Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Ascot and York on Saturday. View selections below.
HIGHLAND REEL (4.30) can avenge his Royal Ascot defeat at the hands of Dartmouth by landing the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
My selection was edged out by the Queen’s much-improved colt in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes but Seamie Heffernan lost his whip two furlongs out which may have influenced the outcome. The ground will be much quicker today but Highland Reel was a dual juvenile winner on a fast surface. He hasn’t always looked the easiest of mounts but Ryan Moore is on top.
Highland Reel cut out the running when fourth to Postponed in the Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan in March but Moore will give him a less aggressive ride. His victory over Flintshire in the Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin last December was a performance out of the top drawer.
Dartmouth has won his three starts this season starting at Chelmsford in April off 102, progressing to his current 119 rating, and would clearly be a popular winner of this historic contest.
Wings Of Desire represents the Classic generation and will have his supporters. His fourth in the Derby can probably be marked up as the Dante winner wouldn’t be the first, or last, horse to feel uncomfortable hurtling over the Epsom Downs. Last weekend’s Irish Oaks winner Seventh Heaven is the most recent case in point having finishing down the field behind Minding at Epsom.
French fancy Erupt is another trading fairly short in the market but this could well develop into a Hardwicke action replay.
The Gigaset International Stakes is a typically explosive betting handicap and LIBRISA BREEZE (3.55) is the one to be with on the evidence of his close second to Portage in the Royal Hunt Cup (soft).
Campaigned over longer trips by previous trainer Jeremy Noseda, Librisa Breeze scored first time out for Dean Ivory over seven furlongs at Wolverhampton in April.
He was clearly laid out for Royal Ascot and was unlucky not to collect for owner Tony Bloom, arguably the most astute professional punter in the business over many years.
Drawn 14, Robert Winston can follow the pace on Librisa Breeze and it’s hard to see him not figuring, especially if a few showers arrive to provide some ease underfoot.
Last year’s winner Heaven’s Guest and fourth home Suzi’s Connoisseur are two others worth consideration, with the latter enjoying a nice weight pull. The first-time tongue-tie on Suzi’s Connoisseur may have contributed to his excellent effort at Newmarket when just run out of it by Swift Approval in the silver Bunbury Cup.
The Longnines Handicap gives our top lady jockeys the opportunity to strut their stuff on a big stage and NORMANDY BARRIERE (5.00) should go well at a juicy each-way price.
Joanna Mason has been one of the best riders of her sex for many a year and was at her brilliant best when landing the Ladies’ Derby on Tapis Libre at Epsom earlier in the month. Normandy Barriere is a straight-forward ride and was a scorer here in May over six furlongs.
The Sky Bet Dash at York could be influenced by thunderstorms but top weight NINJAGO (4.10) can race to the fore from stall three.
He finished just behind Kimberella when placed in a Class 2 handicap on the Knavesmire in May and enjoys an 8lb pull. Ninjago ran his best race when third in the Ayr Gold Cup and has since left Richard Hannon for Paul Midgley. If all 16 runners go to post, an each-way wager should be rewarded.
ATLANTIC SUN (3.00) has risen up the ratings but looked an improving three-year-old when running fifth to Lumiere in a Listed event at HQ last time.
The colt is at his best on quick ground and posted a fine debut effort at Ascot in May when chasing home useful Tabarrak. Gary Mahon claims 5lb and it looks a shrewd move booking an apprentice.
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