Charlie McCann of BetVictor.com marks your weekend card
The most eagerly-awaited week of the flat camapign Royal Ascot begins on Tuesday but competitive action this weekend including at York whose card begins with one of the most valuable races of the season for Lady Amateur Riders.
Azari (1.50) was claimed by Tom Dascombe from Paul Nicholls after winning a 12f Wolverhampton claimer earlier in the month and has his first start for his new yard this afternoon. The gelding didn’t take to hurdles but was a listed winner in Italy as a juvenile and the selection would have every chance if translating his all-weather form to turf.
The market leader for the six-furlong sprint is Ekhtiyaar (4/1 at BetVictor) who has won two of his four career starts and looked good value for his head success over Poet’s Princess at Newmarket last month. That form has not worked out, however, and Golden Apollo (3.30) can follow up his impressive win at Pontefract on Monday under a 6lbs penalty. The selection should get a good tow into the race and he is likely to be finishing fast and late when others have cried enough – at 10/1 with BetVictor he can reward each way support.
Visitant (4.05) was an unlucky loser at Redcar last time although the handicapper has seen fit to raise him 1lb for a close fourth. James Doyle takes over in the saddle with regular pilot Andrew Mullen riding recent Newcastle winner Barwah who steps up in trip. I would be disappointed if he didn’t run into at least a place and is 7/1 at BetVictor.
At Sandown I am looking forward to seeing the return of the unbeaten Love Dreams (3.15) who has been off the track since winning a Pontefract Conditions Stakes back in June. That form isn’t anything special but Mark Johnston has his string in good form and William Buick takes the ride.
Vuela (5.35) is only 3lbs higher than when scoring over a mile-and-a-half at Doncaster last month and this progressive filly must go close stepping up in trip with Jamie Spencer keeping the ride for Newmarket handler Luca Cumani.
At Musselburgh Khamaary (2.35) puts her unbeaten record on the line in the mile handicap. The selection has been raised 16lbs for turning a Redcar handicap into a procession last month but she looked very good on that occasion and she has a good draw in stall four if she wishes to make all.
Great Fighter (3.45) is 6lbs higher than when scoring over 1m 6f here last time but that rise is largely negated by his young pilot taking off 5lbs. I wouldn’t want the selection to get too far back from his plum draw in stall one but if his apprentice can get a good early position, he must go close in a very competitive event.
There is a cracking card at Doncaster tomorrow and Blind Faith (2.00) was backed as if connections were expecting a very big run at Yarmouth on her reappearance but she was tailed off as if something was amiss. I am convinced she is better than that although I hope she does not live up to her name for her supporters!
Humble Hero (3.30) got going far too late at Lingfield last time but was still only beaten a short head. The selection holds an entry in Friday’s Queen’s Vase at Ascot and can make it third time lucky for William Haggas.
At Salisbury Extra Mile (3.15) can go one better than when runner up at Beverley last time when she didn’t get the clearest of runs. Neshmeya was well backed at Sandown on her reappearance but disappointed, although she showed enough as a juvenile to suggest she must go close in this grade.
Classic action from Chantilly and the draw has not been kind to either Shutter Speed or Rhododendron (3.05) in the French Oaks but the latter failed to get home at Epsom (12f) when second to Enable just over two weeks ago and this drop back in trip to this extended 10f should see her in an even better light.
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