RACING fan Graeme Johnston (@GraemeJ_83) picks out his best bet from Saturday’s action at York and Musselburgh.
14:55 York | ITV4
A listed race over just short of a mile and there is plenty of old favourites lining up here. With question marks about some of the favourites form – and whether they maintain their ability or enthusiasm – I’m looking at one who is very much on the upgrade.
Thikriyaat (9/2 Ladbrokes) looked like he was going to be better than listed level when winning at Glorious Goodwood but health problems hindered his progress. If he’s back and 100% I would expect him to win this but his return was flat and he’s best watched here.
Mondoaliste (11/2 Ladbrokes) has won Group 1’s in America and Canada and loves firm ground so he has to be respected here. He ran well at the track last season but he seems to have lost a yard of pace, and over this trip he may be venerable. He will stay on well but others appeal more as win propositions.
Spark Plug (9/2 Ladbrokes) won the Cambridgeshire last year and looks better than a handicapper now. Last time out at Goodwood he travelled supremely well but left himself with too much to do going down narrowly.
Jamie Spencer was criticised that day and James Doyle takes over and will be keen not to make the same mistake. This looks like it will be run at a decent pace and I think he looks like the most likely winner.
15:10 Musselburgh | ITV4
The Scottish Sprint Cup Handicap is the highlight of the year for the track and takes centre stage on Ladies Day. Seventeen are scheduled to go to post and as always with races of this type, it could be a messy race and luck in running is vital.
But there is one with plenty of handicap experience I have backed…
Duke Of Firenze (7/1 BetVictor) is eight now but he’s been in great form of late. A win at York followed by a slightly unlucky looking third at Epsom last time show that this veteran is still a force in this type of race. He was third in this race last year but he’s higher in the weights now and is passed over here.
Kimberella (12/1 William Hill) has plenty of big race experience and is another who seems to be getting better with age. He joined Richard Fahey over the winter and won a couple of races on the all-weather but hasn’t quite transferred that improvement back to the turf, and isn’t likely to improve upon his fourth in this race last year.
The one I really like here is the Tim Easterby-trained Orion’s Bow (15/2 Coral). Since joining the yard he hasn’t looked a world-beater but he should be spot on now.
He won five on the spin last year and was a good second in the Stewards Cup too. I’m convinced he will win a big handicap this season and I think this could be his day under Rachel Richardson.