There is some cracking action across Britain and Ireland today – with top sprinter Harry Angel taking to the stage at Haydock, and 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas winners Winter and Churchill in action at Leopardstown.
32Red Sprint Cup Stakes
Harry Angel is the first of the trio in action and he is a warm favourite for the Sprint Cup Stakes. He and Brando understandably dominate the market given their recent form and the fact that they have both run well with give underfoot before is another plus.
However, conditions could be really testing and that may lead to a surprise result, so the two we suggest backing are BLUE POINT and GROWL.
Blue Point is in the same ownership as Harry Angel and the two have clashed twice before. The current score is one all, so it is slightly surprising to see such a big disparity between them in the market. Blue Point has never run on soft ground, which is an obvious concern, but if he can cope with it he looks overpriced.
It is a case of the more rain the better for Growl and he has been running well behind the top sprinters all season. He looks the pick of the long shots and could sneak a place at a rewarding price.
|Blue Point (ew)||2.25 Haydock||14/1||Bet365|
|Growl (ew)||2.25 Haydock||20/1||Bet365|
32Red Be Friendly Handicap
The Be Friendly Handicap follows and two soft ground performers catch our eye.
First is REFLEKTOR. He ran poorly at Chester last time out, but had been in good form prior to that and could easily bounce back to form on his preferred surface.
MAYLEAF SHINE had good winning form in these conditions in Ireland and has slowly been running into form for his new stable. He is starting to look well handicapped and today will hopefully see him returning to the winner’s enclosure.
|Reflektor (ew)||3.00 Haydock||10/1||Bet365|
|Mayleaf Shine (ew)||3.00 Haydock||17/2||Stan James|
Over at Ascot there are a couple of big field handicaps for punters to get stuck into.
First up is the Cunard Handicap over 7f.
Birchwood looks a solid favourite, but his price isn’t all that attractive given the size and strength of the field, so a better option could be MIJACK, who ran so well over course and distance here on his last racecourse appearance.
Of those at double figure prices the two to side with are MASHAM STAR and RAISING SAND, as that also gives us runners drawn both high and low.
Masham Star is as tough as they come and seems to thrive on racing. He stays a mile so he could be hard to peg back over this slightly shorter trip if adopting his usual front running tactics.
Raising Sand bounced back to form here recently and could be a horse to follow now. He is just the type that his underrated handler, Jamie Osbourne, does so well with and he is quite happy with some give underfoot.
|Mijack (ew)||2.45 Ascot||7/1||Bet365, Paddy Power|
|Masham Star (ew)||2.45 Ascot||14/1||BetVictor|
|Raising Sand (ew)||2.45 Ascot||14/1||Bet365, BetVictor|
The Appletiser Stakes is another competitive handicap at 3.55pm, this time over a mile and a half for 3 year olds.
The top weight, ANYTHINGTODAY, is the one we like here as he looks sure to improve for the step up in trip. His yard is in good form too and Josephine Gordon gets on well with him.
His main rival may prove to be SEAFARER as he looks to be improving fast for a handler who knows how to get the best out of a decent horse. He also has the help of a good claimer, who can offset some of the 9lbs rise in the weights that followed his recent win at Chepstow.
|Anythingtoday (ew)||3.55 Ascot||8/1||Bet365|
|Seafarer (ew)||3.55 Ascot||12/1||Bet365|
QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes
When all of the best action in England has finished for the day, attention will turn to The Champion Stakes in Ireland, where Churchill has been well backed in recent days to give Aiden O’Brien yet another winner in the race.
However, we think he will have his work cut out to beat EMINENT, who seems to be on more of an upward trajectory than the Coolmore colt.
Eminent may have finished behind Churchill in the Guineas, but he looks to have ideal conditions here and should be more suited to the mile and a quarter trip than his old rival. He also showed his well-being with a pillar to post win in France last time out.
If he can cope with the drop back in trip, Poets Word looks the main danger.
|Eminent (ew)||6.45 Leopardstown||5/1||Paddy Power, BetVictor|