3.05 Ribblesdale Stakes
This Group Two race sees many unlucky fillies return from desperately unlucky runs in the Epsom Oaks. The Fugue was probably the chief sufferer in a race marred by traffic problems. Kailani was done no favours either and Shirocco Star didn’t exactly get a dream run through. Vow seemed to have the run of the race at Epsom, but her rider, Johnny Murtagh, felt she didn’t fully act on the track. Vow was probably the most disappointing given the circumstances, but she was probably the one horse who wasn’t in love with the pedestrian gallop. Some new fillies are thrown into the mix now, however, so it it’s not going to be easy for the Oaks fillies. Princess Highway of Dermot Weld’s is a well-regarded filly, but I have my reservations about her over this trip. For me, ten furlongs looks ideal for her so on this rain softened ground she may be outstayed late on. The Queens MOMENTARY is an interesting contender especially given her price in comparison to the Oaks runner-up, Shirocco Star. Michael Bell’s filly beat her fair and square in a Newbury Listed race where Hughie Morrison’s filly had the race run to suit when gaining cover throughout. Momentary however, was always up in the van and saw plenty of daylight. Given how Michael Bell trains she is sure to come on a tonne for the run – the one drawback is her draw, but Hayley Turner is a top rider and can hopefully offset this undesirable variable. The Fugue ran a massive race in the Oaks and looked considerably better than her field. She looks a little on the short side in the betting, but I can’t resist a small win bet on her. A deluge of rain would harm her chances, though.
Advice: 1pt win THE FUGUE @5-2 (general) & 1.5pts each-way MOMENTARY @13-2 (Ladbrokes – betting w/o The Fugue)
3.45 – Gold Cup
The week’s feature and most prestigious race has attracted a classy looking field of 9. Fame And Glory is bidding for back-to-back Gold Cups after a stunning victory in last year’s centre piece. He looks set to go off odds on, but for me, that is a terrible price. I’m not saying he won’t win, but he won last year at 11-8f in a weaker race. It’s clear he has Opinion Polls measure as each time they have raced he has beaten the Godolphin runner well. That said, on both occasions Fame And Glory has had dream runs through while Opinion Poll has had to wait for gaps and/or come wide to really challenge the. If ridden closer to the Ballydoyle runner he may be able to get closer. He is a thoroughly likeable and tough horse and one of my favourites in training, but he, like the favourite, has two up-and-coming stayers to contend with; Colour Vision and Sadler’s Rock. Both horses are progressive, have a turn of foot and look challengers to Fame And Glory. Of the two I’m just coming round to SADLER’S ROCK whose Doncaster Cup win marked him down as a classy rival. He beat Opinion Poll easily this day, but he was receiving 17 pounds. He obviously has to step-up, but significant improvement can take place from three to four in a horse’s career – Frankel, case and point. The rain around is a concern, but in an open Gold Cup he looks a decent e/w bet to nothing as I’m not willing to back the favourite at a shades of odds-on. For racing it would great if Fame And Glory won, but he doesn’t strike me as a betting opportunity.
Advice: 1.5pts each-way SADLER’S ROCK @9-2 (general)
4.25 – Britannia Stakes
Another cavalry charge here with 30 runners set to go to post. Often with these big field handicaps the stats can help guide us and rule out a number of horses. Historically, horses carrying over 9 stone have poor records. Last time out winners, surprisingly, have poor records. Horse that weren’t placed last time out also seem to struggle, but I may take this stat with a pinch of salt. The first 6 in the market usually go well, as do the favourites. The horses I have shortlisted include Born To Surprise, Fast Or Free, Mississippi and Trader Jack. With the pace seemingly drawn low to middle horses drawn stand side may struggle in this race. Mississippi is a doubtful stayer for me so the ones to concentrate on are the remaining three. Born To Surprise is held in high-regard by his trainer and looks to be well handicapped. The one worry with him is that he boils over in the preliminaries so he needs a paddock inspection and a look at going to post. FAST OR FREE impressed when winning at Newmarket last time out. He travelled well and looks a real trier while still displaying signs of greenness. It looks like there is more to come and with connections feeling he’ll get further he should be staying on late. The recent rain is also a bonus. The rain will also have helped TRADER JACK who has been put up by some shrewd judges already today. He was an eye-catching runner at Goodwood three weeks where he tanked through the race and travelled best before giving way to a progressive horse. That form looks solid now and he is another who will be staying on late. I’ll be trying to get rich again in this race and playing Born To Surprise, Fast Or Free and Trader Jack in reverse forecast and combination tri-casts.
Advice: 1pt each-way FAST OR FREE @8-1 (general) and 1pt each-way TRADER JACK @10-1 (general)