Welcome back to Betting.co.uk racing fans and I hope you’ve all enjoyed this week's racing. It's been great to see some jumps action once again and it has been really good week at Galway. I’ve talked about the Hurdles debut of Mystical Power already, but Willie has had another impressive winner with Zarak The Brave, who took the Grade 3 Hurdle on Thursday, not the easiest feat for a four-year-old.
He did it in great style too, taking on the older horses as he cruised through the race and was really gutsy to fend off a late challenge from Jesse Evans. Winning like he did at such a young age I think that performance needs to be marked up and I mentioned he would need to be up to Grade 1 company to get the win and he went out an did it. That leaves him with plenty of options going forward and it will be interesting to see what path Willie decides to take with him.
For Saturday’s action I have three bets for you to take a look at, two from Goodwood and also one from Galway, with two of these at very nice prices. Hopefully we can have a really good day and take some money from the bookies.
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At the time of writing, my selection here is first reserve, so to get a run we will need one to pull out, but on this soft ground, with 20 runners declared, that looks to be a strong possibility. Willie Mullins has a seven strong team for this race and it’s likely that at least one of those will be in the mix at the end of the race, but I think it could be worth taking a look at Bugs Moran who is running for the Noel Meade team and carrying a big price tag.
Noel has had a good week at Galway and had Jesse Evans finish second to Zarak The Brave in the Grade 3 hurdle on Thursday. He stated publicly that he considers Bugs Moran to be their best chance of the week, so hearing that gives me even more confidence in my selection. Now, we haven’t seen this gelding since he was a four-year-old but he showed plenty of ability in some big Handicaps at Fairyhouse and Punchestown and some of the runners in those two fields have gone on to be pretty nice horses.
Fitness is something we are slightly taking a chance on, but connections sound like they’ve left no stone unturned so there’s no reason Bugs Moran shouldn’t be fit and ready. Now he is six, he will be bigger and stronger and is likely to be very well Handicapped off bottom weight. This one may very well be going under the radar, so keep your eyes open for him, if he gets in, he’s likely to run a big race.
The Golden Mile is a deeply competitive race with 28 runners in the field. Orazio is the only one with a single figure price at the moment and has some strong credentials to justify it. He is a smart colt, who has form on a soft surface with back-to-back wins at Ascot and Newmarket to his credit. However, things did not go smoothly for him in the Wokingham, where he went off favourite on firm ground which was evidently not to his liking. He has obvious claims here and there’s plenty going for him, but his price is too short in a field like this.
Bielsa always catches my eye in these big field Handicaps. He seems in good form this year and runs off a winnable mark here, so he poses a big danger with Ryan Moore on board. However, I rather like the look of Sterling Knight, who seems very overpriced to me and I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see him shorten up significantly between now and race time. I know he has a little bit to find with Tanmawwy and the favourite Orazio, but on this really soft surface, he can be seen in much better light.
He won at Haydock in November on heavy ground and galloped all over that surface. He also comes into this race having won at Windsor, then going on to finish just a length behind Tanmawwy next time out, so he is in great form. Also, the latter race was run on firm ground, so there could well be a reversal of form on the softer ground this time around. I think he will handle conditions well and with plenty of places available, I’ll take my chance on him at 25/1.
Next, we move on to a smaller Handicap, but a very competitive one nonetheless. With the conditions likely to be heavy, I think it makes this race slightly easier to read, in the sense that there are a few in here that have significant ground concerns.
Thunderball was withdrawn earlier on in the week, New Business is unraced on a soft surface and Chartwell House has performed poorly on a soft surface in the past, so those three alone are hard to back. Sophia’s Starlight should be seen to better effect than the three just mentioned. She’s a nice filly, who ran well on her latest start on good to soft, so she is a possible candidate her.
However, I feel this is a really good opportunity for Urban Sprawl to get back into the winner’s enclosure here, off top weight. He won over course and distance in May and did it very well indeed, running from the front. I’d imagine those tactics will remain the same for his run on Saturday and if he turns up in form, which I fully expect him to, then he has really strong claims here. He certainly has a lot more in his favour than most, and a return to Goodwood can see him at his best once again.
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