Betfred’s Owen McMahon picks out his best bet from all seven meetings across the UK & Ireland on Thursday 10 August 2023.

NAP of the Day

  • 7.15 Sandown – Muktamil2/1

I’m not usually one for backing horses after a long lay-off. In fact, I tend to actively oppose such types. I’m straying from the norm on Thursday though, as I think Marcus Tregoning’s MUKTAMIL – despite 315 days off the track – could be chucked into what looks a modest race off a potentially lenient opening mark of 74.

The three-year-old son of Sea The Stars was progressive in his three runs last year, learning on the job as they say. Slowly, but learning nonetheless.

His latest effort, at Salisbury last September, is a standout – and the form has worked out so well that, as mentioned before, I dare say he looks thrown into this 0-85 handicap over 1m2f.

He was fourth that day, beaten just over 6L by Irish Oaks runner-up and the 100+ rated Bluestocking. Also in front of the selection was the 92-rated Tony Montana and 97-rated Racingbreaks Ryder. It goes without saying that’s very strong form.

Not only do I think he’s been underestimated by the handicapper, but I expect him to improve substantially for the step up in trip too. He shaped like he was crying out for this sort of test throughout his juvenile campaign, so a combination of that and forecast soft ground should suit.

He’s also been gelded in the meantime, which has hopefully ironed out some of the obvious greenness, and Jason Watson is a jockey I have great respect for so I see that booking as a positive.

As I suggested earlier, this isn’t a strong race. None of his eight rivals look particularly well-handicapped, so I – and I imagine connections too – will be pretty disappointed if Muktamil, even if not quite 100%, can’t get off the mark here.

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