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A quality day of racing, with multiple tracks putting on some brilliant races. Six selections from me today, on what is a busy Saturday. Hopefully you find some winners.
Parachute will more than likely go off a strong favourite due to his form from Royal Ascot, finishing a good 3rd behind Surefire in the King George V Stakes (0-105). This is definitely a drop down in grade for him, and he'll find this task much easier, but at the prices I think he can be taken on. I like SPIRIT MIXER who gets in this race at the bottom of the weights, running off 8st. This well-bred son of Frankel has been consistent this season, but last time out he managed to finally get his head in front.
He was put up 6lbs for he recent win over this course and distance, but he will be running off a mark of 74 in this race, as he is 2lbs out of the handicap. Despite this, I still think he has a solid enough chance. This is obviously a step up in grade for him, as he's been contesting Class 5 and Class 6 races this season, but he seems to be progressing and seems to like this track. He won quite comfortably in the end, and showed a good turn of foot at the two pole, where he grabbed the rail and took the lead. I think we could see that turn of foot again, especially when you consider he's carrying a featherweight of 8st. The form of his runner-up finish at Salisbury has worked out quite well. The winner (Alerta Roja, trained by Sir Mark Prescott) has since won twice, including at Ascot yesterday, and looks like Sir Mark's yearly progressive stayer who will be primed for the Cesarewitch later in the season. The third from that race has since bolted up at Beverley, winning by 4.5 lengths.
He is by Frankel, and out of Arabian Queen who was a Group 1 winning Mare. It would be very surprising and quite disappointing if a horse of this pedigree wasn't better than his current mark of 72 (74 for today's race). I do think that this July track at Newmarket suits him very well, and if it's anything to go by, his full-sister won at the July Meeting two days ago (Frankella).
Andrew Balding continues to be in hot form, with a 20% SR in the last 14 days, with 12 wins from 59 runners.
Advised: Each Way
An 8lb rise in the weights will make this tougher, but SPANISH KISS looks like a handicapper who can keep progressing, especially with how I expect this race to unfold.
In the last two races, Spanish Kiss has matured from a horse who wouldn't settle, to a horse who understands how to race economically. He has a quality turn of foot for a stayer, and that was why I thought the last race he won was tailor made for him, as it lacked a strong gallop. This race today also appears to lack a good gallop, with Vindolanda and American Gigolo being the only ones who have raced from the front a couple times before. This could mean a slow pace could be set again, and it could turn into a bit of a sprint, which will more than likely favour Spanish Kiss. Obviously, he is 8lbs higher than his recent win, which will make things slightly tougher, but he seems to be progressing well and is still unexposed over this type of trip.
Ispahan is an interesting runner, and one you'd have to be wary of the combination of Jamie Spencer and Simcock. I thought he would've had a very strong chance of winning last time at Goodwood, but he failed to build on his promising run the time before. It wouldn't surprise me to see him return to form off a mark which is within reach.
On paper you'd have to say this is quite competitive, with a few of the names in the race having strong claims based on their recent form. I'm siding with the French form, as I think that is by far the best form of offer, so TILSIT is the answer for me in this race.
In his early days he was extremely coltish, so the fact they've not had to geld this son of First Defence is quite remarkable, as he has matured massively. Due to him maturing, it's allowed him to race much better, as he doesn't take a strong pull anymore.
This will be one of his best chances of winning a Group 2, as I think this race is actually between a handful of them, despite it looking competitive on paper. His most recent run at Lonchamp in the Group 1 Prix D'Ispahan was a tremendous effort, as he was only beaten on the line to the smart 6yo, Skalleti, who has been a wonderful servant to trainer, J Reynier. The form of that race has worked out well, with My Oberon (3rd), running a huge race to finish 3.25 lengths behind Love at Royal Ascot, where he was probably racing over a distance which was a furlong too far. Wally (4th) has since won a Group 2 in Italy, and Ecrivain who finished last, has won a Group 3 at Chantilly, and he did it quite cosily.
