BILL ESDAILE PREVIEWS THE BEST OF THE WEEKEND’S RACING
IT IS a predictably quiet weekend seeing as we’re just four days away from Ascot. A winner is a winner, though, and there is some competitive action at York, Sandown and Musselburgh.
The highlight is the Charity Sprint at York (3.45pm) where northern trainers have won four of the last five renewals. Tim Easterby has landed the last two editions, but he doesn’t have a runner this time.
The betting market suggests that the prize will be heading back down the M1 this year and I think the bookies are right.
Henry Candy is an excellent trainer of sprinters with the likes of Limato and Music Master in his current strikeforce. He relies on Twilight Son here and this unbeaten half-brother to Music Master is greatly respected.
However, his handler said after his last win at Newmarket that the good-to-firm ground was as quick as he’d want it. He’s likely to face similar conditions on the Knavesmire and that’s enough to put a doubt in my mind.
A bigger question mark against Twilight Son is the fact that he has to face SCALZO. Trained by the impressive Martyn Meade, this son of Paco Boy has bolted up on his last two starts and has subsequently been bought by Sheikh Hamdan.
Paul Hanagan will take over in the saddle tomorrow afternoon and the progressive colt has all the hallmarks of a top class animal.
He has won on both good-to-firm and good-to-soft, so all conditions seem to come alike to him and he is worth supporting at 7/2 with Betway.
Charlie Hills has targeted Magical Memory, who finished third to Twilight Son two starts back, at this race all season so he’s another one for the shortlist, as is William Haggas’ Roossey who is making his seasonal reappearance.
The preceding race is the Listed Ganton Stakes (3.10pm) where I think James Fanshawe’s HORS DE COMBAT will prove hard to beat.
A return of just two wins from 10 starts is pretty poor, but he’s been consistent on the whole and was probably flying a little too high in the Lockinge last time.
This is much more his level and the fact he’s had two runs, plus his stable is in better form now, means he should be cherry-ripe for tomorrow’s contest.
Wannabe Yours beat my selection in a Group Three at Glorious Goodwood last summer, but this is his first start of the campaign for John Gosden, while Yuften has been a little disappointing.
The form figures of the rest of the field are pretty uninspiring and Hors De Combat rates a strong selection.
HORS DE COMBAT 3.10pm York (tomorrow)
SCALZO 3.45pm York (tomorrow)