We’ve teamed up with BetVictor’s Charlie McCann to preview the day’s racing.
Royal Ascot, which begins on Tuesday, is the highlight of the Flat season in Britain and this weekend is low-key as a result although York stage what promises to be an informative card this afternoon.
Marmelo (3.00) has a rare run in Britain for Hughie Morrison in the listed race for stayers over the best part of a-mile-and-three-quarters. This represents a drop in class for a horse who was only beaten a neck by the excellent French stayer Vazirabad at Longchamp last month.
Ryan Moore takes over in the saddle for the first time and showers are forecast for the Knavesmire. The selection (2/1 with BetVictor) may have most to fear from Weekender who may have gone off too hard in the Henry II Stakes over two miles on ground softer than ideal last time.
Jason Watson gets on well with Foxtrot Lady (6/1 at BetVictor) and this filly has an excellent chance in the valuable six-furlong sprint, but I must give another chance to Beshaayir (3.35) who fly-jumped the start at Musselburgh last time and failed to handle that tight right-handed track.
The selection finished a length-and-a-half in front of Foxtrot Lady when winning at Newbury as a two-year-old and the William Haggas-trained filly is 5lbs better off today although that is negated by the excellent Watson’s 5lb claim. Beshaayir is 7/1 with BetVictor and it would not be a surprise if she were the subject of a gamble as she is open to significant improvement back on this more conventional track.
Rathbone (4.40) finished best of all when third over the minimum trip on debut and today’s additional furlong looks sure to suit Kevin Ryan’s colt who looks to have the Mark Johnston trained filly Pink Flamingo (Ryan Moore booked) to beat.
At Sandown, Flavius Titus is likely to be all the rage following his recent Doncaster win but he is 10lbs higher in the weights and he looked to in need of a step up to a mile despite winning last time. I hope there is more to come from Mutakatif (3.50) this season and hope the Charlie Hills trained colt can make a winning reappearance.
Kassar would surely have gone close to winning when fourth here over a mile last time and today’s additional furlong should suit. I’m not too happy with the draw of Ibraz (4.25) in stall seven (of 11) but I was very impressed with his Nottingham win last time when he won his maiden at the third time of asking.
The selection is owned by Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum who also has Mahaarat – visored for the first time – and the latter is likely to try and make all from his good draw in stall one. I hope he helps set the race up for Jim Crowley’s mount.
There is rain forecast at Hexham and I’m not convinced that will suit Alan King’s likely favourite The Unit in the 2m 4f Novices Chase and preference is for Jacks Last Hope (3.20) despite the fact that Chris Grant’s Perth winner must give The Unit 6lbs.
Chaleur (2.10) was drawn out wide when a promising second at Kempton on her racecourse debut behind a promising Charlie Appleby-trained filly. Ralph Beckett’s filly must transfer that form to turf at Leicester this afternoon, but there is no reason why that should be an issue and the Ralph Beckett filly is potentially smart.
Kaser (7.10) has been gelded since disappointing on turf at Lingfield last time but he had shown enough on his two all-weather starts to suggest he would be up to winning from an opening mark of 78.
At Fontwell, I am loath to desert Midnight Bliss in the 3m 2f chase but that wasn’t a great race and a 13lbs rise might just be enough to prevent her following up. I just favour Barlow (7.25) coming back from a near 200-day lay-off for Emma Lavelle whose string are in such good form. He is very well handicapped on his best form and he looks the sort who might be best caught fresh.
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