Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with eight to follow on Saturday at Newmarket, Ascot and York. View selections below
Hard to know where to start such is the quality on offer on this Super Saturday of flat racing but the July Cup is the Group 1 action at Newmarket and it is a magnificent renewal of this championship six-furlong sprint.
The classic generation have won three of the last six renewals and the champion juvenile Air Force Blue and Commonwealth Cup winner Quiet Reflection hold leading claims, but I am going to take a chance on Limato (4.35) who drops down in trip having skipped Royal Ascot on account of the prevailing soft ground.
The selection is 6/1 at BetVictor and is taken to reward each way support for Henry Candy; Limato’s stablemate Twilight Son heads the betting, at the time of writing, at 11/2 and he is a big threat especially if the track was hit by a heavy shower or two. The forecast suggests there is a possibility of rain on Saturday morning and, if significant, would put a totally different complexion on the race.
I’m looking forward to seeing Frankel’s son Cunco (4.00) despite the fact that he was beaten in the Chesham over today’s 7f trip last time. I wouldn’t be in a hurry to back him until I saw him go to post, however, given he was very free going down to the start at Ascot and does have his quirks. The Windsor winners Bin Battuta and South Seas are much respected especially the latter if the rain arrives but as long as Cunco behaves himself he is the one for me. He is 4/1 at BetVictor and on good or faster ground I would be disappointed if he wasn’t in the frame.
George Wood take off a valuable 7lbs in the Bunbury Cup aboard the 7/1 chance and top-weight Buckstay (5.10) and he ran a cracker in the circumstances when fifth of 28 in the Wokingham over 6f last time. Today’s additional furlong will suit and he won a decent handicap over C&D last August albeit from a 12lbs lower mark.
At Ascot I have been waiting for the next start of Gershwin (4.25) since running out a facile winner at Leicester back in May. The handicapper has had his say raising him by 10lbs but I feel he might be a Group horse in a handicap and love the way trainer David Lanigan brings his horses on slowly but surely. The 10f handicap he runs in this afternoon has been won by three-year-olds twice in the last three years and I would be very disappointed if he didn’t go close with fellow 3-y-old Baydar considered the danger.
The valuable 12f handicap is a cracker and Wave Reviews (5.35) gets the nod for William Haggas and Graham Gibbons; the form of the colt’s Salisbury maiden win has been franked by the runner up who scored at Sandown last weekend and there is no reason why the selection should not be as least as effective on today’s better ground. Dal Harraild is considered the stable first string and looked good at Musselburgh last time but he must give 10lbs to his stablemate.
At York I am going to give Monotype (2.25) another chance after finishing second at Goodwood last time for Roger Varian; the weight of money behind the 4-y-old suggested better was expected and he is given another chance.
In the John Smith’s Cup Spanish Squeeze (4.15) has been a beaten favourite on his last four starts but he has had his excuses and at 10/1 with BetVictor this lightly raced sort can reward each way support; this is one of my favourite races of the year but there are few who you would suggest look unexposed and Jim Crowley talks over for the first time on Hugo Palmer’s lightly-raced 4-y-old.
I am a big fan of Easton Angel (4.50) and hope she can land the hat-trick for Michael Dods in the listed sprint; Muthmir looks to have his ideal conditions but the filly looks overpriced at 7/1 although you have to say this is a very warm race for the grade.