Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Newbury, Newmarket and Thirsk on Saturday. View selections below.
BELARDO (3.55) won’t mind some cut underfoot and is fancied to reverse placings with a couple of recent protagonists in the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.
Roger Varian’s hooded four-year-old seemed the most inconvenienced by the way the bet365 Mile unfolded at Sandown, finishing fourth behind duellists Toolmore and Dutch Connection.
Belardo was preferred in the market that day but was held up way off the pace by James Doyle. By the time Belardo worked up a full head of steam the principals had flown and last year’s Dewhurst winner is tremendous value trading around 7-1 last night.
He had earlier plundered the Betway Mile at Doncaster’s Lincoln fixture with conspicuous ease and posted probably his best effort at Ascot when running the brilliant Solow to under a length in the QE II Stakes (good to soft).
Kodi Bear, runner-up in the Dewhurst, won’t mind the mud (although the track was drying out quite quick yesterday) and posted a sharp effort when thumping Gabrial by more than three lengths in Goodwood’s Celebration Mile.
Toormore may be the one to beat. Richard Hannon’s five-year-old was beaten a neck by stablemate Night Of Thunder 12 months ago and also handed out a beating to Dutch Connection in the Lennox Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, when the runner-up was in receipt of the three-year-old allowance. There shouldn’t be much between them but Toormore’s 3lb pull and proven track craft should give him the edge over his old adversary.
Connections of Arod and Limato will be praying the track continues to dry out but, in the expectation of sufficient juice remaining, Belardo gets a confident each-way shout.
SOLDIER IN ACTION (4.30) represents the powerful Mark Johnston three-year-old brigade in a highly competitive 1m 2f handicap and, given his aggressive style of running, he has drawn a perfect pitch in stall one.
He ran into a much improved performer in Red Verdon at Chester’s May meeting, having kicked clear round the bend only to be then mowed down in brutal fashion by the impressive winner. The pair drew 12 lengths clear of the struggling pack and Soldier In Action had previously appreciated softish ground at Doncaster when accounting for stablemate Juste Pour Nous.
ARTHENUS (5.35) should be all the better for his opening salvo of the season, when a close-up sixth to Knight Owl at Newmarket after a slightly bumpy passage. Arthenus had ended last year on a roll, rattling up a hat-trick of wins on good to soft ground, so everything seems in place for a huge run.
There are contrasting conditions at Newmarket and fast going shouldn’t bother MR LUPTON (4.10) in the Betfair Price Rush Sprint Trophy.
Richard Fahey’s three-year-old has been lumbered with top weight on the back of a seriously strong juvenile campaign which saw finish runner-up to Log Out Island in the valuable Two-Year-Old Sprint at Redcar. He pocketed almost £150,000 for beating Humphrey Bogart and 20 other rivals in another big sales contest, this time at Doncaster’s Leger festival.
Mr Lupton will strip sharper for his initial outing on unsuitably soft ground at Hamilton (third) and he scored on a slick surface at Haydock last June. He is available at tasty each-way odds against some fairly formidable rivals. Dual winner Venturous and Elite Racing’s Marsha are both smart, while Richard Hannon’s Windsor scorer Nisser remains unexposed near the foot of the weights.
At Thirsk, AL KHAN (4.00) seems primed to exploit a dropping mark and Kevin Ryan’s durable handicapper hinted at better to come at Chester when running into fifth behind all-the-way winner Hillbilly Boy after crucially missing the kick. Dropped another 2lb by the assessor, Al Khan has a lovely slot in stall four, with Joe Doyle taking off 3lb.
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