The flat racing scene is hitting the latter stages and amid scorching temperatures on Saturday there are a number of meetings in the UK and Ireland with some good races around the courses as we build up to the big conclusion of the season.
We’ve had a good scour of the cards both in the UK and over in Ireland and there are three bets that we have found across the course of the day, two in the UK and one in what is a very good looking meeting over in Ireland.
A very good Class 2 handicap over the straight 7 furlongs, where the ultra progressive Quinault is in the field bidding to get back to winning ways after his 6 race winning run came to an end last time out. POPMASTER is the one for me. He likes Ascot, is versatile with regards to ground and, whilst he is winless at this 7 furlong trip, he’s run some cracking races over this distance. In fact, last time out was one such example where he came with a run & stayed on well all the way to the line, going down by a length by the reopposing Spangled Mac. Our selection is 3lbs better off today & has a better draw in 10, closer to the pace & to the favoured stands rail. Racing off an unchanged mark, he’s handicapped to win given he has won off 1lb lower & was 2nd in a pair of handicaps last year, including the Wokingham, off 2lbs higher. It’s an open race but one where track position & tactical speed could come to the fore given a bit of a lack of pace, and the selection should be favoured on that score with form over 6 furlongs & his high draw. If he runs to form, he should be hard to keep out of the frame.
Back Popmaster (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 13.00 Bet365 BOG (⅕ odds 1-4)
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Dermot Weld looks to hold the aces in the Group 1 Matron Stakes with Tahiyra a very warm order at around even money, & last year’s Guineas winner Homeless Songs next in the market. The yard seem bullish over the favourite’s chance but are much less confident about her stablemate. Beyond the favourite, it doesn’t look that competitive despite the numbers so I fancy JUST BEAUTIFUL to run a big race; it’s just a case of whether she’s good enough to get the better of Tahiyra. The trainer, Paddy Twomey, had the winner of this last year & has another fine chance with one that has been lightly raced. A winner of 6 of her 11 races, she’s a classy mare but I suppose some would point to some heavy defeats in lesser company on her most recent starts. However, they are easy to overlook. She just doesn’t go on soft ground so you can effectively put a cross through 4 defeats, the heaviest too when the ground was described as soft. On good or better, her record is 6 from 7, her only defeat coming in the 1000 Guineas 2 years ago. She’s only been seen 4 times in the last 2 years &, with 3 of those on ground she detests, we can only really judge her on her most recent start when she comfortably won a Group 2 at the Curragh by over 2 lengths. With ground in her favour & the lack of depth to this field, she looks a standout each way bet.
Back Just Beautiful (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 8.50 Coral BOG (⅕ odds 1-3)
The Group 1 Sprint Cup revolves around one horse, Shaquille, and he looks a superstar judged on his unbeaten form this term including a pair of Group 1’s in the Commonwealth Cup & July Cup despite rearing badly leaving the stalls on both occasions. His odds are very skinny & surely it’s only a matter of time before those issues at the start have consequences. The fact Mill Stream is second favourite, a horse 2nd in a handicap behind a 97-rated handicapper 2 months ago, says a lot about the depth to this field. What concerns me more is that many have a liking for a bit of cut too. SACRED is the one that should give the favourite most to do. 5 wins and 5 seconds from 16 starts is no bad record and, whilst she hasn’t yet landed a race at the very top level, she was 2nd in Jubilee Stakes 2 starts ago, beaten a neck, when surely hitting the front too soon. 3 of her wins have come at Group level too so her credentials are solid enough. In the last 2 seasons, she’s been first or second on 4 occasions & outside the frame on the other 4. 3 of those 4 were when going round a bend, something she doesn’t seem to enjoy whilst the other was when a length 5th of 24 in last year’s Group 1 Platinum Jubilee. With a lot of the top jockeys over in Ireland, it’s good to see Marquand on board. Cheekpieces also go on & with those expected to sharpen her up, she should be there at the business end.
Back Sacred (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 9.00 Bet365 BOG (⅕ odds 1-4)
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