Graeme Johnston's (@GraemeJ_83) back in the saddle to provide us with the best bets from Saturday's racing. Ascot, Haydock and Newmarket are all in Graeme's sight this weekend.
12:55 Ascot | More4
I'm not a huge fan of the Shergar Cup. This is not a day I look forward to in the racing calendar but there are winners to be found and there is a horse here I am interested in.
Dutch Masterpiece was one of the most promising sprinters about two seasons ago, winning three races in a row before being sent off favourite for the Prix D'Labbye. He was disappointing when tailing off and since then we haven't seen the best of him. We’ve seen him once last season where he came last of eight in a Newbury sprint, and this season his first two races were pretty uninspiring. He was last seen 24 days ago coming third of four, beaten only a length behind Justineo.
That was a big step forward for him and if he can build on that then we have a very well handicapped horse on our hands. The bigger field here will help as well as he never fully settled last time. It's not the strongest of races and at 10/1 (William Hill) I make him a good each-way bet to get UK and Ireland off to a winning start but more importantly get us off to a good start.
Haydock 15:25 | Channel 4
A mile listed race for fillies and it's a very competitive affair. You can't really rule any of these out completely and with Roxy Star in the field, there is an unexposed filly of real potential.
Roxy Star has won all three of her career starts and last time out was an impressive winner of an Ascot handicap. She is the most progressive filly in this field but I'm not sure if she will maintain her unbeaten record – though she was impressive last time out she is taking a big step up in class and I'm not prepared to back her at these prices.
I'm taking her on with a filly who is as consistent as they come, even if she does find winning difficult. Crowleys Law from the Tom Dascombe yard has run three times this season and has come second on all three occasions. Last time she was slightly disappointing when she was beaten at odds-on in a listed race in Cologne. Now that isn't great form, but she was keen early on and never really seen the race out like she normally does.
She is remarkably consistent and it's only a matter of time until she gets her head back in front. She is a previous winner over course and distance and at 7/1 (Ladbrokes) I see her as the value bet against the favourite.
Newmarket 15.35 | Channel 4
A seven-furlong Group 3 for two-year-old fillies and it looks like a decent renewal. There are four fillies in this that look like solid Group horses in the making, but the favourite Blue Bayou (7/4 William Hill) may just have the edge over them all.
Hawksmoor and Bint Al Reem both won their maidens on debut and are obviously open to all kinds of improvement. However, they are taking on fillies who have stronger form in the book and I feel they would need to be pretty special to win this, so I'm happy to take both on.
Fireglow ran well at Royal Ascot before winning a listed race at Sandown over this trip. That was a solid performance and she looks like a filly that will stay further in time. As a Mark Johnston runner you have to imagine she will be prominently ridden and make this a real test, but I think she has a rival that can cope with that.
Blue Bayou won a Haydock maiden on debut at 20/1, but showed that was no fluke by coming agonisingly close to winning a Newmarket Group 2 last time out. She was held up towards the rear of the field that day and came with a strong late run but arrived just too late. The extra distance here looks to be right up her street and she can gain compensation for that near miss here.
Ascot 12.55 –Dutch Masterpiece (10/1 each-way William Hill)
Haydock 3.25 – Crowleys Law (7/1 Ladbrokes)
Newmarket 3.35 – Blue Bayou (7/4 William Hill)
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