Kevin Blake recommends two bets for Saturday afternoon including one in the big race at Beverley and a fascinating contender at Newmarket...
"With most of the older horses having some sort of doubt or concern attached to them, I’m going to take a chance on one of the younger brigade in the shape of Royal Scimitar."
This may not be one of the more high-profile weekends in the racing calendar, but as usual there will be a varied menu of competitive action showcased on ITV on Saturday afternoon and hopefully I can pull a winner or two out of my hat.
Dodds to strike Gold at Beverley
The pick of the action at Beverley is the William Hill Beverley Bullet Sprint Stakes (15:15) and it could well see a repeat success for last year's winner, the Michael Dodds-trained Dakota Gold. The seven-year-old has been a tremendous horse for his connections, winning 13 races including six at stakes level and numerous valuable handicaps.
While he hasn't been at his best in his three starts this season, in his last couple of campaigns it has seemed to take him a few races for him to run into top shape. There has been some promise in his last couple of runs too, with him finishing second to Judicial in a Listed race at Chester despite seeming to hate the track and not he didn't run too badly at all in the Nunthorpe Stakes last time. This is a course and distance he clearly enjoys and having won this race from stall eight last year, it wouldn't be at all surprising to see him run a big race from stall 10.
Royal Scimitar is a fascinating contender
Over at Newmarket, the Close Brothers Hopeful Stakes (14:45) brings together an interesting mix of established smart sprinters and younger, more progressive types with the potential to be smart. With most of the older horses having some sort of doubt or concern attached to them, I'm going to take a chance on one of the younger brigade in the shape of Royal Scimitar.
The three-year-old made a winning debut over six furlongs last season, but his connections stepped him up in trip thereafter and persevered for quite some time with him at longer trips, despite him very much shaping as though he was all about speed. He was finally returned to six furlongs in his last two starts and while he didn't win on either occasion, he could readily be considered as having been notably unlucky both times.
At Newmarket in July he was simply drawn on the wrong side, storming home to hammer those that raced in the bigger group on his side only to finish three rivals that raced on the other side narrowly too good for him. He was arguably even more unlucky on his latest start at the Shergar Cup meeting at Ascot, as the ground ended up being softer than ideal, he blew the start and raced all alone on the near side, yet still was only beaten half a length by a subsequent winner.
The promise of those two runs was crystal clear and while this represents a significant step up in class, Royal Scimitar gives every impression of being capable of competing at stakes level. Course, distance and ground will all suit and he is a fascinating contender.
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