I think it’s fair to say that we have two horses to really look forward to following the Newmarket July Festival.
With City Of Troy and Shaquille, Flat racing eagerly awaits both of their next moves because right now, there are two promising stars in two different divisions at two different ages. What a brilliant sight.
Therefore, to walk out of last week with this marks a good time for horse racing, irrespective of backing winners or losers.
Now, with that covered, the Irish Oaks takes centre stage this weekend from the Curragh, but away from there, it is two horses running in the UK that have grabbed my attention for this week’s ante-post analysis.
Return of Lanfranco
Frankie Dettori is set to leave the sidelines this weekend as horse racing’s most famous jockey is back in the saddle at Newbury Racecourse, and at 4/1 with William Hill, LEZOO is an interesting betting angle into the Group 3 Hackwood Stakes at 3:00.
Firstly, she is the second-highest rated horse in the race with just Garrus one pound ahead of her, however, she receives 11 pounds from Charlie Hills’ runner and Tiber Flow, eight pounds from Curragh winner Commanche Falls, and six pounds from fellow three-year-old Cold Case.
That puts her clear at the weights by a good margin, partly due to being a three-year-old filly as well as being without the hindrance of a penalty in the race, something that is different for Cold Case as he shoulders a three-pound penalty for winning a Group 3 in May.
Furthermore, a look back at her two-year-old form, specifically that Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes where she beat Mawj, Meditate, and Swingalong, reads extremely well in this Group 3 setting who are yet to break it onto the Group 1 stage.
Oh, my. That was superb! ⭐️
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) September 24, 2022
Hopefully, this Zoustar filly can give the returning Dettori a win this weekend in what is her easiest test of the last 12 months.
Long live summer jumping
This weekend marks one of the feature events of the summer jump racing calendar, Market Rasen’s Summer Plate Day.
Despite the competitiveness of the feature event, it is the race directly before that has piqued my interest, however, as LUTTRELL LAD at 16/1 with BetVictor is an interesting runner in the two-mile handicap hurdle.
Trained by Tom Lacey and ridden by stable jockey Stan Sheppard, the seven-year-old’s first run of this year occurred at Kelso in March before his defeat by only seven lengths in the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival off a mark of 133.
👏 Take a bow @bridgeandrews
She produces heroics aboard Faivoir to win the McCoy Contractors County Hurdle for the second time. A fourth win in the last eight runnings for @DSkeltonRacing too#CheltenhamFestival pic.twitter.com/zPMiWVA4aS
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) March 17, 2023
Fast-forward to this weekend and following three runs since jump racing’s Olympics, his rating is officially 123, a full 10 pounds below his mark in March.
That is a big swing in the weights for a horse who was finishing close to the likes of Pied Piper, Filey Bay, Sharjah, Ballyadam, and Highway One O Two.
Furthermore, this weekend’s conditions could suit him better than others in the field as the ground could be riding on the softer side of good, something he has previous form with.
At 16/1, I’d be willing to take a chance that he can still run to his County Hurdle ability off a very lenient mark.