Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes Tips (Group1) 1Mile Newbury Saturday

It is fifteen years since Aidan O’Brien has won The Lockinge (with the brilliant Hawk Wing) and indeed he has drawn a complete blank with all eleven contenders, failing to even secure a place, but he mounts a serious looking challenge this year with four entries at the time of writing, War Decree, Deauville, Lancaster Bomber, Rhododendron. Of the four, if the vibes are correct, the two to concentrate on are the the son of War Front, Lancaster Bomber, and the daughter of Galileo, Rhododendron.

Despite having only a single victory from his sixteen starts, a Leopardstown Maiden in August 2016, on his C.V. Lancaster Bomber has managed to amass prize money approaching £1000,000 from some excellent performances at Group1 level. He was only 1 1/2L behind stable companion, Churchill, when finishing 4th in last year’s 2000Gns, and finished a length second to Barney Roy, putting in a top class effort in the St James’s Palace at Royal Ascot. He could also count seconds in The Woodbine Mile and The Breeders Cup, together with a close fifth in the Hong Kong Mile, all Group1 contests, amongst last terms achievements so is a proven Group1 player. He disappointed at Meydan on his reappearance, but drawn 12, had to race wide the whole way and is easily forgiven. A son of War Front the key to Lancaster Bomber is the ground and given a fast surface at the weekend must have serious prospects of getting win number two on the scoreboard.

Rhododendron_oddsguruHaving won twice at the top level, and finished second in both the 1000Gns and Oaks last year, Rhododendron (pictured) is clearly out of the top drawer, and put in another excellent effort when runner up in the Breeders Cup over a mile last November. Probably needing the run, she put in a satisfactory performance when finishing 5th behind Cracksman at Longchamp on her reappearance 20 days ago over 10 1/2f which should have put her spot on for Saturday. She won the Group1 Dubai Fillies Mile as a 2yo on Good/Firm ground very comfortably from stable companion Hydrangea so should find Saturday’s test ideal and looks the one to beat.

The Henry Candy trained 6yo, Limato has won nine of his nineteen starts, two of them at the top level. His first Group1 success was in the 2016 July Cup at Newmarket and he followed up by winning the 7f Group1 Prix De La Foret at Chantilly the same year. Reported to be fit and well and with ground conditions likely to be in his favour the big question mark concerning Candy’s speedster has to be his failure to ever win over a mile. However he was 4th behind Belardo in the 2016 renewal and the way he has won over 7f does suggest that Saturday’s trip should be within his compass.

Having won five of his seven starts, the Andrew Balding trained 4yo, Beat The Bank’s career is clearly on a sharp upward trajectory. Unraced as a 2yo, he won his first race, a lowly Dundalk Maiden on the All Weather in February 2017, and six months later found him in the Newmarket Winners Enclosure having won his fifth race, the Group2 Shadwell Joel Stakes by 5L from The Aidan O’Brien trained Sir John Lavery. Having been on the go for seven months he can be excused his poor run in the Queen Elizabeth 11 a month later, and if the son of Paco Boy has maintained his progress over the Winter, Beat The Bank will be a threat to all.

Another animal whose best days are probably ahead of him is the Roger Varian trained 5yo Zabeel Prince. Very lightly raced, he has only had the six starts, and was quite impressive in the last of them, winning the Listed, Doncaster Mile, pretty comfortably from the front, eight weeks ago. Having his first run for 154 days, he made all, and pulled clear in the final furlong to register his fourth success. While Saturday’s test is a big step up, Roger, who won with Belardo two years ago, feels that it is only now, as a 5yo that Zabeel Prince is reaching his full potential, and it won’t come as a surprise to see him involved on Saturday.

Connections of the 4yo Addeybb, clearly knew they had a Group horse in the making when he trotted up in The Lincoln, landing a substantial gamble, and so it proved five weeks later when the son of Pivotal won the Group2, bet365 Mile at Sandown quite impressively. He is now on a mark of 117 which puts him right in the mix for Saturday but firm ground would be a concern. Four of his five victories have been achieved with soft in the going description, and the fifth, (Ascot July 17 Good) was won in a time suggestive of a slower surface. However he looks to be an animal going places, and while plenty of horses by Pivotal do handle soft ground really well, it is by no means a prerequisite for his offspring.

Selection: Rhododendron

E.W. : Lancaster Bomber

John Gray

Diamond Jubilee Stakes (Group1) 6f Royal Ascot Saturday

Trainer Henry Candy has a fine chance landing the spoils for a second consecutive year.

