Minzaal return eagerly awaited
Leg 1: Back Minzaal @ 6/1 in the 14:05 at Ascot
The eagerly awaited return of sprinter Minzaal is one of the highlights on the Ascot card, and the 6/1 for a potential Group 1 horse is too tempting to turn down.
The carrot is dangled due to the absence of 371 days, and there must be real sense of frustration for his trainer Owen Burrows after a couple of setbacks. A hind leg injury followed by surgery ruled him out of the first campaign and he missed his intended target of the Commonwealth Cup, and then a further blip in August put paid to his return at Nottingham.
Burrows has said he has been in strong work and thought he was going to be his flag-bearer this term. He still holds an entry on Champions Day.
He couldn't have been more impressive when winning the Group 2 at York last season, breezing into contention down the centre of the Knavesmire taking a few lengths out of the field. Therefore the third in the subsequent Middle Park at the top level looked a bit disappointing. He certainly took a keen hold in the early part.
The drop to 5f today should be seen a positive as he possesses a lot of natural pace.
Exciting Gosden filly a must for handicap bow
Leg 2: Back Beholding @ 2/1 in the 16:05 at Newmarket
I was tempted with some other of the Burrows' runners today with the likes of Hukum and Tabdeed, but the two wide-margin wins of Beholding has swayed me.
Admittedly she didn't beat an awful lot with her 10L victory at Lingfield, but she won by an even bigger margin at Kempton in an incident packed race over 1m4f when the track was riding slow.
She's a very expensive daughter of Le Havre and looked up to Pattern class, but her trainer John Gosden has gone down the handicap route today for her first run on the turf. A mark of 92 won't exactly be a gimme, but she's exciting.
Her nearest rival is Samaar for Roger Varian who should suit the new trip of 1m4f, but I have my struggles in trying to find a winner from that yard.
Daily Multi-Sports Double
Leg 1: Back Mother Earth - 14:55 Newmarket @ 11/4
Kevin Blake says: "Cases can be made for many, but the one that stands out at the prices is the Aidan O'Brien-trained Mother Earth. The daughter of Zoffany has danced every dance this season and has yet to disappoint, winning the 1000 Guineas over this course and distance and the Prix Rothschild at Deauville as well as finishing in the frame in four other Group 1 races."
Leg 2: Back Over 3.5 Goals in Leeds v Watford (KO: 15:00) @ 7/4
Paul Higham says: "Leeds haven't managed to stop Watford scoring at Elland Road in any of their 10 league meetings. The last six league meetings have seen both teams score in five of those, over 2.5 goals in every game and four of the six games containing over 4.5 goals in them."