Most of our selections ran well yesterday. Gracious John was only beaten two and half lengths in finishing fifth at Ascot and King’s Gift finished third at York.Luna Bear and Topmeup were fourth and sixth respectively at Newmarket, although both were well beaten. Santafiori and Kodicat were both placed at Thirsk and returned place money and Destroyer was a non runner at York. Our day was put into profit when Quick Look (York) appreciated the easing conditions to run out a convincing winner.
2.25 – Ascot:
Ulshaw Bridge. 0.75 pts e/w. Available at 18/1. (Skybet – 1/5 odds first 5)
Papa Stour. 0.75 pts e/w. Available at 18/1. (Skybet – 1/5 odds first 5)
A very competitive handicap for three year olds and there are plenty who appear on a steep upward curve. Escalator, George Of Hearts, Corrosive and Crack On Crack On have plenty of upside to them with the first two named just preferred of the quartet. It’s not surprising to see them to the fore in the market and they may well dominate the finish but there are viable alternatives at bigger prices. Ulshaw Bridge has progressed in each of his four starts since the cheekpieces went on this season and, although only five pounds better off for being beaten just over four lengths by Crack On Crack On at Haydock in May, he has shown improved form since. He may still have his work cut out to turn the form round but he’s currently trading at around three times the price of his conqueror so looks worthy of an e/w consideration. It’s a similar story with Papa Stour. He was comfortably beaten by Escalator last time out at Newmarket and has ten pounds with which to erode a two and half length defeat. The ease by which Escalator eventually picked him up suggests he will confirm the form but that was Papa Stour’s first run for 146 days and he he traveled well for a long way until his lack of fitness eventually told. He currently trades at around four times the price of the favourite and, like Ulshaw Bridge, he has shown enough to believe he can get competitive and make the frame at least.
2.40 – York – Flying Pursuit. 1.5 pts e/w. Available at 9/1. (Paddy Power – 1/5 odds first 5)
The winner of this race last season, Flying Pursuit hasn’t been in the same kind of form this season. However, his last four starts have all come on fast ground and he is a much better horse when the ground rides good or slower. The fact he produced the best fast ground performance of his career on his penultimate start at Ripon suggests he may be running better than his results this term suggest. If he is then he could stage a major form revival now the ground has turned in his favour. He has dropped nine pounds since the start of the season and that leaves him two pounds below the mark from which he was a winner at Ripon last September. He has a new jockey this afternoon but he rode a double at this track yesterday so his confidence will be sky high. The yard would appear to hold better chances with Golden Apollo but there isn’t much between the two and Flying Pursuit is the bigger price.
3.00 – Ascot:
Spanish City. 1.25 pts win. Available at 11/1. (Skybet, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power – 1/5 odds first 6)
Firmament. 1 pt e/w. Available at 14/1. (Paddy Power – 1/5 odds first 6)
Hajjam. 0.5 pts e/w. Available at 40/1. (Betway – 1/5 odds first 7)
3.20 – Newcastle – My Target. 1.25 pts win. Available at 10/1.
6.45 – Salisbury – Three Little Birds. 3 pts win. Available at 5/1.