Henry Candy and Ryan Moore teamed up to win this last year with Twilight Son, and they must be entertaining strong hopes of bringing off the double with the talented son of Tagula, Limato, this year. The 5yo started last seasons campaign over a mile at Newbury where he finished fourth. He then returned to his optimum trip of six furlongs in The Group1 July Cup at Newmarket, and he showed what he was capable of. He put up a blinding performance to beat Suedois by 2L, when, taking it up over 1f out, he stormed clear, earning the highest speed rating of any 6f sprinter all season, and leaving four of Saturday’s opponents, Suedois, Washington DC, Magical Memory, and Jungle Cat in his wake. He couldn’t quite get to grips with the speedy Mecca’s Angel in the Group1 5f Nunthorpe Stakes at York, but still put up another very solid performance on the clock when finishing second. He showed what a versatile performer he is when taking the 7f Group1 Prix De La Foret on Arc Day in his next race, but may just have had the one visit to the well too many, when only finishing 6th over a mile at The Breeders Cup in November. He made his seasonal debut nearly five months later in a 6f Meydan Group1, and on ground he wouldn’t have liked, can be excused his poor showing in tenth place. On his two previous course and distance appearances at Ascot, (both on good/firm) he has won a Group3, and finished second in the inaugural running of the Group1 Commonwealth Cup, he’s trained by one of the best handlers of sprinters around, and has the best jockey in the world in the plate, so what’s not to like!

Having won with Society Rock in 2011 James Fanshawe knows what is required and his 5yo, The Tin Man is of definite interest.The son of Equiano made a great start to last year’s campaign winning easily at Windsor and was then sent off a warm order at 7/2 to win last years renewal of the Diamond Jubilee, but could only finish a disappointing eighth. However he subsequently proved the form all wrong by winning his next race, a Newbury Group3, finishing second to the outstanding filly, Quiet Reflection, in Haydock’s Group1 Sprint, and finally, taking the Group1 Champion Sprint over course and distance in October. He made a satisfactory reappearance in a York Group2 where he had to carry a 5lbs penalty for his Group1 success finishing 5th to Saturday’s opponent Tasleet, who had the benefit of a previous outing. While The Tin Man acts on a good/firm surface, (has won three times on it) the suspicion lingers that he prefers softer and is worth particular consideration if there is any rain.

Despite a tardy start in last year’s contest the Charlie Hills trained Magical Memory ran a great race to finish fourth, only 1/2L behind the winner on good/soft ground, and indeed, some observers feel that had he been held onto a little longer might have gone very close to winning. The rest of his season went the wrong way but this impressive winner of The Stewards Cup as a 3yo and the winner of two consecutive group races last year, made an encouraging start to this campaign when finishing second to Tasleet in a York Group2 thirty eight days ago on soft ground. Well suited by a good/firm surface, it looks as if he will have his optimum conditions on Saturday and is one for the shortlist.

Tasleet’s win in that York Group2 was achieved purely on merit in a decent time for the conditions, and represented a step up on any of his previous form. The son of Showcasing is clearly progressive but does seem to need some cut to perform to his best so is another who would like to see the heavens open.

The French have never won the race but have a live contender this year with the 6yo The Right Man. A winner of nine of his seventeen starts he put up the best performance of his career last time when winning a Meydan Group1 where he had Long on Value, Jungle Cat, Washington DC, Limato and Finsbury Square behind. A repeat performance would certainly put the son of Lope De Vega in Saturday’s picture but he is yet another who seems to enjoy some give underfoot.
Selection : Limato

E.W. : Magical Memory

John Gray

32Red Sprint Cup Betting Tips

 

32Red Sprint Cup Betting Tips

The Charlie Hills trained 4yo gelding, Magical Memory is the Oddsguru’s selection for Saturday.

32Red Sprint Cup Stakes Group1 6f Haydock Saturday – First run in 1966, it was promoted to Group 1 status in 1988, and having bagged nine of the intervening twenty seven renewals, the classic generation have certainly had their fair share of the spoils. They are strongly represented again this year by the three fillies, Dancing Star, Only Mine, and Quiet Reflection. Henry Candy has been the most successful handler with two winners, the 7yo Markab in 2010, and last year with the 3yo, Twilight Son. It hasn’t been a great contest for the Irish with Tom Hogan’s, Gordon Lord Byron in 2013, being their sole winner since Vincent O’Brien collected with Abergwaun in 1972.

The Candy yard runs two with leading chances, last year’s victor, Twilight Son, and the hugely impressive winner of the Group1 6f July Stakes, Limato. This 4yo gelding cruised home over Newmarket’s 6f but couldn’t cope with the speedy Mecca’s Angel when dropped back to 5f in York’s Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes last time. However there was no disgrace in coming second and if he gets his “must have” fast conditions at the weekend will be hard to beat. If the ground softens Twilight Son will be the preferred candidate, and this 4yo colt has strong credentials. Having won this last year by a Shd from Strath Burn, he went on to further Group1 glory when taking the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at the Royal Meeting in a Blanket finish, with Saturday’s opponent Magical Memory less than 1/2L further back in 4th. Back on fast ground in the July Cup he finished a disappointing 14th behind stable companion Limato, but given his preferred easy surface at the weekend he could quite possibly add another Group1 to his already burgeoning C.V. enhancing further, his already attractiveness, as a future stallion.

