Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Ascot, Newmarket and Redcar on Saturday. View selections below.
GROWL (3.40) could be the answer to a fiercely competitive renewal of the Totescoop6 Challenge Cup at Ascot.
Richard Fahey’s gelding has been most consistent this season and only Brando foiled a wholesale gamble in the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup.
Growl looked bit unlucky when fourth in the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood, failing to find a clear passage from a poor draw until keeping on strongly. Both efforts came over six furlongs and this extra yardage should prove no inconvenience as he stayed on well up the Newmarket hill when fourth in the bet365 Bunbury Cup earlier this summer.
Librisa Breeze landed the Gigaset International over course and distance and also chased home Portage in the Royal Hunt Cup on soft ground. The four-year-old finished fourth to Nemoralia in the Group 3 Sky Bet City of York Stakes and rates a danger back at Ascot.
Buckstay won last year’s renewal from stall eight but is 8lb higher which makes a follow-up unlikely.
Of more interest is Remarkable, an improving three-year-old for John Gosden. He has taken giant strides since landing at Doncaster handicap off 76 in April and last time ran a very creditable fifth to Ribchester in the Group 3 Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot.
The other market principal in with a shout is David O’Meara’s consistent Firmament, up 4lb for finishing second to Dutch Law in the Class 2 Albert Bartlett Handicap over course and distance, with Squats not far behind in fourth.
Squats’s trainer William Haggas also saddles Afjaan and, with Frankier Dettori booked, should go well from a low draw.
KINGS FETE (2.30) has done little wrong this season and can continue his progression by bagging the Gigaset Cumberland Lodge Stakes.
Sir Michael Stoute complicates matters by also saddling well-touted Arab Spring and there is precious little separating them on official ratings.
Kings Fete has been impressive in mopping up two Group 3 contests on his last two starts at Newbury and Goodwood, and was the victim of some barging close home when third in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes here at the royal meeting.
Arab Spring made no show whatsoever behind Postponed in the Juddmonte International at York but his subsequent Kempton success was a bit more like the horse we saw at Haydock finishing third to Royal Artillery following a 436-day absence.
SHALAA (3.05) makes a long overdue reappearance in the John Guest Bengough Stakes, a Group 3 contest over six furlongs.
The Gosden-trained colt rattled off five straight victories last season, culminating in his Group 1 Juddmonte Middle Park success last September.
The betting market will signify any weakness in home confidence returning from his 371-day absence but Shalaa should have too much class for the opposition.
Ridge Ranger will blitz a trail, while Mobsta would benefit from any serious rainfall. Mick Channon’s colt had Don’t Touch behind in fifth when landing a Group 2 contest at the Curragh on deep ground earlier in the season.
Aidan O’Brien’s Alice Springs is a worthy favourite to land the Kingdom Of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket.
She displayed an explosive burst of speed to put the Matron Stakes to bed very quickly at Leopardstown and she broke the track record when winning the Falmouth Stakes at HQ.
French raiders boast an excellent record in this fillies’ Group 1 and at an each-way price VOLTA (4.00) is the recommended bet.
The three-year-old has kept top company this summer, hunting up Qemah at Deauville and running third to La Cressonniere in the Prix De Diane at Chantilly. That 1m 2f trip may have overstretched her stamina reserves and Volta will be more at home returned to a mile and wearing a tongue-tie for the first time.
Another Gallic challenger, the Aga Khan’s Ervedya, also boasts strong credentials having finished third to Ribchester in the Jacques le Marois at Deauville. She sports cheekpieces for the first time.
At Redcar, the totepool Two-Year-Old Trophy is always a challenging sprint to unravel with 23 runners declared but MAZYOUN (3.15) should be on the premises.
Having only a third career start for Hugo Palmer at Doncaster, Mazyoun locked horns with William Haggas’s useful Mubtasim before giving way close home. First-time blinkers could put the edge on Mazyoun.
The likes of Richard Hannon, Richard Fahey and Tim Easterby always mount a serious challenge for this valuable pot and Hannon scooped first prize last year with Log Out Island. He relies on Repton this year and although a bit disappointing when only seventh at Sandown last time, the return to six furlongs may help.
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