LOOKING for the best Saturday horse racing tips? Our man Graeme Johnston (@GraemeJ_83) has picked out his best bets.
14:00 Newcastle | Channel 4
The big flat meeting of the year at Newcastle is upon us and there is a decent little sprint on the card here.
Watchable ran a solid race last week when favourite for the Wokingham at Royal Ascot but I don’t expect him to return to winning ways here. His best form is in big field handicaps and I expect him to have his day later in the season.
Mattmu looked like he was going to be a sprinter to follow this season after ending last year with two good wins, but after a good seasonal debut he disappointed somewhat behind Adaay at Haydock. That was a hot little race, and the three year old sprinters look a decent bunch, but I still expect him to fall short here.
The one I’m siding with is last years winner Danzeno. After winning this race last season he ran twice more going down by a head twice, once in a Goodwood handicap and the other on an Ascot Group 3. On both occasions he was well clear of third, and was unfortunate not to have ended the season with another two wins under his belt.
A four year old with only eight starts to his name he’s an unexposed sprinter who I expect to end up competing in the top sprints later in the season. He made his return this year in the Temple Stakes in what looks like a very good renewal. He finished fourth coming to win the race before being caught close home. He’ll improve here for the return to six furlongs and I am very confident he will win this before taking his place at the top table of the sprint division for the rest of the season.
15:25 Newmarket | Channel 4
Two weeks ago I backed Wannabe Yours and was very confident. Making his seasonal debut he was strongly backed on course but unfortunately the writing was on the wall two furlongs in to the race. He sweated up badly before the race then he refused to settle and pulled hard and in a slowly run race and was ultimately well beaten behind Top Notch Tonto.
Today he lines up in the John Sunley Memorial Criterion Stakes and I have been waiting for this. I see Wannabe Yours as a horse of enormous potential and I’m confident that he will be more professional here. He drops to seven furlongs here and this will help him settle better. He’s never won over this trip but he has the pace to cope with the reduced distance, and if anything it could be the making of him.
He comes up against old rival Hors De Combat here, and I was confident he would beat him last time and obviously that remains so. Down the field in the Lockinge he returns to a more suitable level here and he should run a good race but I expect him to fall short.
Code Red is another who was out his depth in Group races, including the 2000 Guineas, before winning a Listed race at Epsom on Derby weekend. He won well there but this requires another step up and I think he too is playing for place money.
I’m confident of a much improved showing from Wannabe Yours here and if not then it’s time to rub him off my list of horses to follow this season.
17:50 Curragh | At The Races
The Railway Stakes is here and it’s attracted a small but select field. Log Out Island is a short price favourite here after his second in the Norfolk Stakes. That was a solid enough performance, and he looks like the step up to six furlongs will suit him but I’m not backing him here. I’m torn between two to take him on with and they are Rockaway Valley and Argentero.
Rockaway Valley made his debut in a hot Curragh maiden coming second to subsequent Coventry Stakes second Air Force Blue. He went down by a neck on debut and put that experience to good use when making all to easily win a decent maiden here on his second start. He looks a lovely prospect for the Harrington yard and I believe he is ready for the step up in trip. However I think there is one in the field that looks better than him at this stage.
Argentero has had three starts, winning twice and finishing second behind the disappointing Coventry favourite Round Two. I still believe he is a top two year old and in my opinion Argentero brings form as strong as Log Out Island to the table here. He easily won a trappy looking Naas Listed race and the logical step after that was Royal Ascot. Ger Lyons decided to swerve that for a crack at this race and I believe his patience will be rewarded here. Connections expect him to be lining up in all the top two year old races after this and I believe he will win this race. 5/1 is a great price for our selection here.
18:30 Curragh | At The Races
The Irish Derby is here and it sees the second, third and fourth from the Epsom version line up. Unfortunately Golden Horn has decided not to go for the double but we are still left with an intriguing race.
In recent years this has been a benefit race for Ballydoyle with Aidan O’Brien holding a virtual monopoly on this race. Though Jack Hobbs looks like the most likely winner here I’m not confident enough to back him at 4/5. He is still a relatively inexperienced horse, and despite his two defeats being behind the potentially exceptional Golden Horn, I see him being vulnerable here.
When half the field are from the same stable, team tactics become a real possibility. Whether it becomes a messy race with no pace, or they send off pacemakers like scalded cats they are masters at finding a way to win big races.
I’m going to take a chance here on the apparent first choice from the O’Brien yard in Highland Reel. I was very impressed with his victory last season at Glorious Goodwood in the Vintage Stakes, and I backed him ante-post for the derby. Unfortunately he was sent to France for the Guineas instead, and he was disappointing.
He returned to France for the French Derby and ran a much better race coming second to the potentially very smart New Bay. He ran on well that day, hinting that there was more to come for a step up in trip. He has been taken along slowly this season, and I don’t think we have seen the best of him yet. He doesn’t have to improve dramatically to win this and I can see him adding to Ryan Moore’s already bulging trophy cabinet.
14:00 Newcastle – Danzeno to win (15/8 Betway)
15:25 Newcastle – Wannabe Yours to win (5/1 BetVictor)
17:50 Curragh – Argentero to win (5/1 Betway)
18:30 Curragh – Highland Reel to win (9/2 William Hill)