Timeform UK SmartPlays: Friday July 27

Two of our SmartPlays on Friday come from Ascot

Today's SmartPlays take on quality cards at Ascot and York, where the focus is on some useful handicaps...

Hajras' best run came at Newbury in May on good ground when second to Expense Claim, and though he is yet to run on quicker ground than this, it suggests he could handle it.

Our first SmartPlay comes from Ascot where the improving Montaser (16:05) takes a big step up in trip. At Haydock last time the quick ground proved to his liking, when winning by a neck to Rainbow Gold, the pair finishing well clear of the rest of the field. The three-year-old has gone up 8lbs since that win, but he can take advantage of the weight allowance, now against older horses, and the extra distance, which is likely to suit him on this ground.

Paul Hanagan heads north once again today, but of his nine rides at Thirsk and York, only three are for his boss. This probably speaks more for the chances of Hamdan Al Maktoum's listed runner Firdaws at York, than against those running at Ascot this afternoon though, so we're fairly unperturbed about the chances of Hajras (16:40 Ascot). Still unexposed, the Dubai Destination colt shaped better than the bare result when three and a half length sixth of 13 at Newmarket last time after a two-month break, when meeting trouble just under two furlongs out. This race looks easier than that and Mark Johnston's horses are running well at the moment. Hajras' best run came at Newbury in May on good ground when second to Expense Claim, and though he is yet to run on quicker ground than this, it suggests he could handle it.

We follow Mark Johnston to York's evening meeting where Crown Counsel (20:00) can come out on top. The colt returned to form last time when one and three-quarter lengths third to Asatir at Windsor and runs off his previous winning BHA mark today. Furthermore, the jockey booking looks significant, given that Keiren Fallon won on board Anderiego over course and distance last time out, but prefers our selection today.

Timeform SmartPlays
Back Montaser @ 3.39/4 in the 16:05 Ascot
Back Hajras @ 3.65 in the 16:40 Ascot
Back Crown Counsel @ 6.411/2 in the 20:00 York

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