Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Newmarket and York on Saturday. View selections below.
JUNGLE CAT (4.35) can bare his claws in the Darley July Cup and provide the resurgent Godolphin operation with another Group 1 scalp.
The Newmarket track has been riding fast which really suits Charlie Appleby’s speedster. A winner under lightning-quick conditions at Meydan in January, Jungle Cat adapted well to softer ground at Royal Ascot, finishing fourth to Profitable in the five-furlong King’s Stand Stakes.
My selection got closer to Profitable when narrowly denied in the Palace House Stakes, again over the minimum trip, here in April and is fancied to wreak his revenge under optimum conditions.
Drawn in stall 11 of the 18 runners, James Doyle should be able to latch on to the early pace if the field splits into two groups. Jungle Cat ran really well over course and distance as a two-year-old when trained by Mark Johnston, splitting Ivawood and Muhaarar. General odds of 20-1 are very tempting each-way, especially with firms offering four places.
Limoto will relish this surface and drops to sprinting after a creditable fourth to Belardo in the one-mile Lockinge Stakes at Newbury. Limoto second to Muhaarar in last year’s Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot is top-drawer form.
Stablemate Twilight Sun was very brave when landing the Diamond Jubilee Stakes but may not be quite so effective on this faster surface. This remark also applies to the very quick Quiet Reflection.
Arod drops to sprinting after being campaigned over a mile and could be the surprise packet at around 40-1 in a star-studded line-up.
HEAVEN’S GUEST (5.10) should show up well in the bet365 Bunbury Cup, a race in which he finished third in 2015 behind Richard Fahey stablemate Rene Mathis.
Fahey also saddles Growl and Farlow this time round and Heaven’s Guest has enjoyed the same build-up as last year. Twelve months ago he finished ninth to Jallota at York’s Dante fixture before running so well in the Bunbury Cup and he bettered that performance in May when finishing second to the same horse in the same event.
Stall one is hardly ideal but he has been prepared for the race.
Buckstay is drawn on the other flank in stall 20 and Peter Chapple-Hyam’s top weight was beaten a head by Mr Win in the consolation Silver Bunbury Cup last July. He is a good bit higher in the ratings nowadays but George Wood takes off 7lb.
At a bigger price, Golden Steps should also go well for Frankie Dettori from a better pitch in stall 14.
The bet365 Superlative Stakes sees CUNCO (4.00), a son of Frankel, bidding to further boost the cache of his first-season sire.
Third in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot, Cunco was staying on well in the closing stages and the way he won on his debut at Newbury suggest this seven-furlong trip is already a minimum. Forcing tactics may be the order of the day.
Andrew Balding’s Windsor scorer South Seas steps up in grade but there was much to like about his maiden victory.
Punters will hardly have time to draw breath on a pulsating day of top-class action and the John Smith’s Cup at York could fall to one of the outsiders, EARTH DRUMMER (4.15).
This extended 1m 2f trip pushes his stamina to the limit but Shane Kelly has a lovely pitch in stall two from which to gradually work his way into the race.
Earth Drummer has been campaigned at shorter by David Loughnane since joining from David O’Meara and the gelding finished well into fifth behind Flash Fire in the Victoria Cup at Ascot before a slightly unlucky run in the Royal Hunt Cup when tenth to Portage.
An each-way bet is recommended and Earth Drummer shaped well enough when sixth to useful Elhaame over course and distance last season.
Dangers abound and Revolutionist was top of my original shortlist before drawing box 21, which is very wide for a horse that likes to be up with the pace. His third to Sir Isaac Newton in the Wolferton Handicap at Royal Ascot reads very well, with Arthenus (fourth) and Educate (fifth) reopposing with obvious chances.
NAKEETA (2.25) endured a dreadful passage in the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle, eventually finishing in midfield behind Godolphin’s Antiquarian. Iain Jardine’s gelding was pipped by No Heretic in the Chester Cup and this looks a good bit easier, although faster ground is a slight concern (dual Haydock winner on soft).
Roger Varian’s Monotype has twice found one too good over 1m 6f at Goodwood and should be in the mix.
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