Timeform UK SmartPlays: Saturday 29 June

Horses at the finish
There is Flat racing from Newcastle on Saturday

Timeform pick out their best back, lay and smart stat bets on Saturday...

"...there are grounds to suggest that he has been underestimated in the betting on his return to pattern company..."

Timeform on Cardsharp

Back
Air Raid - 13:50 Newcastle

Air Raid proved a different proposition when dropping back to six furlongs for his penultimate outing at Hamilton - form which is working out well (third won a 22-runner handicap next-time-out) - and he again had plenty in hand when defying a penalty back there six days later, making all the running to to get the verdict by two and three quarter lengths. Jedd O'Keefe's charge has a further 8 lb rise in the weights to contend with here, but he remains relatively unexposed as a sprinter and looks sure to take all the beating if continuing his progress now switched back to tapeta - his connections are entitled to be harbouring hopes of contesting some of the more prestigious sprint handicaps during the summer if all goes to plan here.

Lay
Sermon - 15:45 Chester

Sermon has the best form on offer here, by virtue of his close-up second at Wolverhampton on Monday, but there were some aspects of his performance that make him a slightly risky proposition at short odds this time round. Indeed, he looked a hard ride when attempting to deliver his challenge, hanging badly left under pressure just as he had on his debut, and while it may be something that can be ironed out as he gains in experience, the jury is out for the time being. Another reason to take him on is the presence of Richard Fahey's Upstate New York - he shaped well amidst greenness when fourth on his debut at Nottingham and should be able to find the necessary improvement to bridge the gap to the prohibitively-priced Sermon in an interesting minor event.

Smart Stat
Cardsharp - 15:15 Newmarket

Smart Stat: 21% - Mark Johnston's strike rate at NEWMARKET (JULY) since the start of the 2015 season

Cardsharp was well held on his most recent outing in the Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot (possibly found test too much), but he is clearly better than that, as he showed when defying a lofty handicap mark at York the time before, and there are grounds to suggest that he has been underestimated in the betting on his return to pattern company. Indeed, Mark Johnston's charge has produced some of his best efforts at this venue in the past, including when winning the July Stakes back in 2017, and he could prove difficult to peg back if allowed to dominate, with the form of his York win not far off what the standard-setting Glorious Journey achieved when second in a listed race at Windsor last time.

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