Dave Smith looks at the best bets ahead Saturday's ITV racing and makes Ghostwatch his best bet. He previews six other races to try and get the weekend off to a winning start by scooping the £50,000 jackpot.
Muthmir comes into this off the back of a narrow success in the Listed Achilles Stakes at Haydock. Jim Crowley is in the saddle again. There should be a frantic pace to this and that could pay into the hands of Judicial who should be suited by the ground and has a good enough draw in stall four. It is 14 months since DREAM OF DREAMS has run at the minimum trip and Sir Michael Stoute’s charge can return to top form back over it. If Sound And Silence can prove he is still the horse of last year, then there is potentially some juice in his price.
It must be significant when a jockey jets into the country for one ride and that is just what Brett Doyle has done for Godolphin. GHOSTWATCH has a Sky Bet Great Voltigeur entry and though he is raised 8lb for his win at Sandown, he is a progressive three-year-old for a trainer very much on the hot list. Austrian School was outpaced the last day at Chester and the step up in trip should benefit Mark Johnston’s horse whilst Alan King’s Elysees is running off a featherweight after an impressive victory last time out. David Egan takes the ride and he looks a decent each-way price. Rude Awakening was an impressive winner at Doncaster on his return from a break last time but is up 10lb as a result.
The draw can play a vital part in handicaps at Sandown but last year's winner came from stall 10 to offer hope to those who've landed big numbers. TIGRE DU TERRE comes into this off the back of some good Listed form and is a very consistent three-year-old. Daira Prince is 2-2 since being gelded and the blinkers being applied. Via Serendipity ran a very solid race when finishing ahead of Manson over the mile here last time and both have solid each-way claims. Masham Star’s handicap mark doesn’t seem to relent and his busy schedule has gained him another 4lb bump for a facile victory at Windsor last Saturday. South Seas hasn’t recaptured the form of 2016 and a further drop in the weights may be required.
The Lancashire Oaks throws up some nicely-bred types including Aidan O’Brien’s Flattering who made all in a Group Three at Cork last time out. The trainer has a 0-16 record at this track, however, and that goes against the horse to some degree. HORSEPLAY ran very well despite not laying a glove on Coronet at York in the Middleton and despite Mori’s disappointing performance that day, it’s the standout form on offer. Precious Ramotswe is another nicely-bred type and this daughter of Nathaniel is two from two this term, the latest in a Group Three on the Knavesmire.
Ex-German filly Narella is the obvious starting point here and her Group Three win at Baden-Baden gives her leading claims in this field. A switch of yard to Roger Varian should be a big plus and she can go close on her first run on English soil. Awesome Tank has won two of her last three and was very impressive at Chelmsford last time. However, I'm prepared to take a chance on outsider DARKNESS FALLS who as you'd expect for a Ballydoyle filly is regally bred and she finally hit the winning trail last time.
In a devilish contest, 17 runners take their chance in the Old Newton Cup. Last year’s fourth Blakeney Point comes here 10lb higher this time around and Harry Burns’ 7lb claim may not be quite enough to see the horse home. Crowned Eagle ran a very creditable sixth at Royal Ascot and the horse represents Marco Botti who sent out the winners of the 2014 and 2017 renewals. The 6lb TEODORO has been given for a very easy victory at Newbury may not be enough to stop the Tom Dascombe gelding from coming very close. The horse would require a step up but he's on a roll and we haven't seen the best of him yet. Sofia’s Rock goes well at this track so expect a big run from the front.
Masar and Roaring Lion renew rivalry and the latter is 3-0 up. He is rated 3lb higher than John Gosden's charge, who was third behind him in the Investec Derby, but the shorter distance may help Roaring Lion. That said, Masar should be effective at the trip too and he showed plenty of speed to put the race to bed at Epsom. Saxon Warrior never recovered from a poor start that day and was laboured in third in last week's Irish Derby. However, he did have both Masar and Roaring Lion behind him in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas. It’s a fantastic renewal and the top three in the market could finish in any order. MASAR gets the vote based on his Derby success in a race to savour.
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