A quiet weekend with only two races where we are playing, but our selections are decent value, and hopefully we can get two winners to set us up for the what is going to be a busy Ebor meeting at York next week...
Betfred TV Geoffrey Freer Stakes (Group 3), 2.40 Newbury
Aiken is the likely favourite here and looked very good winning six on the trot before moving up in class and is consistent. His stable is on fire, but the fact he has not been seen since October puts me off him and he looks too short. He can certainly go close here but there is better value to be had amongst the rest of the field.
Lost in the Moment does well in small fields and has won at Listed level but this looks tougher. I am not sure if Royal Empire is here to give Lost in the Moment a decent pace, but if he is here for his own chance he looks unlikely to stay on breeding. Lost in the Moment seems to me to be a bit one paced which results in him being placed more than winning, and the same is more than likely to happen again here.
Red Cadeaux drops dramatically in class whilst going up in distance, which is always a favourite trend of mine. Running over too short a distance will have sharpened him up for this and as a Group One winner he can dominate this field. He may well be seven years old, but earlier this year he was second in the Dubai World Cup and last year he was only beaten in the Melbourne Cup by a nose… I am confident he can come off the pace with a late run to win this at very generous odds.
William Hill Great St Wilfrid Stakes (Handicap) (CLASS 2), 3.30 Ripon
This is always a difficult handicap to crack, and hopefully the ground will stay good or better with only light showers forecast as historically this significantly favours the high drawn horses, which makes my job much easier!
Hoof It didn’t show enough in the Stewards Cup to be able to put any faith in him again and it looks like the injury he suffered has cost him some of his outright speed, in which case he needs to drop a lot in the weights to get back to a winning mark.
Captain Ramius has been talked up this week but his draw is difficult and at the age of seven he may have stopped improving. However Kevin Ryan’s team are in reasonable form and he may run into a place. Secret Witness does not win often enough for me to back him here, although he showed a bit of decent form last time out. He is held by several of these on the Sky Bet Dash at York, where he finished well down the field behind Tropics.
Prodigality was under consideration here having finished a close up fourth in the Sky Bet Dash but he then finished down the field at Goodwood and may need a bit of a break. The capable Oisin Murphy taking 7 pounds off is a big help, but he probably lacks the outright speed to win here.
Summerinthecity is bang in in form having finished second in the Dash, and Dandy Nicholls targets this race and usually goes close (two winners in the last 8 years). Adrian Nicholls being booked is also a strong positive, and I think he will steer Summerinthecity home here.
El Viento is a sprinter I like and he loves Ripon which is a big plus, He has a big pull at the weights with Prodigality, and what should be a good draw alongside Summerinthecity. Hopefully the two of them can push each other all the way to the finish.