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A busy days racing for Friday, and I've got selections from Newmarket, Ascot and York, where can hopefully have some winners.
Not something I do too often, but I'm finding it difficult to split the two, so I'm going to be backing both, DUBAIR HONOUR and KING FRANKEL.
Dubai Honour steps up in trip from 8f, which isn't sure to suit based on his pedigree (he's out of an unraced Mare, and is by Pride Of Dubai who won over 6f – 7f). However, his performance at Royal Ascot suggested that the extra 2f could suit. His sectional times in that race back up the fact that he could be better over a slightly further trip. He clocked the fastest sectionals for 3f-2f and 1f-finish, and was only 0.01s slower than the fastest 2f-1f, which shows that he did his best work at the end of the race. Also, you can probably upgrade his run, as he was arguably on the wrong side of the track, with horses who finished 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th being on the other side.
The form of the Royal Ascot race has started to work out well, with 3 wins from 5 runs from horses next time out, and the wins came from horses who finished 17th, 20th and 24th.
As for King Frankel, Mark Johnston has a cracking record in this race, winning it 7x since 2007, with 6 of those 7 wins coming in the last 8 years.
So far this season, I've felt that King Frankel has been unlucky and he would land a big pot at some point during the season, so it's not a surprise to see him rock up in this race, with the record Mark Johnston has.
There is a few mm of rain expected to arrive before the start of racing, so hopefully the ground won't get any slower than ‘good'. Though he seems to handle any ground, I do think the is best on a faster surface, like his full-brother Eminent.
He needs a good gallop, as he takes a while to get into top gear. There seems to be a lot of pace in this race, which should suit. It wouldn't surprise me to see him trade a high price in running, as he will probably be one of the first off the bridle, but that shouldn't be a concern as he stays this trip extremely well.
Advised: Each Way (both)
Carrying top weight against the 3yo's isn't ideal for GARDEN PARADISE, but she has plenty of heart, and she could break the hearts of the younger horses who attempt to go past her.
Last time out she was off the bridle and pushed along, but she put her head down and kept galloping to the line, where she won by a neck, beating the well travelling Duke Of Condicote. The fact she is a battler is a wonderful trait to have in a horse, as you know for a fact that she'll try her hardest every race, as she loves to race. She'll handle the ground, which is currently soft on the round course and Good To Soft on the straight, which will probably dry up a little before racing starts, but ideally I'd want the ground to remain as slow as possible for this horse.
She stays this trip extremely well, whereas, there are question marks about the other horses in the field who aren't guaranteed to stay the trip. Giving the likes of Gwenhwyvar 18lbs won't be an easy task, but I was seriously impressed the way Garden Paradise ran lto, and she could be well treated off a mark of 80.
A mark of 87 could be extremely lenient for DARK SHIFT, who could definitely be a high 90s horse in no time, in my opinion.
You'd have to look past his most recent run, where he was sent off 9/2F, as things clearly weren't right. Prior to that, he had been impressive in every run, even the run where he won at odds of 4/7F, as the form of that race has been franked by the runner-up. Aaday To Remember has since won a novice by 4.75 lengths and ran with great promise, behind an odds-on shot, yesterday, finishing runner-up.
I think a return to a slower surface will help him return to form, as he might've found the ground too lively at York. The ground will be on the slow side of good before the off, and that shouldn't pose any issues, as he's on good, and he's won on soft, as well as a cracking 2nd in a Class 2 at Salisbury on soft, behind Apollo One. Though that was only a four runner race, it has worked out quite well. Apollo One has since won a Class 1 Listed race, and has ran well in defeat in some good races, including yesterday where he was beaten by a neck at Newmarket.
This race is full of horses who are dropping in the handicap, and are starting to look well handicapped, but I'm hoping we see the good side of Dark Shift, who is definitely better than a mark of 87. As long as he gets a clear run, he should be going close.
BOND POWER looks to have a nice chance based on the form of the York race which he contested in the middle of June.
The form of that race has worked out well, with the 1st, 2nd and 4th subsequently winning next time out. Gis A Sub, who finished second won a Class 2 at Pontefract, and the form of that race looks strong, with the 3rd of that race finishing 3rd in the Group 2 at Newmarket yesterday (Project Dante tipped up race).
This trip is 0.5 furlongs shorter than last time, and that could be better suited as he was quite green in that race, but travelled powerfully throughout, before looking tired late on. Hopefully, he has matured from that race, and will settle better, as he does have the ability to win races.
DAPPER MAN is generally a horse who can go a while without winning, but when he eventually bounces back to form, he can go on quite a sequence of wins.
Roger Fell's 7yo gelding won at Haydock 8 days ago, but his rating hasn't been altered, and that is because the race he won was an apprentice race, which doesn't effect ratings if you win. It wasn't a big surprise to see him last time out, as the blinkers were on (they were previously left off for the 2 runs prior), and they are the key to this horse. Thankfully, Roger has decided to keep the blinkers on for this run, which gives me the impression they fancy their chances in this race. I feel like he takes them off when he fancies a poor run, where the handicapper will drop Dapper Man a few pounds.
A mark of 68 is quite high, considering his age, but he has won off marks in the 70s and even 80 in the past, and yes he won off 68 lto, but this looks tougher. Despite it looking tougher, he is clearly in good form and I think will run a big race.
Dapper Man is generally a horse who likes to be up with the pace, so hopefully he'll be able to make the most of stall 1.
Advised: Each Way