Simon Holt: City slicker | Free racing tips for Ascot and York on Saturday

Spanish City

Top commentator Simon Holt previews Saturday's feature action and he has three bets at Ascot and York including Spanish City in the International Handicap.

Recommended Bets: Saturday July 25

1pt win Spanish City in 2.25 Ascot at 18/1

2pts win Elarqam in 2.40 York at 5/2

1pt win Western Duke in 4.10 Ascot at 20/1

For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record

Romantically-inclined racing fans will surely desire to see Enable win an unprecedented third King George V1 and Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes at Ascot on Saturday but a small field and three rivals trained by Aidan O'Brien suggests this could be a highly tactical contest.

Whether that means the pace will be fast or slow is anyone's guess and, in the latter scenario, Frankie Dettori may feel obliged to ride the star mare positively. The odds don't really reflect her fairly narrow superiority over Japan who, while twice beaten by Enable in two meetings (in the Arc and in the Eclipse earlier in the month), is pretty much her equal on those two performances save for the sex allowance.

Again, the favourite receives that critical 3lb from her rivals but Japan improved from his first run at the Royal meeting to his second in the Eclipse and should come forward again.

So too should Enable who, while only a head in front of Japan at Sandown where the pair were comfortably beaten, is expected to be much fitter now by trainer John Gosden. It looks a fascinating race.

Earlier, the Moet & Chandon International always offers the opportunity for a tilt at a big price and, though not a regular winner, SPANISH CITY looks sure to run well.

Roger Varian's gelding was beaten heads and necks when sixth in this race two years ago and confirmed his liking for Ascot with a third in the Wokingham last month since when he never quite landed a blow when seventh in the Bunbury Cup.

A stiff six, or seven furlongs, is Spanish City's ideal and, although he has a tendency to frustrate, he clearly comes into this race in good heart and useful apprentice Ray Dawson now takes off 5lb which gives him every chance at the weights despite double-figure odds.

Later, WESTERN DUKE is fancied to repeat last year's victory in the Handicap.

Just 1lb higher than when out-staying Vivid Diamond 12 months ago, the Ian Williams-trained son of High Chaparral is another horse who seems to like Ascot as, on only one previous visit, he finished a fine third over this same trip in 2018.

Western Duke's reappearance at Wolverhampton in June was certainly nothing to get excited about but one suspects he will have been aimed at this race again, and Tom Marquand looks a great booking. The final seven furlongs on the round course is uphill most of the way and this clearly suits the selection's staying powers.

At York, ELARQAM can prove the day's best bet in the Sky Bet York Stakes.

Mark Johnston's stable-star is another horse with a good course record having beaten Addeybb in this race last year (he was also third to Thundering Blue in the 2018 edition when not the horse he is now) as well running a cracker behind Japan and Crystal Ocean in last season's Juddmonte International.

Elarqam looked as good as ever when going down by a short-head to Lord North (subsequent winner of the Prince Of Wales's Stakes) at Haydock first time out but then ran like an obvious non-stayer in the Hardwicke Stakes at the royal meeting over a mile-and-a-half.

Back over this course and distance, he can again see off Telecaster (who was third at Haydock) as well as other decent rivals who all have a bit to find on official ratings.

Preview posted at 1405BST on 24/07/2020

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