They race at Ascot, Newmarket, York, Chester, Salisbury, Lingfield and Newcastle on the Tapeta this Saturday. Quite frankly trying to go through every race in-depth could drive you mad – I tried!
Ascot has two nice 2yo races but they are both best watched for the future rather than punted in to my mind not least as the two I fancied for the races Fairyland (Princess Margaret Keeneland Stakes) and Al Hilalee (Pat Eddery Stakes) won’t be lining up. The bets I will be having follow.
Three-year-old Elarqam takes on older horses for the first time as he bids to get back on track in the Group Two Sky Bet York Stakes on the Knavesmire up at York at 3.15. Fourth in the 2,000 Guineas at HQ he was down the field when jolly for the Irish version and steps up in trip to a1m2½f now. In both races he looked to me to want a little further and with the weight-for-age scale very much in his favour he should prove too good for the opposition here; you can get 7-4.
Saeed bin Suroor had Victory Wave entered for three different races this weekend and the one she runs in is the Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel Dubai Fillies' Handicap over seven furlongs at HQ Newmarket due off 3.25. Was also in the Gigaset International Stakes Ascot and Skybet Britain's Most Popular Online Bookmaker Handicap at York so the fact she comes here looks significant. She looked to love the good-firm going at Docncaster last time and the form of the win looks solid. If she is to tackle races such as the Group Two Park Stakes that she is entered in at Doncaster later in the year she needs to win races such as this. Help yourself to the 6-4.
The Group One King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes is still one of my favourite races of the year and they are due-off over the 1m4f at 3.40. Kew Gardens, my St Leger ante-post punt at 25-1, will not line-up having failed to scope 100 per cent on Wednesday; hopefully all roads lead to Doncaster in September. Aidan O’Brien will now saddle Hydrangea, who will be ridden by Ryan Moore, and Rostropovich. Connections of Cracksman are doing a rain dance in the hope the going eases. Quite frankly I cannot see there being enough rain - the forecast rain failed to hit the track on Thursday night - and unless the big man upstairs has had a bet and we get storms of Biblical magnitude he won’t run. William Buick and James Doyle will both be operating for Sir Michael Stoute with Buick on favourite Crystal Ocean and fellow Royal Ascot winner and 2nd favourite Poet's Word the mount of Doyle. I have a sneaky feeling Crystal Ocean is the better horse over the trip, won the G.2 Hardwicke Stakes over C&D at the Royal meeting, and the patience connections have shown can pay off as he scoops his first G.1 victory here. I have the 5-2.
My old muckers Norma Reeve and Kevin Poulter are at Lingfield Saturday evening (no invite for Triple G) and with small fields and likely smaller prices in most races it could be hard work nicking a couple of bob. That said they should be backing Surrey Blaze in the Mr & Mrs Harber Just Married Handicap at 6.00. The 3yo has won his last two starts looking to relish the mile-and-a-half trip on each occasion and the extra two furlongs here should be right up his street. I think the gelding is ahead of the handicapper and with Finley Marsh doing the steering again taking off 5lb a bold bid for the hat-trick is expected. I have the 2-1. You never know they might even buy me a beer with the winnings – stranger things have happened!