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Some good racing for Friday afternoon and evening. I've opted for two in the evenings cards, and one in the opener at Doncaster.
I did expect the 3yo's to dominate the market in this contest, but I didn't expect to see WILD HOPE at the price of 8/1. To my eyes, he rates a much better chance than a horse of those odds, and I think he is definitely worth a chance.
Off a mark of 76, I think he is starting to become dangerously well-handicapped, as he has previously won off 78 & 81, as well as 72, which means his current mark is lower if you take the apprentice's 7lb claim into consideration. He was dropped 2lbs for his most recent run at Leicester, where he ran over 7f. Though he has won over that distance before, I think he is best suited to a mile, and it did seem that he was running on in the final stages of that race. The winner was clearly on a good mark, as he won easily that day, and he has since followed that up with another win, and he is now 13lbs higher rated than when he beat Wild Hope. The 5th and 8th horses have also won, so the form lines of the Leicester race are working out.
Doncaster have watered their track, and they are expecting around 1mm before racing kicks off, so the ground should hopefully remain on the quick side of good, if the weather forecast is accurate. The faster the ground is, the better it will be for Wild Hope, as his best form has come on fast ground.
John Shinnick takes the ride and takes off a handy 7lbs, and I think using an apprentice is the correct call for this horse, as the 3yo's in this race will get the weight for age allowance, and they are definitely the main threats. William Buick's ride seems the one to beat, and I'm not saying Wild Hope will win this today, but I think he offers value at 8/1 against the younger horses, and should run a big race.
Advised: Each Way
The reason for the selection in this race isn't just because Jim Bolger is having a cracking season, but also the fact he seems to target this race, as shown when winning it twice, and also having a runner-up. This is why I believe that BEYOND HAPPY has been plotted for the apprentice Derby.
It looks like Sea Ducor is a bit of a plot job, and a lot of punters will be taking a liking to him due to his good season over hurdles, and could be on a lenient mark, as well as Joey Sherridan taking the ride, but I'm willing to dodge him as his odds are far too slim for my liking. Beyond Happy ran well last time out at Leopardstown, and I think that was a nice pipe opener for this race, and it was encouraging that he will appreciate the step up in trip, as he was staying on well in the dying stages of that race. It was nice to see that the runner-up and fourth horse have recently come out and won, which gives me a lot of encouragement that this form is rock solid. It's hard to say whether he should be staying this trip based on his pedigree, but I wouldn't be one to doubt Jim Bolger, especially the form he's been in this season.
Luke McAteer takes the ride, and that is a good jockey booking for this apprentice Derby, as he is one of the best in Ireland. He operates at a 10% SR from 472 rides, which is a good stat.
You can get five places with a couple of bookmakers, which is fantastic, and you should be taking advantage of that.
This is a competitive sprint race, but it's a cracking race for Friday evening, and I'm hoping David Allan has picked the correct one in COUNT D'ORSAY.
Tim Easterby has targeted Copper Knight at this race for the last three years, and he did manage to win it back in 2018, which is why I think he has a good chance in this today. However, I think it's quite telling that David Allan decides not to ride Copper Knight, but decides to ride Count D'Orsay instead, as he would've had the choice between the two. David rode Copper Knight to a win in this race in 2017, so he knows that horse enjoys this track. Count D'orsay, seems a sprinter on the up, if you can forigve his run at York, where he finished down the field behind… Copper Knight. However, his most recent run was a good run, and I think the form of that race will eventually work out to be strong form. It was won by King's Lynn, who I tipped up at Royal Ascot, and was an unlucky horse who would've gone close in the King's Stand, if it wasn't for a troubled passage. That day at Haydock, Count D'orsay struggled to get the room, and by the time he got out, the race was already over, so the fact he finished as close as he did in third, was a massive run.
I think this race could be set up perfectly for this horse as he likes to held up, and with a lot of expected pace from many noticeable front runners like Ornate, Caspian Prince, Sunday Sovereign, it should set it up for a closer, which should hopefully be Count D'orsay. Obviously, with hold up horses come risks, and I am prepared to take the risk that he will get the openings he'll need, and David Allan will be able to weave the passage through the field. Thankfully, William Hill are offering 5 places in this race, so if things don't go to plan, then the extra places could be beneficial.
Advised: Each Way (5 places William Hill)