He has not been seen for 41 days, but that wouldn't be a concern, as he ran well on his seasonal reappearance after 99 days off the track. I think the slowish ground which he might have to encounter won't hinder him, as even though his pedigree suggests it might not be what he wants, he seemed to handle Good To Soft at Longchamp, which was definitely a career best.
With Clive Cox's yard firing in the winners again, it makes TIS MARVELLOUS much more appealing in a race which he has previously won before.
There is no doubt about it, running in this race off a mark of 101 is going to be a tough ask, but if there was ever a horse to do it, it is Tis Marvellous, as he won this race in 2019 off a mark of 103.
There was a sign of a revival in his last race, where he finished 4th of 8 in a Class 2 at Newbury, in a race which has produced a good level of form. The winner, Came From The Dark has since been placed in a Group 3 and then won last weeks Sandown Coral Charge (Group 3). Garrus who was second, has since ran some good races in defeat, recently finishing 5th, 2.75 lengths behind Dream Of Dreams in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes Group 1 at Royal Ascot. King's Lynn was third from the Newbury race, and he was a winning tip for us at Haydock where he won a Class 1 Listed race. Since then, he has been an unlucky loser in the King's Stand, where he was blocked in running, and the same happened in the Wokingham where he finished a close 3rd.
This horse seems to handle any type of ground, so I wouldn't be worried if it goes off at Good To Soft, as he has ran some good races on that kind of surface, such as his 4th in the King's Stand last year, behind Battaash.
It is generally a good thing to be drawn high in big field handicaps at Ascot, and especially in this race. Tis Marvellous is drawn in 17, which is normally seen to be a big advantage. 13 wins have come from double digit stalls since 2001.
Advised: Each Way
The form line that QASBAZ is involved in, I rate highly, as it has worked out much better than you'd have thought at a first glance, which is why I think he is better than his current mark of 76.
Qasbaz ran in a race at Doncaster where I tipped up Wild Hope, who ran like he had no hope. Qasbaz finished second in that race, and he split two 3yo's, and I think the winner is much better than his revised rating of 79, and races next week, so it will be interesting to see how he runs. The 5th has since come out and finished 2nd in a competitive handicap at Musselburgh, and then he went on and won at Ayr. Natchez Trace who was last in the race at Doncaster, and was 14 lengths behind the winner, he won next time out, which goes to show the strength of that race.
On his next run, Qasbaz won a Class 5 in fantastic style, and in the style of a horse well ahead of his handicap rating. He made a mockery of that race, winning by 2.75 lengths, running with 10st on his back. Today, he goes up in class, but carries 9st 5, and is 7lbs heavier in the handicap. However, I think he could still be leniently treated off his revised mark of 76. He is a strong travelling type, so the drop to 7f should be an inconvenience to him, as he is a half-brother to some speedy types like Prince Of Lir, who won a Group 2 as a 2yo over 5f, and he is also a sibling to Nitro Boost, who was a Listed winner over 5f.
He is a hold up horse, so hopefully they'll go a good gallop so he can pick up the pieces late on. He's not guaranteed to like the ground if it goes on the slow side, but his pedigree suggests he should be fine, but until they prove that they handle it, it's still a concern.
Advised: Each Way
A bit of a gamble, but I do think there is more to come from QUICKTHORN, who has looked different class in the past two handicaps he's won. This is obviously a big step up in grade, but I think he could potentially take that in his stride, especially if the ground gets testing.
My initial thoughts of this race was that Hukum just goes and wins, and he still might do that, but I'm not quite convinced he'll stay the 14f on soft ground, as I do think the ground will get that way, with the forecast rain. His sectionals at Ascot signaled he wasn't staying on strongly in a race which wasn't ran at a great pace, so there is a doubt in my mind that the 14f is going to be advantageous for him. However, Quickthorn was staying on strongly on heavy ground at Ascot, and ran the final furlong quicker than Hukum, on worse ground, and from a stronger pace, so it appears that he was potentially a Group horse in a handicap at Ascot, and at the prices I'm willing to take a chance on him today.
Jason Watson takes the ride, and he gave one of my selections a bit of a stinker yesterday at Ascot, so hopefully he rides this one a bit better.
Advised: Each Way