Musselburgh 1.55 – Western Duke
With another southern raider taking a chunk out of the market, this looks the time to be on Western Duke, who ran really well at Ascot last time and could easily have finished closer had he not got too far back in a steadily run race. Reverend Jacobs clearly warrants great respect, but had a hard enough race at York and may not want the ground too lively.
Haydock 2.15 – Sea Youmzain
I think this filly is one of the best bets of the day. She won very tidily at Nottingham, not only her first handicap but also her first opportunity to race on a sound surface. She looks a strong galloper, so the step up in trip and the long straight should suit, plus she has the irresistible Silvestre de Sousa in the saddle.
Musselburgh 2.30 – El Astronaute
You could argue that the handicapper is trying to make him pay for his own consistency, but John Quinn’s sprinter is an absolute warrior who looks drawn to make another very bold bid up the
stands’ side rail. He seems to be able to harness his brazen speed that bit more effectively this season, finishing out his races more evenly, hence the slight improvement. There are a few in here who are starting to look well handicapped, most notably last year’s winner Line of Reason, who is comfortably the most compelling threat to the selection at the prices.
Haydock 2.50 – God Given
This sister to the very talented Postponed has a fair dose of the family ability, and might just take a hand in a filies’ Group One before the season is done. She wasn’t beaten too far in a very strong Listed race at Ascot last time behind really smart colts and a race like this should be well within her range. She was rather fresh and keen that day, and should come on considerably for the run. it’s worth noting that German trainer Marcus Klug ran two horses with credit at Epsom last week and his improving and nicely bred Fosun is quite an interesting dark horse with SDS booked.
Newmarket 3.05 – Grand Koonta (E/W)
He didn’t run nearly as well as I or the late market move expected at Goodwood last time, but it was Grand Koonta’s first run of the season and got a Goodwood buffeting late in the race. In addition, Gerald Mosse didn’t abuse him when he was beaten, and he might be able to reward that kindness in a significantly less competitive race here (and at a pretty big price to boot). Bits of his two year old form make him look well handicapped and he’s held in very high regard by his connections.
Haydock 3.25 – Judicial
Although Muthmir is much the highest rated of these and comes out best at the weights, he’s a frustrating customer these days. By contrast, Judicial remains firmly on the upgrade if his second in the Palace House on his comeback is to be trusted. He’s got loads of form on summer ground and ran a screamer on his inly previous visit here. He’s from a family that matures nicely with age and can win this en route to better things. At a bigger price, Blue de Vega – a strong finishing fourth in the Dash last week – is easily talented enough to outrun his odds.
Newmarket 3.40 – Golden Wolf
This is a smashing horse who has been tremendously consistent for Richard Hughes and who was unlucky enough to run in to the best handicapped horse in training in Dash of Spice last weekend.
Provided that has not left its mark, Golden Wolf should run a bold race again, particularly as so much of his pedigree (he’s a half to a 14 furlong winner from the extended family of Yeats) screams that he’ll improve for the step up in distance.
Haydock 4.00 – Dutch Connection
At first glance, his form figures suggest a lack of consistency, but delve a little deeper and you’ll see how deadly he can be over seven furlongs in any race shy of Group One company. Ally that to a superb comeback run when he travelled like the best horse for most of the Lockinge and add in his trainer’s remarks about how much he thrived over the winter, and he is a pretty compelling bet even allowing for relatively cramped odds.
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.