Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with eight to follow on Saturday at Ascot, Newmarket and Haydock. View selections below
The Shergar Cup takes centre stage at Ascot where Hayley Turner makes her comeback in the saddle after her shock retirement last season. The ‘Golden Girl’ has four mounts this afternoon and may struggle at the Berkshire venue, however team-mates Emma Jayne Wilson and Josephine Gordon have the stronger mounts of the ‘Girls’ team and the latter expected to go close aboard White Shaheen (3.30) in the mile and a half handicap.
The Makfi colt has been progressive since switched handicapping by trainer William Muir; winning on the all-weather at Wolverhampton two starts ago and second last time out at Sandown over a mile and a quarter. The step up in trip should suit and he can reward each-way support with his rider negating 3lb of the 5lb rise in the weights.
Ralph Beckett’s Great Glen (2.20) was well-backed for the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot, running well before failing to stay the 2m trip, and looks well-treated for the mile and a half handicap for older horses. The selection followed-up his run at the royal meeting by bolting-up in a Lingfield maiden under Oisin Murphy, and should be cherry-ripe to go close with Murphy in the plate once more.
Medicean Man (1.15) seldom seems to get his head in front, but looks to have everything in his favour this afternoon and must go close in the sprint handicap from the plumb draw in stall one under Frankie Dettori. The evergreen 10-y-o thrives around Ascot and with the handicapper dropping him a further 2lb he must similarly go close for the in-form yard of Jeremy Gask.
Sir Mark Prescott’s previous course and distance winner Sea of Heaven (1.45) is up 4lb for winning a 2m Handicap last month at the track and should go in under Japanese pilot Kenihi Ikezoe. The well-bred son of Seat the Stars was value for plenty more that day and has conditions to suit to give his ‘Rest of the World’ pilot a first Ascot success.
Godolphin have some beautifully-bred debutants at Newmarket with Wuheida (2.05) a confident selection to score under James Doyle. The daughter of Dubawi couldn’t be better bred for the job, her dam was an impressive winner of the Fillies’ Mile, and she can build on the 38% strike-rate the boys in blue are enjoying with the juveniles this season.
Doyle surprisingly partners Grecian Light in the feature G3 Sweet Soleria Stakes, getting off stablemate Easy Victory after guiding her to an impressive success at last month’s July Meeting. The fact that the Doyler partners Grecian Light (3.15) has to give a huge thumbs up to the Shamardal filly given he was second to her aboard well-backed favourite Voice of Light when she made a winning debut under James McDonald on last month’s July Course. Godolphin have an outstanding record in the group three contest, winning five of the last seven renewals, and should make that 6 in 8 this afternoon.
William Buick leads the Godolphin challenge at Haydock where Scottish (3.45) is a warm favourite for the feature Rose of Lancaster Stakes. The selection built on an excellent third on his seasonal reappearance in the BetVictor Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown, winning at listed level last time out at Newbury, and is a confident selection to continue his upward curve upped in grade.
We’ve saved the best ‘til last with Gershwin (4.15) today’s best bet of the day for David Lanigan and George Baker in the handicap over an extended mile and a quarter. I am still at a loss how the colt didn’t score last time out at Ascot, travelling to the front still on the bit inside the final 2f before chinned on the line, but that form has worked out particularly well and he is likewise a confident selection to make amends from a 5lb higher mark.