There are some big field handicaps to get stuck into across the country today, which should get us nicely in the mood for the even tougher puzzles that lie ahead at Royal Ascot next week.
The focus of the ITV cameras is the meeting at York and 18 runners look set to go to post for the JCB Handicap at 2.20pm.
The draw can play its part here, so it is unfortunate that two of our fancied runners are berthed out wide. However, we are going to stick with GALLIPOLI and SHADY MCCOY in the hope that they get the necessary luck in running.
Gallipoli got stuck in the soft ground on his latest appearance, but had looked progressive before that and he can resume his upward curve here.
We have highlighted the training talents of Ian Williams before and Shady McCoy is a 7f specialist. The wide draw may not be such an issue for him as he is usually held up anyway – we just need to hope he gets a clear passage when it matters.
At monster prices Farlow or Tanzeel are capable of springing a surprise, but the other one to back is the bottom weight, MAZYOUN, who is more favourably drawn than our other selections. He is lightly raced and should also be better suited by today’s drying ground.
|Gallipoli (ew)||2.20 York||16/1||Bet365|
|Shady McCoy (ew)||2.20 York||9/1||Bet365|
|Mazyoun (ew)||2.20 York||10/1||Bet365|
Another favourite trainer of ours, Ralph Beckett, has decent chances in the next two races.
First up for him and Fran Berry is GOLDEN STUNNER and this filly can progress further now stepped back up to a mile. She looks the value in a very competitive heat.
|Golden Stunner (ew)||2.55 York||15/2||Bet365|
Macmillan Charity Handicap
MUNRO then has a chance of giving Beckett a quick-fire double, although he will have to overcome another big field to do so. Like so many horses that run there, he was unlucky at Chester last time out, but he showed enough to suggest he is ahead of the handicapper.
The other two we like are GULLIVER and GOLDEN APOLLO.
Gulliver is another lightly raced Hugo Palmer runner, like our earlier tip Mazyoun. He can break slowly, but if he gets away from the gates on terms today he should have strong each way claims.
Golden Apollo represents Tim Easterby who has had a cracking season so far. He also saddles the slightly more fancied Carlton Frankie, but Golden Apollo is more proven at the distance and looked a horse to follow when winning easily at Pontefract on Monday.
|Munro (ew)||3.30 York||11/1||Coral|
|Gulliver (ew)||3.30 York||12/1||Coral|
|Golden Apollo (ew)||3.30 York||8/1||Sky Bet|
Scottish Sprint Cup Handicap
Easterby has a strong hand in Musselburgh’s big race too, the Scottish Sprint Cup.
Of his three runners we like ORIONS BOW, who has only had two starts since joining the Yorkshire handler. He is drawn well and could be ready for this drop in trip.
Paul Midgley also has three runners and any of them could easily win. Our slight preference among his trio is for GAMESOME, despite his terrible recent win record. He ran well at York off this mark last time out and will surely get his head back in front soon.
The final selection was a toss-up between Midgley’s Desert Law and DUKE OF FRIENZE, and in the end we have plumped for the latter as we think he could simply be a lot better than these now he seems to be back to his best. The only negative is that he will need the gaps to come at the right time.
Once again, Sky Bet are offering 5 places for each-way bets on this race.
|Orions Bow (ew)||3.10 Musselburgh||8/1||Bet365|
|Gamesome (ew)||3.10 Musselburgh||8/1||Bet365|
|Duke Of Frienze (ew)||3.10 Musselburgh||6/1||Sky Bet|
Sandown’s big race is the Scurry Stakes for 3 year olds over 5f. A low draw is usually a plus here, which put us off Battaash. Instead, we would suggest backing EQUIMOU, who looks the sort to keep improving through the season.
|Equimou (ew)||2.40 Sandown||7/1||Bet365|