HE gave us the Derby winner last week, what’s Graeme Johnston (@GraemeJ_83) backing this Saturday?
14:55 Sandown | Channel 4
Generally Listed races the Saturday before Royal Ascot are low quality affairs but this is a decent little race. Profitable and Waady are in my opinion on the brink of Group level but there is something else in this race that has got my pulse racing.
In the last two seasons only four horses have achieved a Timeform rating of 100 or better on their two year old debuts, three of these Kingman, Toormore and Night of Thunder have gone on to have illustrious careers, the other one hasn’t been seen since it’s debut and is lining up here.
Likely, trained by David Barron made her debut at Carlisle last May and put up one of the most visually impressive debuts I have seen in recent seasons winning by an effortless five lengths from Mattmu. Beating a relatively experienced rival like that on debut takes some doing and when you consider that Mattmu has developed into a Group race performer since then it makes Likely’s return all the more intriguing.
The one down side is that she has had her problems since then preventing her from building on that debut success. There is no way of telling how much of an effect her injuries had on her talent, but the fact they have persevered with her and she is returning in a Listed race makes me believe she is showing plenty of sparkle at home.
If she was lining up in this field a month after her debut she would be 8/13 in my opinion, so the fact she is available to back at 11/4 in this overshadows any doubts I have about her fitness.
15:10 York | Channel 4
A 10 runner Listed race where bookmakers go 7/2 the field meaning that we will be well rewarded if we find the winner. I’m not convinced this as wide open as the bookmakers seem to believe, I think it’s between the first four in the market so let’s see who will come out on top.
Yuften was highly tried last season after winning a Newmarket maiden running in the St James Palace at Royal Ascot, before being second past the post in the Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly. He then disappointed in the Sovereign Stakes before being put away for the season. He returned in 2015 with a very flat effort in the Lockinge and I couldn’t back him with any confidence in this even though he brings the best form to the table.
Gabrial is a tough handicapper with the Lincoln to his name already and his future lies in Listed and Group level. He has held his form well since then and I expect him to run his usual solid race, but I feel he’s likely to find one too good for him.
This leaves us Wannabe Yours and Hors De Combat. Wannabe Yours beat his rival last season in a Group 3 at Glorious Goodwood, but was only seen once after that when down the field to Custom Cut in a Newmarket Group 3. He won his maiden first time out as a three year old and I’m not sure if that layoff is necessarily a bad thing.
He was very closely matched with Hors De Combat last season but I believe he has much more scope than his rival and I fully expect him to confirm that Goodwood result here. Hors De Combat seemed out of his depth in the Lockinge and even with race fitness on his side I fancy the John Gosden inmate to come out on top.
14:55 Sandown – Likely to win (11/4 Boylesports)
15:10 York – Wannabe Yours to win (7/2 William Hill)
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