Our Man picks out his best bets for the weekend
With the grass gallops in town riding on the fast side, the Al Bahathri has been the place to catch a glimpse of Sir Michael Stoute putting the finishing touches to his Saturday runners. Arab Spring (3.05 Ascot) was mixing it up with recent Royal Ascot winner Cannock Chase over 7f and he looked amazing. A winner of his last three starts and, although he is top weight in this competitive handicap, he is definitely still progressing so he could be a good thing off 104. After his gallop I caught up with one of the shrewdies from the stable and he really thinks he is a Group 2 horse.
Sticking with Stoute and another Freemason Lodge inmate who has been burning up the gallops is Telescope. He will be more at home on this quicker surface especially over this preferred trip. In an open renewal he looks sure to be in the shake-up.
Charlie Appleby loves to introduce his two-year olds on the July Course and he runs Digital Rebellion in the 2.15 at Newmarket. This expensive son of Dubawi has been the talk of the town in recent weeks and even though he takes on horses with experience, he has been schooled well at home and a big run is expected.
James Tate saddles Sbraase tonight in the 8.20 at Haydock. He stayed on strongly to finish an eye-catching 3rd at Yarmouth last time out behind two nice types. I saw him breezing up the Rubbing House gallop on racecourse side earlier this week and he really stood out. After that piece of work I spoke to one of the main men from the yard and the cheekpieces have been applied just to help him travel better early on in the race, which is essential at that track. He looks to have a strong each-way chance.
Ed Dunlop’s string usually do their galloping on Tuesdays and Fridays so I was on hand at the Al Bahathri to see him breeze a few the other day. The one which really took the eye was Taqneen who runs in the 8.50 Haydock. This late maturing son of Cape Cross has progressed well since just getting beat at Yarmouth last time and his trainer looks to have found a good opportunity to go one better.
Looking ahead to Sunday, Roger Varian could hold the key to the 4.40 at Pontefract where he saddles Thurayaat. She had to dig deep last time but showed great attitude to battle back and get her head in front again where it mattered. Since then she has galloped up the Limekilns and is in rude health, she will also relish the stiff track and if the whispers coming out of the yard are anything to go by then she will take all the beating.