4 picks from Newbury and Newmarket

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The horse racing broadcaster offers his selections from the best of the action around the racecourses on Saturday.

An excellent week of racing at York saw Economics leave the field trailing in the Dante, and connections will now have to weigh up the cost/benefit of paying the £75,000 supplementary fee having taken him out of the race at the previous entry stage. That was to resist the temptation to run a big horse who may need more time to fulfil his obvious potential. The Haggas camp could not have expected such a dominant performance in a year that looks open after City of Troy’s blowout in the Guineas and it will be interesting where he heads next.

The Oaks looks equally open with what looked a below par Musidora and Lingfield Oaks Trial. From the Musidora, Classical Song may turn out to the best of them but it still looks a long way short of the standard required and it could well be that a lightly raced horse similar to the 1000 Guineas winner may step forward on the day.

More of that in the weeks to come as the focus turns to Newbury and the first older horse Group 1, the Al Shaqab Lockinge over 1m, which is the feature race of the weekend. The weather could play a big hand here, with drier ground aiding the chances of Inspiral while more rain would favour Big Rock. Both have question marks, though, Big Rock having moved stables since the runway Ascot victory on Champions Day and Inspiral taking a bit of knowing and ridden for the first time by Kieran Shoemark, who will be hoping to partner a big winner for boss John Gosden. I can see Poker Face making the frame but the ground uncertainty means it is not easy to pinpoint a bet.

DESERT HERO

11/8

(13:50 Newbury) is the highest rated horse in the Group 3 Aston Park Stakes and should relish the return to 1m 4f after a solid return at Sandown over two furlongs shorter. He placed third in the St Leger and won at this level at Goodwood last August. He likes a good pace to run at so hopefully Cemhaan will not be gifted a soft lead and there will be enough of a gallop to see his class tell.

The London Gold Cup often proves to be solid form and there are several progressive horses in this season’s line up. GOODWOOD ODYSSEY

11/2

(15:00 Newbury) is one of them, having won on his two-year-old debut at a big price and followed up with two solid races this season, including a Sandown victory last time on his handicap debut. He has been raised 7lb for that win but looks well ahead of his mark and it may be that the horse he beat at Sandown, Brioni, proves the main danger. He was a winner for the stable tracker earlier on in the season and has a 6lb pull at the weights for a 1 3/4l beating. Goodwood Odyssey still looked raw that day and should have learnt a lot from having to overcome some trouble in the run and is taken to confirm the form.

Neil Callan has not had many rides for Richard Hannon but the last time they teamed up in this country was in July last year, with Lexington Castle winning at Newcastle at 100/30. Neil has two rides for the yard on Saturday, the pick of which looks to be LOVE BILLY BOY

11/2

(14:05 Newmarket), who looks as if he could have things set up nicely for him by the likely strong pace, with several who like to go forward in opposition. He was only just beaten last time after not being the best-placed tactically over 6f on his seasonal return.

Away from the main action, MISS GHILLIE

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(18:50 Bangor) caught my eye at Lingfield in February and even though she was well held on her handicap debut she is not one to give up on yet. Her stable is going well and she is still quite raw, with a basement mark of 79 looking to underestimate her ability. A more positive ride would also be helpful as there is not a great deal of pace here.

JOCKEYS FOR COURSES

Our weekly list of riders heading to tracks where they have a good record.

Bangor-On-Dee: Lee Edwards (18/183, Actual/Expected Ratio 1.40). The pick looks to be Pillar Of Steel on his second run back with Henry Oliver. A similar angle paid off with Jessie Lightfoot as Southwell on Tuesday.

Newbury: Tom Marquand (52/366 A/E, 1.22). Plenty of chances from his five rides, which include Royal runner Desert Hero back up in trip in the 13:50.

Thirsk: Paddy Mathers (24/203, A/E 2.39). Hardy Angel (18:02) looks well drawn on the stands rail.

Uttoxeter: Ben Jones (12/61, A/E 1.75) Just one mount in the 20:33 on Just Chasing May on just his second run in handicap company.

STABLE TRACKER HORSES

A frustrating period came to an end this week with wins for Spirited Dancer (11/1) and Master Builder (5/2), a second for Global Asset,a third for Danielle and unplaced efforts from Crossing The Bar and SUMMERGHAND (14:40 Newmarket) who turns out quickly again after being badly hampered by a faller at York earlier in the week.

Having crunched a few numbers, it seems that I would be better off leaving all tracker horses on for three runs after they are highlighted unless they win, in which case they are removed (as they will likely be short prices next time).

This means Danielle is released, and Summerghand will be after this run after catching the eye at Newmarket, only to disapppint there and then be hampered in a nasty incident at York on Wednesday. He remains off a good mark and deserves a change of luck. A strongly run race is what is needed and ideally not the following wind, which has often made it difficult to close on the Rowley Mile this season.

There will be likely be some additions from York this week but I just need time to trawl through the replays properly.

Hosaamm and Games People Play both run in the same Newbury maiden (16:00) on Friday.

Released: Danielle, Spirited Dancer, Master Builder

A full link to the current list of tracker horses can be found here.

COLUMN PERFORMANCE 2024

Day Selections: 21/23.13, A/E 0.91

Jockeys For Courses: 22/24.27, A/E 0.91

Stable Tracker Horses: 10/11.36, A/E 0.88

Overall Performance: 53/58.76, A/E 0.90

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