs to be held up for a late run and might be open to further improvement. He is 6lbs better off with Mark Johnston’s Sennockian Star on running at the Roodeye and can reward each way support at 8/1.
Only five to post for the Rose of Lancaster which is a shame and the progressive Intilaaq (2.55) is impossible to oppose with the ground drying out all the time.
In the listed Dick Hern Stakes Pelerin (3.25) made her bid for glory perhaps too far out at Pontefract last time and is taken to reverse the form with Merry Me. The selection has little to fear from Crowley’s Law on Thirsk running last year but the latter has improved since that outing but has a poor draw to overcome in stall ten.
The Sweet Solera Stakes looks a match at Newmarket between Fireglow and Blue Bayou (3.35) with marginal preference for the latter who was described as the best filly Brian Meehan has trained when third in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes last time. That form has already been franked by the runner up Besharah, who was a facile winner of the Princess Margaret at Ascot, and a repetition of that effort will make Blue Bayou tough to beat with the extra furlong considered a positive.
Fireglow has a bit to find with the selection through Hannon’s Illuminate but the Johnston filly improved again at Sandown last time and is likely to make the selection have to pull out all the stops.
The Group 1 Phoenix Stakes is the best juvenile race seen in Europe so far this season and Buratino is 2/1 favourite to confirm his Coventry Stakes win over Air Force Blue (3.50) but the Ascot success was only the latter’s second career start and the O’Brien colt can leapfrog the Johnston trained runner in what looks an absolute cracker. The Ballydoyle handler saddles three of the eight runners and has landed this coveted juvenile prize five times in the last seven year.