Dave Smith takes a look at Saturday's ITV action and has selections for all of the ITV7 races. He makes Wadilsafa his best bet of the day.
MAKZEEM is a course and distance winner that has form figures of 2121 on both courses at Newmarket. A class 2 winner off 97, he has struggled in his first two runs of the season but Ryan Moore has a 50 per cent strike rate on the horse and both have come here and in this class. The forecast fast ground may well go against him but he's a solid each-way shot. Mubatsim has some very strong black type form and can easily accept his opening handicap mark of 105. His gelding operation hasn't equated to him getting his head in front but his May and June performances of last year saw him only beaten by some very nice types. Burnt Sugar is probably open to winning a race like this but there may be some more progressive types against him and a mark of 99 may just be too high. Cardsharp will have a 6lb penalty to contend with here and that could push Mark Johnston's charge out of contention. Mukalal is unexposed over this distance and despite the below par performance in The Royal Hunt Cup he may have needed that run and gets into this contest off the same mark and a feather weight. Love Dreams would need a career high mark to take this but Mountain Rescue has two wins and a second place at the track and has to be a contender for an each way spot at 25/1. Harry Bentley is a good jockey booking with the ground the only real question mark as efforts on rattling fast surfaces haven't always unlocked his potential.
The York card gets under way with a fiercely-contested renewal of John Smith's City Walls stakes. Take Cover is a strong front runner who has won this race twice before and despite his advancing years ran very well behind subsequent scorer Judicial at Beverley off a significantly large weight last time out. Stone of Destiny ran a cracker when fourth in the Commonwealth Cup at Ascot and he looked like a return to 5f may be advisable. He was coming to the end of his tether at Ascot but managed to stay on for place money. MUTHMIR ran an absolute belter last Saturday at Sandown Park and only just failed to reel in Judicial. William Haggas has few rivals when it comes to York and despite his Listed penalty the horse should be suited by the fast up-front pace that Take Cover and Alpha Delphini will no doubt create. Bryan Smart brings Alpha Delphini here in excellent form and he hasn’t been out of the frame in his last five starts going back into last season. El Astronaute ran two blinders here back to back in May but he is another front runner and I'm hoping the pace collapses and the selection can get his head in front.
SANDS OF MALI absolutely flew home the last day at Ascot in the Commonwealth Cup to come second to Eqtidaar for whom he still has 2lb on and on those terms he has to be a very good each-way shot. Another few strides and Richard Fahey's son of Panis would have surely won and he comes into this in cracking form. There are, however, some excellent sprinting types to contend with and if Harry Bentley can once again get the 2017 form of Limato out of Henry Candy's somewhat inconsistent six-year-old then he could be a very big price at 11/1. His two runs this season have been very disappointing and a line would need to be put through them but he's a classy individual on his day. Blue Point ran very impressively at Ascot last time out over the 5f and he gave the impression that an extra furlong would be of no hindrance. Given the poor run of Redkirk Warrior at Ascot last time it's safe to say things haven't gone to plan since the Aussie horse has come to these shores. A bigger run will be anticipated here but the horse will have to improve quite a bit on that last run. U S Navy Flag seemed to have come to the boil when second at the Curragh in the Irish 2000 Guineas but he sweated before and was keen during the St James' Palace Stakes. The O'Brien team have enlisted Spirit of Valor to act as a pacemaker to settle this regally bred son of War Front this time. Dreamfield didn't have a long three-year-old career and comes here unexposed but would have to find a fair bit with some of these.
DAI HARRAILD takes a small drop back in trip following his unsuccessful Group 2 showing at Meydan the last time out. He’s the class act in the field and has 6lb in hand on official ratings. If he’s back on form he will take all the beating here and the early show of 6/5 could be generous. Mark Johnston’s Time To Study lost nothing in defeat last time out and in typical style; he’s only four and is on the way up. Fran Berry takes the ride and the horse may want a touch of rain to help. If that comes he’s an each-way prospect at 5/1. There is not much to separate any of the horses in behind the favourite and Scotland ran a very creditable fifth in the Gold Cup at Ascot. If the favourite doesn’t return on-song, then Andrew Balding’s charge could be in the mix. Dylan Mouth is rated the same as Time To Study but stamina would be a big question and that would be an issue in a race of this type against strong stayers.
WADILSAFA was keen in his race at Ascot last time out when he got no cover using up crucial energy which cost him in the final furlong where he emptied out. He had been ridden from 2f out but he finished only two lengths out of the place money back in ninth. The race was obviously all about Hunting Horn's fantastic run and Owen Burrows' runner should have nothing of that quality here. He is top rated and his three-year-old's allowance should put him in with an excellent chance. Baraweez was successful over 7f at Chester on his last start but he was running ahead of the handicapper and had a plum draw coming from stall two. He won't get the same help here and that has to be a negative. Bless Him also came ninth on his last appearance but that was in the Royal Hunt Cup and this is far less competitive. Andrea Atzeni is booked for the ride and that has to be a positive. The horse is still somewhat unexposed but his running at Nottingham on soft ground would somewhat temper enthusiasm. Get Knotted has run well in defeat twice at York in recent times and has no issue over the mile; he could be the value each-way bet at a shade over 5/1.
Argentello's drop back to 1m has seen him thrive and his two wins in novice company still leave him very much unexposed off a mark of 93. Rab Havlin will take the ride for the Gosden stable and any repeat of his novice runs should see him well in the mix here. Ibraz comes in to this off the back of beating a horse who has gone on to win twice and that makes him a big player on these terms with the excellent Jim Crowley on board. Though the manner of his win last time was tight he tracked the runner-up all the way and when that horse came again he showed admirable heart to hold on despite giving away 14lb. It is arguable that CURIOSITY comes here off the back of the best form on offer with two good seconds in very strong handicaps including the Britannia. That makes him a very nice prospect and a mark of 96 is well within his grasp; the 4/1 is a nice play at this stage. First Contact came 11th in the Britannia but his mark of 100 could play against him here, though that race didn't work out as well as it could have.
If we're still in with a shout at this stage then this could be the trickiest piece to complete the puzzle. No less than 19 line up for the 59th renewal of the John Smith's Cup and there are two or three that catch the eye. It would make sense to start with very impressive Ascot scorer Dash of Spice who drops down in trip but could still be ahead of his mark and the speed he showed when running away with the Duke Of Edinburgh should see 1m2f being no real obstacle. Silvestre De Sousa is down at Newmarket and doesn't take the ride which is a negative but David Egan is an admirable deputy. APPEARED seemed to get to the front too soon and ran out of petrol when fourth to Dash of Spice the last day. He represents value at 14/1 and now on equal terms as his rival that day he could reverse the form. What's the Story's only run over this trip was a decent fifth to Big Country at Redcar and this step up in trip shouldn't be too much of an issue. The horse was a solid fourth in the Royal Hunt Cup and should be fine on this quick ground. Callum Rodriguez will get the ride and his record on the horse is 131. Another bold bid is expected and 16/1 could be very smart each-way money. Another Touch has a string of good form on the Knavesmire, Across Dubai is unexposed and has a squeak as well.