Hannon’s Maureen to bounce back from unlucky Newmarket run

IT’S a relatively quiet weekend on the racing front as everyone eagerly awaits Frankel’s next start in Wednesday’s QIPCO Sussex Stakes. However, there is still some decent action and the main tip is Richard Hannon’s MAUREEN in tomorrow’s Princess Margaret Stakes at Ascot (3.25pm).

The daughter of Holy Roman Emperor was an unlucky loser in the Cherry Hinton at Newmarket when the gaps just didn’t come for Jimmy Fortune at the right time. Richard Hughes is back in the saddle tomorrow and she is expected to see off Michael Bell’s Hoyam.

Sprint handicaps at Ascot are a minefield for punters but I do like the look of DESERT LAW in the five furlong sprint at 2.55pm. Andrew Balding’s four-year-old perhaps should have won the Investec Dash on Derby day and he is certainly unexposed at this minimum distance. Hughes has been booked by Balding and with him riding out of his skin at the moment, let’s hope this is the first leg of a quick double for the Irishman.

The big race at York is the Group Two Skybet York Stakes (3.10pm) and AFSARE is fancied to land the prize for Luca Cumani and Kieren Fallon. The combination won this race two years ago with Summit Surge and I was impressed with Afsare’s display at Sandown last time. He certainly seems to have improved this season and the quicker ground holds no fears for him.

For those of you looking for a bet today, don’t miss Hannon’s FLEETING SMILE in the opener at Ascot (2.10pm). She was second to next year’s 1,000 Guineas favourite, Newfangled, on her debut at Newmarket when a well backed even money favourite. She didn’t enjoy the soft ground that day and will be far better suited by this afternoon’s conditions.

Finally, Sir Henry Cecil’s DR YES can break his maiden tag in the 7.40pm at Newmarket this evening. He was badly hampered over course and distance last time and would have gone very close had he not met that interference.

You can follow me on Twitter @BillEsdaile for all my views.