Horse Racing Tips

Vanessa Ryle: Scottish Summit can hit heights again at Ripon on Thursday

Betting.Betfair horse racing expert Vanessa Ryle
Vanessa Ryle thinks Geoffrey Harker could add another winner on Thursday

"It looks as though Andrew Balding's yard will have their usual big presence at Chester on Saturday and Spirit Mixer aims to continue his good relationship with Callum Hutchinson and win a third race on the bounce together."

Vanessa Ryle says Geoffrey Harker and Andrew Balding have more winners in their sights and discusses Amy Murphy's Royal Ascot prospects...

Winners can sometimes be like London buses and that must have been how Geoffrey Harker felt when he drove home from Newcastle on Tuesday night having saddled a double.

It had been a long time between drinks for Harker's yard so, when stable stalwart Scottish Summit registered his first victory in 20 months in the feature Class 3 Handicap, beating a Haggas-trained hotpot in the process, there must have been a sense of relief for the trainer who hadn't hitherto had a winner in this calendar year.

Just 30 minutes later, Rocket Rod managed to shed his maiden tag at the 16th attempt when winning at 20/1, this time under jockey Sam James.

The quickfire double takes Harker off the cold list and straight on to the hot list and Scottish Summit could improve that again on Thursday at Ripon as he is declared to run there over 10f under just a 4-lb penalty due to his age.

Stepping back up in trip shouldn't cause too much of an inconvenience to the old boy and, judging by how easily he won at Newcastle and the best picks of his back form, he should go close again.

Stott and Shoemark go head to head at Haydock

Unfortunately for Scottish Summit he won't have the benefit of Kevin Stott in the driving seat this time around as he heads to Haydock for a full book of rides, including the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Chichen Itza in the fillies' maiden.

Stott boasted a 33% strike rate when teaming up with Stoute in 2021, admittedly from a relatively small sample size of three winners from nine runners, but clearly Stoute is more than happy to utilize Stott's talents when his more regular jockeys are elsewhere.

In that same maiden the in-form Kieran Shoemark picks up a noteworthy ride for John and Thady Gosden aboard Darmoiselle. By Dubawi and out of Dar Re Mi, the once-raced filly is the sister to Group winners Too Darn Hot, So Mi Dar and Lah Ti Dar.

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She didn't show a huge amount on debut but it is a nice opportunity for Shoemark who was supported by Gosden in his younger days, and his stock is back on the rise now, propelled by a fantastic four-timer at Windsor on Monday.

Murphy's winners give her Royal Ascot options

After a relatively quiet spring, Amy Murphy's two yards - in the UK and France - have both come into a decent bit of form in May and in the last two weeks five winners have come from 17 runners.

They include the two-year-old Manhatten Jungle who is now unbeaten in three starts and her recent cosy success in the Listed Prix des Reves d'Or now makes her the highest-earning two-year-old filly in France so far this year.

By Bungle Inthejungle, she now has options at Royal Ascot that include the Queen Mary or the Albany. Whichever route they choose to take with her she will have to encounter very different going to what she has thus far given that her three races have all been on soft ground - however much of her sire's best form came on firmer ground - and it may be chance rather than design that she heads to the Royal meeting without the experience of a faster surface.

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Finally, Andrew Balding's team seems to have really hit full stride of late with plenty of winners notched up in the last couple of weeks.

It looks as though the yard will have their usual big presence at Chester on Saturday and Spirit Mixer aims to continue his good relationship with Callum Hutchinson and win a third race on the bounce together.

He is bred to be decent but he started life in handicaps a year ago when rated 66, he is now off a career high mark of 90 and has won four times in the process of that rise through the ranks.

His latest six-length win at Chelmsford left the handicapper in no doubt that he was on the improve and, as a result, he now has a 9lb hike in the weights to overcome.

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