Good morning all,
I’m taking a look at a couple of the bigger Saturday handicaps because again, I fancy the favourite, Golden Horde, to win the July Cup. That won’t come as any surprise to any of you that remember I put him up before Royal Ascot, and with the ground ideal today, I’ll be sticking with him.
But favourites are not what the Saturday Punt is about, I try and find something at a working man’s price to win us a few quid, so I’ve concentrated on two of the bigger handicaps, plus one in the Summer Mile at Ascot.
The Queen Anne might be the key to this. Marie’s Diamond tried to make all there, fading late to finish third and strictly on form has the beating of Duke Of Hazzard (a bit disappointing that day), Skardu and Mohaather. I’ll be the first to say that both Skardu and especially Mohaather were given plenty to do that day and the latter looked a bit unlucky, travelling well and not getting any gaps until it was too late. Many will expect him to reverse the form today, and he may well do.
However, I bet at prices, and I simply cannot have Mohaather at 7-4 and Marie’s Diamond at 9-1, bad luck or no bad luck. Looking at the way the race is likely to set up, Marie’s Diamond is once again likely to get the easiest of easy leads and with (as I can count) at least six of his opponents wanting to be held up to varying degrees, there’s no saying he can’t slip them again and whilst others jockey around for position, it’s not inconceivable he could build up a winning lead. 9-1 looks a price worth chancing that history repeats itself.
Zaaki was only just touched off in this last year and the more it dries, the better his chance. He could be a danger to all if it really quickens up.
3.50 Ascot – 5f Handicap
Lots of pace on here. Take your pick from Ornate, Justanotherbottle, National Anthem and Benny And The Jets to lead these out, and a pace collapse is possible.
Final Venture followers not only have lost all their hair, but have turned their pockets out so many times they have holes in them. But there's no denying his chance here, as he’s drawn perfectly up the middle to track the pace and given he was only beaten a nose in this last year, and is 2lb lower this time around, his chance is there to see. But you’ve got to go back to 2017 to find the last time he won. He might be one to go to war with for exotics and I certainly wouldn’t put you off putting him in each-way doubles with a few of your own fancies, but he’ll need it all to drop right to win.
His conqueror last year was Stone Of Destiny and somehow, he too is 1lb lower than his win last year. Whereas Final Venture will be ridden more forward, Stone Of Destiny usually finds himself further back (especially over 5f) and will need some luck. But he comes into this off the back of an excellent 2l sixth in the Wokingham and should go well.
Arecibo will be well fancied after a good Doncaster effort but I’m struggling to see a reason why he should reverse Wokingham form with Stone Of Destiny, who was well in front of him there. At a much bigger price I’d rather throw a couple of quid e/w at Saaheq, who ran well on the only occasion he’s raced at Ascot, finishing a close fifth in a Class 3 handicap here last October, and the drop back to 5f from 6f (two runs at the trip in June) might be in his favour. Stall 1 might not be ideal, but there’s enough in the price at 40s.
Newmarket 4.10 – Bunbury Cup
There are the usual possible Listed/Group types possibly masquerading as handicappers here, but the market has already found both Motakhayyel and Mutamaasik, and they represent no great value.
I’m struggling to see a reason why I should desert Muntadab, to be honest. I was keen on him last week at Epsom and he duly won, which was great. At various stages throughout the race, though, that did not look likely. So for him to be nicely on top at the finish only backs up what I was saying last week – he’s really enjoying his racing, finding plenty for pressure and I think conditions at Newmarket today will suit him even better. He looks sure to be prominent among those drawn low and has only been put up 3lb for last week’s win.
There’s simply so many you could back here – my shortlist was Muntadab, Raising Sand (ran a cracker from a bad draw at Ascot, ground has come right) and Spanish City, who simply doesn’t know how to run a bad one in these big field handicaps. He was a close fourth to Vale Of Kent in this last year but a 3lb higher mark this time around makes life harder.
Today’s main selection – Muntadab (e/w 5 places, almost all bookmakers)
Good luck with all your bets today,