Welcome to a new weekly column of mine where I talk about my three best bets for the weekend’s action.
Alongside my ante-post analysis piece that is released on Wednesdays looking at any potential early angles into marquee races, this regular content will be released on Fridays with all the confirmed weather and declarations information available to me to make my final judgments.
I’ve given myself a ‘points’ staking plan to keep track of how I have done and how confident each play will be, all of which will be recorded and put at the bottom of every article. No pressure then!
So with the admin out of the way, let’s get into the action.
ONEMOREFORTHEROAD 12/1 – 3:15 Haydock – 0.5pt EW
It may be the Flat season right now, but the Swinton Handicap Hurdle at Haydock has taken a small amount of my interest as I will be having a 0.5pt EW play on ONEMOREFORTHEROAD for Neil King and Jack Quinlan.
Although his last win came in December 2021 in the Intermediate Hurdle, the eight-year-old has only raced seven times since and his third to Anna Bunina in the 2022 Scottish Champion Hurdle reads well considering John McConnell’s mare has improved 16lbs since.
'An absolute thriller!' ????
— ITV Racing (@itvracing) April 2, 2022
Although his last two efforts on Good ground have been poor, he has been dropped six pounds for them and he did most of his winning on Good ground in the early parts of his career.
With a rating of 127, which is nine pounds below that third at Ayr in 2022 and his last winning mark, King’s charge in the highlight handicap hurdle is my main fancy in the contest.
TOIMY SON 33/1 – 2:40 Ascot – 1pt EW
My second biggest play of the weekend comes in the ever-tricky Victoria Cup and I’m giving the rank-outsider of the field, TOIMY SON, a chance at 33/1 with William Hill.
I backed this four-year-old Twilight Son colt last time out in the Spring Cup at Newbury over a mile and he looked to be too keen which ultimately downplayed his chances of winning the race.
I was quite confident of a big run last month, unfortunately, the market was not in agreement with me as he drifted out on the exchanges and was sent off at an SP of 40/1.
So, why am I giving him a chance this week in the Victoria Cup?
Firstly, there is only a small window of opportunity to run this horse as he needs soft ground, something he will get at Ascot this week, but as the summer rolls into full view, that chance of rain and slower conditions will diminish.
Secondly, he is back down in trip to seven furlongs, the distance he was last seen winning at in Longchamp last May and hopefully, he won’t be so keen over a shorter trip.
— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) May 1, 2022
And finally, French jockey Cristian Demuro is jocked up on the bay for his only ride of the day which is a big jockey booking from David Menusier as he was the pilot that guided Toimy Son to success in that Longchamp race last year, a race where he beat Txope who went on to win the German 1000 Guineas on her next start.
Taking this all in and harking back to his runners-up effort behind Mangoustine, a future French 1000 Guineas winner, as a two-year-old, I think he can run a big race off a workable mark of 102 in the Victoria Cup.
ANGEL BLEU 15/8 – 3:50 Haydock – 3pt Win
This position was taken by Sea Of Roses for the Lingfield Oaks Trial but the switch to all-weather has meant she was not declared, however, ANGEL BLEU is a more than worthy substitute.
If you can ignore his last run in France, I think he should be odds-on and not just a shade below 2/1.
Firstly, the ground at Haydock is set to be the best in the country as the official going description is Good to Soft with no rain in sight.
Despite his win at Saint-Cloud in October 2021 on Very Soft ground, I think his best form comes on better surfaces as his four-length fifth to Baaeed in last year’s Sussex Stakes and third to Perfect Power in last year’s Greenham Stakes would suggest.
????⚪️ Baaeed – a perfect 10/10
???? G1 @JuddmonteFarms International
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✅ 10 furlongs – no problem@JimCrowley1978 | @ShadwellStud | @hissa_hamdan | @yorkracecourse pic.twitter.com/STZFWxSJzS
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) August 17, 2022
His pedigree would back this statement up being by Dark Angel (the 2007 Middle Park winner on Good ground) out of a Galileo mare.
Now a four-year-old and still at somewhere near his best as shown by his unlucky runners-up effort to Berkshire Shadow at Wolverhampton two starts ago, Ralph Beckett’s contender is best at the weight by six pounds to his nearest market rival, Al Mubhir, and with a sounder surface under his feet than his run last time out, I think he will be tough to beat at 15/8.