The Charlie Hills trained 4yo gelding, Magical Memory finished third, less than a length behind Twilight Son in this last year, and made a great start to this season, winning the Group 3 Abernant Stakes, and the Group2 Duke of York Stakes in his first two races. He looked a tad unlucky when finishing a close 4th in the Diamond Jubilee, and again didn’t get the best of runs when finishing 7th in the July Cup. A slight setback has given him an enforced eight week holiday, a break from which his trainer thinks he has definitely benefited, and if this impressive winner of last years Stewards Cup turns up with his A game he is going to trouble them all.

This year’s winner of the Goodwood cavalry charge, the3yo filly Dancing Star, also came home in great style and looked a group class filly in the making. However she did have the best of the draw in the Stewards Cup and it remains to be seen how she will cope in this her first run at the top level.

The other 3yo filly Quiet Reflection has already run in two Group 1s, winning the first of them, the Commonwealth Cup at the Royal Meeting, and finishing 3rd last time, in the July Cup. This was a particularly meritorious effort as the suspicion lingers that she wasn’t well suited by that her first run on fast ground so if the rain arrives she will make them all go.

The 4yo gelding Strath Burn nearly caused an upset in this last year when going down by a Shd at odds of 33/1. Having disappointed in his next three runs he moved from Charlie Hills to sprint maestro Robert Cowell. His first run for his new yard was disappointing but he showed rather more last time, when a running on 3rd behind veteran, Kingsgate Native over an inadequate 5f. Substantial further progress is required but Cowell may be the man to find it and that blinding performance in last year’s renewal on his only course appearance makes him one to consider.

Four of the last 12 winners of this came from the Group1 Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deuville and this year’s race saw the Richard Fahey trained Donjuan Triumphant finish 2nd with David O’Meara’s 5yo gelding Suedois a couple of necks further back in 4th. The O’Meara horse had previously run a great race to finish second in The July Cup And meets Donjuan Triumphant on 4lbs better terms. Close up behind Twilight Son in the Diamond Jubilee and only 1/2L behind Magical Memory in the Duke of York he doesn’t have a lot to find and it wouldn’t be a great surprise if his talented trainer found it.

Selection: Magical Memory

E.W.  :  Suedois

Sandy Lane Stakes Betting Tips (6f) 3.45 Haydock Saturday

Limito

The Sandy Lane Stakes has been elevated to Group2 level, and as a result, has attracted some of the best 3yo sprinting talent, not least Henry Candys speedster, Limato.

The Sandy Lane Stakes has been elevated to Group2 level, and as a result, has attracted some of the best 3yo sprinting talent, not least Henry Candy’s speedster, Limato. Unbeaten in his previous four races, the Tagula gelding stepped up to Group class for the first time five weeks ago, and took the challenge in his stride, scoring easily from Tendu and Adaay, in an Ascot Group3. The form was upheld with Adaay collecting a hot Newbury listed race seventeen days later, so Limato’s credentials look convincing.

Charles Hills runs his lightly raced Exceed and Excel colt, Salt Island, and it would be no surprise to see him involved at the business end. A winner of a Windsor maiden as a 2yo, He comfortably won a Newmarket handicap off a mark of 93 on his reappearance in April. Spencer found all sorts of trouble in his next race behind Adaay at Newbury, and at the very least should have finished a lot closer to the winner. Salt Islands trainer holds him in high regard, and expects a very positive performance at the weekend.

Tim Easterby’s Indesatchel colt Mattmu, ran a great race for a 3yo in the Group2 Duke of York stakes on the Knavesmire seventeen days ago, when just nabbed on the line by the 5yo Glass Office, with six year old Jack Dexter a neck behind in third. This shouldn’t have come as any great surprise as the Easterby horse had won a 6f Group2 (soft) at Maisson-Lafitte last November, but the York performance certainly showed that He has trained on and does not need a soft surface to perform to his optimum. One for the short list.

If that master trainer of sprinters Edward Lynam sends his Starspangledbanner filly Anthem Alexander across the Irish Sea for this, She would be worth considering. She beat the wonderful Tiggy Wiggy fair and square at Royal Ascot, over 5f, but had to give best in their two meetings over 6f. However there was no disgrace in that, and if at the top of her game for her reappearance, would be a threat to all.

Selection:Limato

Danger:Mattmu