Matt Brocklebank's best bets for weekend racing including York and Musselburgh

Thikriyaat in action

Thikriyaat is backed to return to top form at York as our Matt Brocklebank highlights the best bets on Saturday.

Recommended bets: Saturday racing

1pt win Desert Law in 3.10 Musselburgh at 10/1

1pt win Thikriyaat in 2.55 York at 9/2

1pt e.w. The Wagon Wheel in 3.30 York at 25/1

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DESERT LAW looks the pick at the weights in the William Hill Scottish Sprint Cup Handicap at Musselburgh.

He comes into the race 6lb lower in the ratings than when a good fifth to Hoofalong in the same race 12 months ago and is consequently much better off with the likes of Duke Of Firenze, Kimberella and Robot Boy, who finished around him here last year.

That effort was even more meritorious considering jockey Martin Lane, who knows the horse well and is back in the saddle for the first time this term on Saturday, briefly lost an iron as the gates opened, while he was also denied a clear run a furlong and a half from the finish.

Other than a solid third at the Curragh later that month, Desert Law's form had been very moderate until causing a surprise with victory against much higher-rated horses in the Borderlescott Sprint Trophy Conditions Stakes over Musselburgh's five-furlong course on his return to action this April.

He bolted up on that occasion and the assessor's reaction to bump him back up 8lb to a mark of 94 was perfectly fair.

Having been rated as high as 106 a couple of years ago, Paul Midgley's charge remains really well treated and there was further evidence of that when beaten under two lengths by Caspian Prince in the "Dash" on Derby day at Epsom.

He kept on well through the pack (spot the yellow cap towards the centre of the track) and evidently remains on good terms with himself.

He's won at Epsom in the past but returning to the flat track at Musselburgh looks a positive and although a low draw could make life tricky, he's too well handicapped to ignore at 10/1 (William Hill).

Best bet at York comes in the Best Western Hotels Ganton Stakes, where the prevailing ground should prove ideal for Sir Michael Stoute's THIKRIYAAT.

A light-framed son of Azamour whose two biggest victories have come on good to firm going, he got a little bogged down under top-weight in testing conditions in the Hambleton Handicap here last month.

Switching back to a conditions race will be more to his liking and he's strongly fancied to resume the progress he made during an impressive three-year-old campaign which featured a second to Ribchester in the Jersey Stakes and a Group Three victory over Forge at Glorious Goodwood.

The biggest danger appears to be Spark Plug who, unlike the majority of the field, is operating right at the top of his game presently and was arguably an unlucky loser at this level when set a bit too much to do at Goodwood recently.

The drop back from 10 furlongs shouldn't inconvenience Brian Meehan's Cambridgeshire winner, while Mondialiste also returns to a mile but a question mark remains over his ability to repeat the pick of his overseas efforts on home soil.

The Catherine Kinloch Paver Memorial Macmillan Charity Handicap is as wide-open as they come in terms of big weekend handicaps and it could pay to side with THE WAGON WHEEL in first-time blinkers at the foot of the weights.

She's 1lb out of the handicap proper but is only 10lb higher than when bolting up in a course and distance nursery at the Ebor Festival last year and may just be coming back to the boil for this target.

She looked in need of the run first time out this year at Newmarket but still managed to finish just ahead of subsequent winner Smokey Lane and a line can be struck through her most recent effort when tried over seven furlongs.

She was 5lb 'wrong' that day so is a bit better off here and she looks a fast ground sprinter through and through.

Richard Fahey bids to win the race for the second year in succession and although The Wagon Wheel has already been backed from an opening 33/1 with one firm, there's still plenty of mileage in the general 25/1 on offer with the addition of headgear and return to York expected to bring about an improved display.

Posted at 1410 on 16/06/17.

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