As I touched upon at the start of the week it is a busy weekend of action with plenty to get involved with here in the UK and in Ireland. Trueshan will concede upwards of 19lb to the field in the Jenningsbet Northumberland Plate at Newcastle due off at 3.30. It is surely an impossible task and I think, similar to last season when he was sixth, connections are using this as a springboard to bigger targets later in the season when the Turf gets softer.
That’s enough about bets you can’t have, below are my fancies for the weekend. It’s a busy hour between three and four on Saturday!
Best bets for the horse racing at Newmarket Saturday
They get underway at Newmarket at 1.00 with the 7f It's Racing Staff Week Maiden Fillies' Stakes for two-year-olds. I wanted to back Fairy Cross but she is odds-on and unbackable. Rebel's Romance had a terrible time in Meydan getting well beaten twice and runs on grass for the first time in the 1m4f Listed Fred Archer Stakes at 2.40. Tempted as I am I can’t back him off those runs in Dubai.
The 7f Group Three House Of Cavani Menswear Criterion Stakes at 3.15 looks a fair race and I fancy one here. Sunray Major has been set some difficult tasks thus far this season by Juddmonte and Gosden but can gain a well-deserved first victory of 2022 in this. He went well for a long way in the G.2 bet365 Mile at Sandown on seasonal debut, fading out of contention in final furlong. Was asked a huge question in the G.1 Lockinge over a mile at Newbury in May but again went well for a long way before unable to live with the likes of Baaeed and Real World and then wasn’t beaten far when fourth in the 7f G.3 John Of Gaunt Stakes at Haydock at the end of May; Laneqash a neck ahead in second. Pogo will surely give this field a nice target to follow and I think the son of Dubawi is the one to swoop late. James Doyle rides with Dettori apparently on the naughty step and the cheekpieces have gone on. I have the 15-8.
Best bets for the horse racing at Windsor Saturday
The mile Listed Vickers.Bet Midsummer Stakes at 3.20 down by the river Thames is a select little affair with just four runners now that Chindit won’t run. My Oberon and Tyrrhenian Sea are both above average and have chances but I have to be on Modern News despite the chestnut having to give them 3lb. An impressive winner of the Listed Royal Windsor Stakes over track and trip earlier this campaign, he is one I have tipped before including when second in the G.3 1m½f Cazoo Diomed Stakes at Epsom earlier this month. Supersub Adam Kirby gets the ride and he is worth an investment at 13-8.
Best bets for the horse racing at the Curragh Saturday
A field of six go to post in the Group Two 6f GAIN Railway Stakes at 3.05 which is always a race to note with some big names on the roll of honour. Three of these, Age Of Kings, Blackbeard and Crispy Cat all ran at Royal Ascot and arrive on a bit of a recovery mission having all been beaten. I tipped Blackbeard in the G.2 Coventry and he was far from disgraced in fourth and should get back to winning ways here as I still think he might be one to keep on side not just at two but in the future. I have the 7-4 overnight with Power.
The Group One 1m4f Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby is due off at 3.45. I backed Piz Badile at Epsom and he was somewhat disappointing finishing twelfth. Trainer Donnacha O'Brien said in the build-up "He’s come out of Epsom well. I think the Curragh will suit him better, it’s a bit more of an even track. We didn’t really get a proper feeler for a mile and a half at Epsom because he didn’t seem to run his race." Winner of the Cazoo Oaks at Epsom, the day she actually turned three, Tuesday will race against the colts here. It is of course unusual for a filly to run in a Derby, the last filly to win this was Balanchine in 1994, but she has to be considered off the back of her Oaks win at Epsom. You can be sure ‘the lads’ from Ballydoyle aren’t running her just for fun and she does get the 3lb sex-allowance. Her form is more than fair having been third in the 1,000 Guineas she was second in the Irish 1,000, behind the very talented Homeless Songs, before winning at Epsom. The question marks for me are she was probably lucky to hold-on from Emily Upjohn at Epsom and as for the rest of the field you could argue she beat a bunch of non-stayers at the level– Nashwa won the French Oaks over 1m2f next time by a diminishing short-head, I think backing-up the theory. Westover was third at Epsom and trainer Ralph Beckett said this week "He goes to the Curragh on Saturday with all our ducks in a row. Ground and track will certainly suit him." Three-time Itish champion Colin Keane has been booked to ride with Epsom pilot Rob Hornby missing out. The colt met trouble in running when a fast-finishing third behind Desert Crown at Epsom and has to be considered, especially in a smaller field with less traffic to deal with. I am backing the Juddmonte runner at 7-4 overnight in the belief he will see out the trip better than the rest.
Best bet for the horse racing at the Curragh Sunday
The fillies take centre stage in Ireland on Sunday with a couple of Group races on the card. Statuette will be odds-on favourite for the Group Two 6f Airlie Stud Stakes after her debut win over 5½f at Navan last month, beating Olivia Maralda; the same filly was beaten by the opposing Zarinsk on her debut six-days earlier! On a strict interpretation of the form line through Olivia Maralda the Ballydoyle runner should win. but can't be backed at the price.
The 1m2f Group One Pretty Polly Stakes at 3.45 is the race of the day Sunday. Petite Coco and Dreamloper have the best form in the book but have to give 12lb to the three-year-olds in this which is a pretty big ask. Concert Hall won a 1m2f Listed race at Navan in April before finishing third in the Irish 1,000 Guineas over the mile behind Homeless Songs and Tuesday and then fourth in the 1m4f Oaks at Epsom behind Tuesday, Emily Upjohn and subsequent French Oaks winner Nashwa, which looks decent form all in all. This trip may prove her ideal and she can gain her first top-level victory here. I took the big looking 7-1 with Paddy Power Friday afternoon - as short as 11-2 in places at the time.Be lucky