Our tipster Karl Hedley provides his betting tips for this weekend's races.
2-55 BETFRED.COM DERBY TRIAL STAKES (LISTED) – 1 M 3 F 106YDS
Hartnell was a most promising youngster last season and it will be no surprise if he comes right back to his very best here. With three wins under his belt he produced a fine effort when placed in the Criterium at Saint-Cloud in November. He put some five lengths between himself and the re-opposing Mekong River and with fitness on his side this afternoon he can confirm that form.
Munjaz is slowly but surely getting his act together and shed his maiden at the first time of asking this season. It would take another significant step forward to win this but he is certainly going the right way and can make his presence felt. The yard should also know how good Snow Sky is as their Western Hymn beat him by over two lengths at Newbury last time.
Mekong River and Blue Hussar represent Aiden O’Brien who has a fantastic recent record in this race. Blue Hussar surged with a late run to win a Leopardstown maiden, but the form of the race has not worked out and he is opposed on that basis. Both are best watched this afternoon as the yard have not as yet hit top form.
Hartnell can reverse recent places with Signposted as he is likely to settle far better today. Mark Johnston has taken this prize twice in the past with the likes of Dordogne and Bandari. The booking of William Buick is certainly noteworthy and together they can go close.
3-15 SODEXHO FILLIES HANDICAP – 1 MILE
Ribbons should have cleared away any cobwebs following a good run at Kempton Park on her seasonal reappearance. That run should have brought her on in no uncertain terms and this James Fanshawe trained filly can return to winning ways this afternoon. Hayley Turner gets on well with the four year old and having won twice on her in the past, she should know exactly when to make her move.
Feedyah has been racing out in Dubai but was ultimately no match for Ihtimal in a Group 3 back in February. She is a previous course and distance winner here at Ascot and she looks the obvious threat to the selection.
Tracey Collins sends over Majestic Queen for this engagement. She won on her seasonal debut at Dundalk, but this is a far sterner test and she may have to settle for place money at best. James Fanshawe trained the brilliant mare Soviet Song a few years ago and she also raced in these colours. He ought to know the time of day with this filly and she can go onto better things after this.
3-30 PERTEMPS NETWORK HANDICAP HURDLE (GRADE 3) – 2 MILES
Changing The Guard bounced right back to form with a win at his beloved Newton Abbot last month. His last four wins have come at that track but now that he appears to be back on good terms with himself it would be of little surprise to see him put in another bold effort. Christopher Ward is a talented apprentice who can take a useful five pounds off and in a race as competitive as this that could be an asset.
Horses that were fairly useful on the flat tend to do very well in this race. Recent winners Barizan, Eradicate and Red Merlin are proof of that. The former is back to repeat last year’s success and is now having only his third run for Donald McCain. He has been woefully out of form recently and the yard look to have more obvious claims with Life And Soul.
The likes of Titus Bolt and Dubawi Island are certainly young improvers that threaten to go well. It is worth remembering that no horse as young as five has ever won this and that has to be a major concern. As I Am has been a real money spinner for Don Cantillon in recent months. She may well struggle to give weight away to her male counterparts in a race as tough as this. Changing The Guard is used to these type of races and he was decent for Richard Fahey on the flat in his prime. He tends to come to himself at this time of year and he looks a worthy punt.
3-50 7.5 MILLION TOTESCOOP6 VICTORIA CUP (HANDICAP) – 7 FURLONGS
Brownsea Brink seems to have a lot in his favour this afternoon and he looks sure to run a mighty race. He has been competing in decent handicaps this season and with the field likely to go off at a strong pace his stamina is guaranteed. He is a solid performer over a mile and has won three times at that trip. This slight step back in distance should not prove too much of an inconvenience and with Richard Hughes riding the combination look sure to go well.
Glen Moss has returned in excellent form this season and he was a good winner at Haydock on his latest start. It is worth bearing in mind that he does have an atrocious record at this track and could do no better than finishing eleventh in this race last season behind the re-opposing Excellent Guest. The latter is seeking back to back wins in this race and just like last season he is drawn in the middle of the track and goes well fresh. It would be foolish to dismiss George Margason’s proven sprinter at a huge price.
Recent history tells us that horses carrying more than nine stone tend not to win this race and that it it is best to look towards the bottom of the handicap. Brownsea Brink is still capable of further improvement and his yard are in red hot form. He comes here race fit and granted a clear passage should at least make the frame.
|SATURDAY 2-55 LINGFIELD||HARTNELL|
|SATURDAY 3-15 ASCOT||RIBBONS|
|SATURDAY 3-30 HAYDOCK||CHANGING THE GUARD|
|SATURDAY 3-50 ASCOT||BROWNSEA BRINK (E/W)|