We’ve got eight races to enjoy live on ITV on Saturday 22 July, with the action coming from Newbury, Market Rasen and The Curragh.
Here’s a tip for each and every race – including one in the Irish Oaks at 3.45.
1.50 Newbury – Highland Avenue @ 7/2
First and foremost, I want to oppose Al Aasy in this Listed contest.
Given William Haggas’ six-year-old comes into this on the back of a complete no-show at Newmarket – similar to an unexplanatory effort at Ascot in 2021 – I don’t see how he can be advised at current odds.
As for Highland Avenue, he’s been holding a solid level of form this season that puts him at least on par, if not clear of his four rivals – and Charlie Appleby’s string are going great guns at the moment.
2.05 Market Rasen – Cabrakan e/w @ 10/1
Being brutally honest, this 0-110 handicap hurdle over 2m4f is chuck-a-dart-at-the-page stuff.
However, the booking of Harry Cobden for a Milton Harris juvenile who’s come into his own over the summer and shapes like he’ll relish this step up in trip is interesting. That’ll do for me.
2.25 Newbury – Sweet William @ 4/1
Famous last words, but I suspect John & Thady Gosden’s Sweet William is one of the best handicapped horses in training right now.
You can argue that his facile success as Doncaster last time out isn’t the strongest piece of form, but there’s no denying that his narrow defeat to the now 109-rated, twice Group-placed Saint George is right out of the top drawer.
He steps drastically up in trip here, but it should suit both on breeding and given the way he races.
Rated just 88, I’d be shocked if this four-year-old son of Sea The Stars doesn’t have at least 5-10lbs on the handicapper at present. Hopefully he proves me right.
2.40 Market Rasen – Dancila @ 5/1
Fergal O’Brien is a fantastic trainer and is in red-hot form at present, operating at a 32% strike rate with six winners from 19 runners in the last 14 days. In Dancila, he saddles a lightly-raced gelding who is at his best on good ground and is on the improve. He’s well worth chancing here.
3.00 Newbury – Annaf e/w @ 8/1
Even on a Saturday involving summer racing at Market Rasen, the G3 Hackwood Stakes is probably the trickiest race to solve.
Frankly, any of these could win, but if one stands out a little more than the rest it’s Michael Appleby’s Annaf.
The four-year-old son of Muhaarar is in the form of his life, but he’s been doing the majority of his racing this season over 5f. For me, his best efforts have come over this 6f trip, so I think there’s every chance we could see a career-best performance on Saturday.
Given the competitive nature of this contest and the fact Betfred are paying 4 places on the race, I’d suggest going each-way for this one.
3.15 Market Rasen – Francky Du Berlais @ 5/1
He couldn’t do it again, could he? Francky Du Berlais bids to win the Summer Plate Handicap Chase for the third year running – and, off just a pound higher, I think it’s worth backing him to do exactly that.
Peter Bowen has clearly laid the 10-year-old out for this, with his mark dropping from 147 to 140 over the winter and spring before a pleasing prep run over course and distance in June which should have put him spot on for this.
The fact Sean is booked to ride suggests he’s the yard’s main hope over Courtland, who is far from a no-hoper, is a tip in itself.
3.35 Newbury – Bobsleigh @ 11/2
The feature race at Newbury on Saturday is the Super Sprint Stakes, which sees 21 lightly-raced juveniles compete over the minimum trip for a cool £122,925. Lightwork.
Current favourite Relief Rally has obvious claims, but the Haggas filly is extremely short for a race of this nature. Bobsleigh, on the other hand, is almost five times the price despite boasting strong form for top connections and carrying 1lb less. That sounds good to me.
3.45 Curragh – Savethelastdance @ 10/11
The final race in front of the ITV cameras on Saturday is the G1 Irish Oaks – and Aidan O’Brien’s Savethelastdance ought to take all the beating in this Irish Classic.
Her effort when finishing a close second in what was a quick-ground Betfred Oaks last month is not only the standout piece of form in this field but, on the evidence of her emphatic 22L success in a deep-ground Cheshire Oaks in May, I would also argue that she should be even better here on ground that’s expected to be on the soft side.
On top of that, I don’t see any of her opponents as being on the same level as Betfred Oaks winner Soul Sister, so ultimately I think Ryan Moore’s mount can give favourite backers some joy in the finale.