This truly is the calm before the storm! Royal Ascot is very nearly upon us and we’ll have a ton of information at the ready for that during the week, but for now there remain plenty of weekend betting opportunities.
Friday 11th June 2021
4.00 York (Ganton Stakes – Listed Race) – AFAAK
We have just the one bet to small stakes on Friday and it comes in the one-mile Listed race. At a glance, this looks more like one of those run of the mill conditions races, the type used by trainers to get a win into some rather ‘out of sorts’ types.
There are some great achievements in among the form of this bunch, but most of it is either out of date or hasn’t been achieved in these quick conditions.
Azano may well prove to be the best of the bunch, his you couldn’t be confident he’ll show his best over this trip. Duke Of Hazzard, Qaysar and Space Traveller are all dangerous on paper but the smart play may be Afaak.
Charlie Hills’s admirable handicapper is seven now. He goes well fresh, won the 2019 Royal Hunt Cup first time out, and has always struggled having landed big races with his rating.
That rating doesn’t look so lofty now, but he remains thoroughly capable of running to a mark of 100+ and will be the one suited best by the race conditions, meaning at potential double-figure odds he can be backed.
Saturday 12th June 2021
1.05 Sandown (Handicap) – SILENT FILM
Run To Freedom is the one for money here having beaten Highland Avenue last season when last seen. He may well improve again, but he’s done all of his good work on the all-weather at Kempton and so doubts remain about the favourite first time out for the campaign on turf.
The most interesting runner in the field is Charlie Appleby’s Silent Film. The New Approach gelding is having only his fourth career start and is nowhere close to having run his best races yet.
He wasn’t great at Wolverhampton last time, but the extended mile on the Tapeta wasn’t his bag and so the drop back to seven furlongs on the grass should prove to be perfect.
At Epsom in April, he was carried right and only just missed out on a second win, while looking at the overall form of that performance makes it possible that he runs to a mark of around 95+ here which makes him well handicapped off 89.
2.15 Sandown (Scurry Stakes – Listed Race) – STEEL BULL
First Edition has a solid each-way chance for Clive Cox, while likely favourite Atalis Bay won at Nottingham before chasing home Winter Power at York which is the best recent form on offer.
Very interesting at the odds however is Irish runner Steel Bull. His season-opener at Naas was very poor, probably due to the ground, but last season a couple of forays to England brought about exactly the sort of performances we want to see.
In September he was a close fifth in the Flying Childers, and before that at Goodwood where speed really matters, he blasted his way to a fine Molecomb Stakes win. With natural improvement back on a good racing surface he may prove too good for these under Leigh Roche.
2.50 Sandown (Handicap) – LATEST GENERATION
There seem to be gaps here between the top three on private ratings which is always nice to see as a punter. Dogged is solid enough, but is some way behind potential favourite King’s Knight. If all is well with Simon & Ed Crisford’s Latest Generation however, they may all be struggling to keep up.
Their three-year-old Frankel colt made a great debut when not beaten at all far by One Ruler and Maximal. He then comfortably beat Stay Well, now rated 90 after an easy Windsor win, Moktasaab who is favourite for a race on Friday and Side Shot (see below).
He went off only 5/1 for the Autumn Stakes won by One Ruler last season and 9/2 for the race at Newbury won by Derby third Hurricane Lane this, so we can tell just how high he ranks.
Down to a mile he can rediscover his best form, nay improve on it, and as a tough type he should actually be suited by going up against the older horses and receiving plenty of weight.
3.20 Chester (Handicap) – SIDE SHOT
This is a mile-and-a-half race at Chester, so a Mark Johnston horse ridden by Franny Norton has to be considered dangerous and indeed Love Is Golden is the one feared. This trip can bring about more improvement from a horse going the right way overall – Side Shot.
He is just about the outsider of the field at time of writing, albeit in a very tight market, with his form and speed figures being enough to make us thinks that the trip could be well worthwhile for the Gosden team and Rab Havlin with their only runner on the card.
3.40 York (Handicap) – AKIDO
Another sprint race, another Irish entrant and another betting opportunity. In a very competitive six-furlong event finding something with weight in hand is all-important. Charlie Hills pair Dark Shift and Jadwal could be thereabouts, the latter certainly, but Akido may well be the one to be on.
Ger Lyons’s Dandy Man three-year-old reached a good level last time at Dundalk and only had to be encouraged along to do it. There is plenty more in the locker and he could be very well handicapped indeed for this race.
5.40 Leicester (Novice Stakes) – PULCHERIA
This is a four-runner, two-year-old novice stakes the prices for which aren’t published as this is written. There could yet be a betting opportunity however.
We mention Pulcheria on the proviso that Mark Johnston’s Madame Ambassador is given favouritism after her runner-up effort on debut, giving us a backable price about the Charlie Appleby horse.
Madame Ambassador’s form is possibly not good enough to stop one of these regally bred types from Godolphin over seven furlongs on this sort of ground, so a debut win becomes likely. William Buick comes here to ride this rather than the likes of Silent Film at Sandown.