Richard Mann previews the weekend action with the Shergar Cup taking place at Ascot along with two cracking cards at Haydock and Newmarket.
Recommended Bets: Ascot, Haydock, Newmarket
For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record
The Shergar Cup meeting at Ascot is the headline act for racing fans on Saturday but there are also TV races at Haydock and Newmarket with plenty of quality on show.
The Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Mile (2.50) is a terrific race full of smart handicappers and Medahim heading the weights following his Glorious Goodwood victory last week.
He beat Vale Of Kent on that occasion and given that one went on to gain compensation a few days later, the strength of that piece form, along with Medahim’s progressive profile, is enough to suggest he can go very close under Yutaka Take.
He should be well positioned from stall number two if the pace isn’t overly strong and with Richard Hannon’s string in rude health at present, there are certainly plenty of positives about his chance.
This has plenty of depth to it, though, with Golden Mile runner-up Poet’s Society respected turning out quickly following that career-best performance while Mythical Madness - fifth in the same race at Goodwood - is capable of going well again were he to get a strong pace to aim at.
Shady McCoy is another useful operator whose Bunbury Cup second brings him right into the equation. He looks better suited to 7f and a straight track, however, while the last comment is also applicable to Fire Brigade who, for all he is hugely talented, is another who needs to come late off a good gallop and preferably when there is plenty of cut in the ground.
With nagging doubts about many of his rivals, Medahim looks overpriced at 13/2 and this improving four-year-old has to head the weekend portfolio.
Another who is worth backing is Roundhay Park who should have a race run to suit in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Sprint at 4.00.
Nigel Tinkler is another trainer who is enjoying a good time of it at present and his charge comes here on the back of a fine third in the bet365 Handicap at Newmarket’s July meeting.
Historically, that race is one that usually throws up plenty of winners and though the early signs aren’t as encouraging this year, Roundhay Park is able to compete from an unchanged handicap mark here.
A strong-traveller whose career has continued on a steady upward curve since he broke his duck at Beverley last year, he still looks to have more to offer and the stiff Ascot finish should suit him well.
Drawn next door to the pacey Bungee Jump – the only confirmed front-runner in the field – he should get a lovely tow into the race under Hayler Turner who has enjoyed plenty of success at this meeting over the years.
He ticks plenty of boxes and the 6/1 about his chance is very fair.
Over at Haydock, Elwazir boats particularly strong claims in the Group Three Smarkets Betting Exchange Rose Of Lancaster Stakes (3.05).
Even looking as far back to his fourth-placed finish at Newmarket last October, this son of Frankel can boast rock-solid form and his defeats of the classy Cross Counter and Extra Elusive this year suggest he will be able to take this step up in class in his stride.
That said, quotes of 7/4 or shorter look about right and I’m happy to leave him on this occasion.
35 minutes earlier, Haydock stages a competitive renewal of the Listed Smarkets/British EBF Dick Hern Stakes (2.30) and I want to be with La Figlia at 10/1 for Peter Chapple-Hyam.
The four-year-old is a recent addition to the Chapple-Hyam stable having already shown up well twice in Listed company for Jeremy Noseda and she made her first start for her new yard a winning one when scoring in impressive fashion at Chelmsford.
A beautifully-bred daughter of Frankel, she is out of brilliant racemare Finsceal Beo so is certainly bred to be winning at this level and like so many from her sire, she promises to stay well and should be able to use her beautiful stride to good effect up the long Haydock straight.
Chapple-Hyam is a master trainer whose record needs no introduction and it appears significant that he has this filly Group-One entered later in the season, a move he wouldn’t make without good reason.
All eyes will be on the three-year-old and warm-favourite Agrotera following her taking success in the Sandringham Handicap at Royal Ascot but she was thrown in off a mark of 88 that day and will find this much tougher while both Dynamic and Narella have to atone for disappointing efforts last time.
The latter is particularly interesting – a German import who scored at Group Three level for Markus Klug last year – but she drifted alarmingly on her return and stable debut at Sandown and having offered very little, has plenty of questions to answer now.
Newmarket stages the Group Three german-thoroughbred.com Sweet Solera Stakes but only seven runners have been declared this year.
Albany Stakes one-two Main Edition and Le Pelosa take up a big chunk of the market but neither have done much for that Royal Ascot form since and I’m keen to look elsewhere.
Pennywhistle has reportedly worked well since opening her account over this course and distance last month having finished third to the classy Look Around on her Kempton debut previously.
That form puts her bang in the mix here but at a much bigger price, I can’t ignore the claims of California Love.
Power is stallion whom I still have high hopes for and California Love might be the one to put him on the map.
Richard Spencer’s filly was far too green to do herself justice on debut at Chelmsford but left that running a long way behind when producing a taking display over this course and distance two weeks later.
The second from that race, Rosamour, has already franked the form and it seems significant that Spencer has nominated California Love for this race given the strength of juveniles he has at his disposal.
That point was illustrated by Rumble Inthejungle’s victory in the Group Three Molecomb Stakes at Glorious Goodwood last week and I have the strong suspicion that Spencer might have unearthed another star in California Love.
Take the 12/1, or for extra insurance, Sky Bet are offering three places on the race despite only seven going to post.