BILL ESDAILE WITH ALL HIS BEST RACING BETS FOR THE WEEKEND AND PATRICK CALLAGHAN PREVIEWS THE LIONS MATCH
ALL EYES are firmly fixed on Ascot and the start of the prestigious five-day Royal Meeting that kicks off on Tuesday, so, much like last weekend, it’s a rather low-key couple of days of racing.
However, there is some decent fare up at York where a couple catch my eye in the McMillan Charity Sprint Trophy at 3.50pm. It’s a wide open race but Moviesta is the one the bookies have priced up as tentative favourite and, arriving at the Knavesmire looking for a hat-trick on the back of a course win, it’s not hard to see why.
Yet he’s now 10lb higher than that first win and he scrambled home by just a nose last time. He does look progressive but I’m happy enough to take him on with RIVELLINO. Trainer Elaine Burke, who sent out gallant Derby runner-up Libertarian earlier this month, has always rated this son of Invincible Spirit.
The colt was a massive eye-catcher on his seasonal return behind Moviesta here when Jim Crowley’s mount should have won were it not for being hampered. But he made amends at Kempton for which he got a 9lb rise in the weights and then got no run again in a messy contest at Newmarket last month.
He had no chance to prove whether he was up to a new mark of 91 and I don’t think that’s the limit of his ability. Given a bit of luck that every horse needs in a 20-runner sprint, Rivellino can go really well at around the 10/1 mark with Coral.
The other one I want on my side is HASOPOP who was triumphant in that Newmarket race when Rivellino was unlucky. Unlike that one, Hasopop got the perfect run down the rails to win smoothly.
Marco Botti’s charge is another progressive beast and I can forgive him his recent third at Epsom where the course and seven-furlong trip might not have played to his strengths. Back at six, the Haatef gelding is another with a leading chance. At 14/1 with Coral, he rates a good each-way wager.
In the Ganton Stakes (3.15pm), we have a lot of horses that don’t want to put their head in front. Stipulate appears tripless and Questioning runs solid races but finds winning very difficult.
QUICK WIT comes from a yard that is absolutely flying and I’m prepared to give him a chance. The Godolphin horse was more miss than hit last term but won well in Dubai on his last start and has a decent strike rate overall.
Finally, I’m not really one for having a bet in amateur races, but my old friend Nanton looks worth small support in the opener (2.05pm). The 11-year-old has been a grand servant to connections and, although the flame doesn’t burn so bright anymore, the grey showed there’s still a flicker last time at Musselburgh to suggest he can take a hand here.
I’ll be at Royal Ascot every day next week and you can catch all the news and all my tips in City A.M.
Nanton e/w 2.05 York (tomorrow)
Quick Wit 3.15pm York (tomorrow)
Rivellino e/w 3.50pm York (tomorrow)
Hasopop e/w 3.50pm York (tomorrow)