Our racing expert has run the rule over Saturday's televised action.
1:55 Musselburgh 1m4½f (1m4f104y) Edinburgh Gin’s Seaside Gin Handicap (Class 3) (4yo+ 0-95)
REVEREND JACOBS beat a decent field of mainly unexposed types over a similar trip at York last time and while his winning margin was just a neck and he has gone up 8lb since, he’s entitled to improve for the outing. Described as ‘a bit of a baby still’ after getting off the mark at Ascot last September, he was always the type to do better as a four-year-old and it would be no surprise to see him contesting some top handicaps this season, with this looking a suitable stepping stone. His trainer William Haggas has a 36% strike rate at this track in recent seasons. Western Duke rates the main danger.
2:15 Haydock 1m4f (1m3f175y) Betway Middle Distance Handicap (Class 3) (3yo 0-90)
Just the six runners but all have a chance and bookies are going 3/1 the field. Jack Regan wasn’t suited by the lack of pace at Sandown (1m2f) two days ago, failing to settle at the back of the field in the early stages, and he might be worth another chance over this longer trip.
But this might also turn into a sprint finish with no obvious front runners and Mark Johnston’s SEA YOUMZAIN looks the safer option at bet365’s 3/1. The plan was to lead with her on her Nottingham reappearance over 1m2f as she is expected to stay at least this far, but she blew the start and gave them all a head start. That she overcome that to come from last to first with a sweeping run was much to her credit and this still relatively backward daughter of Sea The Stars looks the type to keep progressing with her racing.
2:30 Musselburgh 5f (5f1y) Edinburgh Gin’s Scottish Sprint Cup Handicap (Class 2) (4yo+)
Plenty to consider in a wide open sprint handicap but one who seems sure to go well is last year’s winner LINE OF REASON. Now an eight-year-old, he has shown this spring that he retains plenty of zip and caught the eye in a big field at York last time, when finishing with some purpose into seventh. The handicapper has kindly dropped him a further 2lb since, meaning he’s 7lb lower than last year, and he has always gone best in June (full record this month is 148111313911). High numbers are usually favoured on the sprint course here but he won this from box eight 12 months ago and is next door in stall seven this time around, with Joe Fanning renewing the winning partnership. At 12/1 with Ladbrokes, he’s a cracking each-way bet.
2:50 Haydock 1m4f (1m3f175y) Betway Pinnacle Stakes (Group 3) (Fillies & Mares) (Class 1) (4yo+)
Having shown progressive form last season, God Given has at least 5lb in hand over her rivals on official ratings and she’s sure to have come on from her reappearance fourth at Ascot, where she pulled too hard for her own good. But her trainer Luca Cumani is struggling for winners (just 2-29 this season) and that puts me off taking what looks a skinny 9/4.
CRIBBS CAUSEWAY is also entered in Sunday’s Nottinghamshire Oaks but that race is over 1m2f and she seems best suited by longer trips, with her record since being stepped up beyond ten furlongs standing at 11181213 (5-8). Sure to strip fitter for her reappearance third in a Group 3 at York, which wasn’t run to suit, she could give the favourite plenty to think about and is a shade of value at bet365’s 6/1. Should she miss the race, I’d consider backing German challenger Fosun, who is a dual Listed scorer and has the services of SDS.
3:05 Newmarket 7f (July) Animal Health Trust Handicap (Class 2) (3yo 0-105)
Bookmakers aren’t taking any chances with GEORGIAN MANOR, with Sir Michael Stoute’s charge as short as 9/4. But there is 11/4 up for grabs at Paddy Power and it can be argued that is value as the three-year-old is potentially well treated off a mark of 87 now handicapping. That’s because Emblazoned, the horse that beat him a nose at Lingfield in April, is now rated 106 and has entry in the Commonwealth Cup. The selection doesn’t have any fancy entries, admittedly, but he was an easy winner at Beverley last time, when tracking over from his outside draw and making most of the running, and he’ll be seen to better effect in handicaps when he can be held up and delivered late. That job falls on Josephine Gordon, who has been on board for both starts this season and clearly gets on well with him.
3:25 Haydock 5f Betway Achilles Stakes (Listed Race) (Class 1) (3yo+)
Muthmir tops the ratings and drops down in class having finished fifth in the Group 2 Temple Stakes last time. However, he never really looked like getting involved there and he’ll need to improve on both runs this term to beat JUDICIAL. Julie Camacho’s gelding is coming off an excellent second in the Palace House Stakes, just a neck behind Mabs Cross, who was beaten less than a length by Battaash in the Temple, and on that evidence he has made further progress since last term. Best in smallish fields over the minimum trip – his last four runs in fields of ten or fewer have yielded form figures of 1112 – he is going to tough to beat under optimum conditions and bet365’s 3/1 is perfectly fair.
3:40 Newmarket 1m6f (July) John Sunley Memorial Handicap (Class 2) (4yo+ 0-105)
Likely favourite Addicted To You showed marked improvement when winning by ten lengths on his reappearance at Chelmsford in April, but a subsequent 10lb rise might anchor him in what is a far more competitive handicap. Byron Flyer is next in the betting after another solid effort last time behind The Grand Visir, although he’s gone up 2lb for that and has yet to win on turf on the Flat.
In which case, it could be worth taking a chance on the fitness of Owen Burrows’ QULOOB on his first run back since narrowly failing to land a four-timer at Nottingham last August, when trying this trip for the first time. It wasn’t lack of stamina that beat him on that occasion, rather he bumped into a progressive sort in Dubai Fifty, who has won twice since and is now rated 97. There could be further improvement from the selection this season and especially over this trip, while we can take encouragement from the fact he won first time up last term and the current form of his stable (3-8 since the start of this month).
4:00 Haydock 7f (7f37y) Betway John Of Gaunt Stakes (Group 3) (Class 1) (4yo+)
Having made a tidy profit from backing Dutch Connection each-way at big odds in the Lockinge (Hills were paying out on four places), I’m loathe to desert him now he’s dropping back to what is his ideal trip against slightly lesser opposition. However, he is very much ground dependant and, with a bit of rain forecast, it might not be as quick as he likes.
Besides, he’s just 9/4 today and I’d rather take bet365’s 7/2 on TABARRAK, whose recent victory over this track and trip stacks up well. Certainly, it was no mean effort to give the useful Mubtasim weight and a beating, with the pair well clear of So Beloved, who finished third in this race last year, back in fourth. He is versatile over the ground and that can’t be said of either the favourite or Emmaus, whose three wins have all come on slow ground at Leicester.
Musselburgh 1.55, Reverend Jacobs @ 11/10 bet365
Haydock 2.15, Sea Youmzain @ 3/1 bet365
Musselburgh 2.30, Line Of Reason each-way @ 12/1 Ladbrokes (1/4 odds, 184.108.40.206)
Haydock 2.50, Cribbs Causeway @ 6/1 bet365
Newmarket 3.05, Georgian Manor @ 11/4 Paddy Power
Haydock 3.25, Judicial @ 4/1 bet365
Newmarket 3.40, Quloob @ 6/1 bet365
Haydock 4.00, Tabarrak @ 7/2 bet365
All odds were correct at time of posting.