So Royal Ascot is done and we did OK in the end, with the highlight surely taking Paddy’s cash with his horse Slade Power – that felt good. You hear me Paddy?
This weekend big handicaps take centre stage away from the Irish Derby, and at Newcastle it is Plate day, a massive party up North.
The draw always plays a part here, a bit like in the Chester Cup, and you don’t want to be drawn too wide although some have managed to overcome a birth in the carpark. The one I like is Suegioo (15/2), who is up 6lb for his Chester Cup success but who is unexposed over staying trips. His stable of Marco Botti is close to hitting form, and Martin Harley will be itching for a big win after he missed the start of the season. Stall 10 is perfect and I think he will run huge.
Also at Newcastle is the Chipchase sprint, and the 3yo Saayeer should take all the beating here. He ran well over 7f on his seasonal debut, and the drop in trip will be no problem. He’s certainly the improver in the field who already has the top rating.
At Newmarket, the Empress Stakes is not a bad renewal, with a bunch of 2-year-olds open to all sorts of improvement. I like Tigrilla for Roger Varian, who made a good impression when winning easily at Haydock after a fine second on her debut at Leicester. She could be decent.
Newmarket also hosts the Criterion Stakes over 7f, and with nine runners this is an event worth having a look at for betting purposes. Gregorian stays well, having won at 9f, but he has also scored three times over 7f from five races, so is a little bit of a specialist at this distance. He’s not easy to predict, but takes a drop in Grade and may have a going day.
As far as the Irish Derby is concerned, Australia (1/3) will probably beat Kingston Hill (7/2) if the latter turns up. But let’s have a bit of fun with the forecast here and play Australia and Orchestra (33/1). The latter flopped in the Derby, but had beaten Romsdal at Chester and Romsdal was third at Epsom not far off Kingston Hill. If returning to his best, Orchestra could steal the runner up spot.
At the Curragh on Sunday the big event is the Pretty Polly which carries Group 1 status, and Ambivalent may be hard to catch once again. She is consistent, and of course knows how to win this race.
So good luck everyone and have a great weekend. And if we bang in a winner or two give it a big Yeeehaaa!