David Massey steers the Punting Pointers team through Saturday's feast of action and he fancies horses at Ascot and Newcastle on a big afternoon.
0.5pts e.w City Wanderer in 1.00 Newcastle at 33/1 (General, 1,2,3,4)
1pt e.w Raising Sand 3.00 Ascot at 20/1 (Hills 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 or SkyBet 1,2,3,4,5,6)
1pt win Carnival Zain in 4.45 Ascot at 8/1 (General)
A solid mention for Ruth Carr’s rank outsider CITY WANDERER here. It’s hard to quantify exactly what ability remains with this formerly useful handicapper (when with Mick Channon, he’s now 21lb below his last winning mark) as the majority of his runs this season have been very moderate, but he did show a bit more at Doncaster two starts ago, going from the front and staying on a bit better than had previously been the case once he’d been headed, and that form couldn’t be working out any better, with no fewer than five of the eight runners there winning since. Last time out at Nottingham he was ridden too close to a pace that collapsed, and he probably didn’t stay the 10f trip anyway, so I’m happy to forgive that.
Being drawn 1 here is a positive if he’s going to lead/race prominently again, and if he can’t get competitive off this mark in what is quite a lowly 0-60, then there’s probably not much hope for him as far as the future goes. As such, he’s worth chancing at 33/1 with four places on offer.
As far as the International goes, both Rory and I have our own theories but he likes my idea of RAISING SAND ending up half the price he is this morning if the rain really comes, but he could still run well regardless.
It’s been a while now since he won one but there’s little doubting that Ascot’s straight track suits him well, and on ground plenty quick enough for him in the Buckingham Handicap last time, “won” his group on the far side of the track. That run suggests he’s still in decent form, the handicapper has been kind in dropping him for it, and he’s just the sort to back with extra places as he’ll be running on well at the finish.
No shortage of pace on for the closing Ladies handicap, with the likes of Alminoor and Alibaba likely to take them along, and it may pay to look for something to come from off it. Zlatan is obvious enough, having refound his form on his last two starts and given both of those have been under today’s pilot, Sophie Smith, that’s clearly a positive. However, at a bigger price the chance of CARNIVAL ZAIN ought not be overlooked.
He was tried over middle distances in France, unsurprisingly given his pedigree, but it’s becoming clear that shorter trips suit him better and he ran a cracker on his first start for his new yard (Micky Hammond, him again) at York over a mile last time, almost running himself into the frame. That ought to have put him spot on for this, and he can come through late with what we hope is a winning challenge.
I’m lumping these two together as the ones of interest are for the same reason, namely they start out with new yards today. Whether they remain in the notebook depends on whether they offer any promise today.
Newbolt (3.20) is an interesting recruit to the Kevin Frost yard. Ralph Beckett has seemingly lost patience with him, having tried a visor at Chelmsford last time and although he was third at Chelmsford to one that went in again next time, he was well held at the finish. My first reaction - given Kevin trains near Southwell, and Newbolt is a Fibresand winner - was that he’d bought him with the final Fibresand day at Southwell next month in mind, but having looked at the card, there’s not a race suitable for him there. So it isn't impossible that he might be out to win this, given Kevin is 2-7 with them first time in the past year.
Similarly, Trouble Shooter (3.55) has left Conrad Allen and gone to Micky Hammond. The plus points for his chance are that he’s been in reasonable form over hurdles lately, and that he’s 1-1 on the Tapeta at Newcastle. However, Micky goes for the blinkers first time up and his record as far as that goes isn’t great, so again, possibly one to monitor with future Newcastle races in mind than get stuck in with today.
Published at 0950 BST on 24/07/21
We are committed in our support of safer gambling. Recommended bets are advised to over-18s and we strongly encourage readers to wager only what they can afford to lose.
If you are concerned about your gambling, please call the National Gambling Helpline / GamCare on 0808 8020 133.