The Weekend Wager: Tips from York, Sandown and Newton Abbot this Saturday
Having landed a double in last week's column (Aratus & Sacred), this week's Weekend Wager will pick selections from three courses, with our tipster Steve Chambers picking out his best bets from York, Sandown Park and Newton Abbot on Saturday...
13:00 Sandown - Play 4 To Score At Betway Handicap
Jedd O'Keeffe's DEVIL'S ANGEL was part of the Weekend Wager last week at Newmarket, but having shaped like he could land a significant blow heading into the final furlong he was swamped by a number of rivals including the in-form Mitrosonfire. Well, the five-year-old makes a swift reappearance to the track and he is of significant interest once again in the opening race at Sandown Park at 13:00.
Running off the same mark of 77, it's the drop in trip that makes him a notable contender for the handicap contest, as having nearly hit the lead after five furlongs last week, it was the final furlong of the six at Newmarket that saw him just falter, Last seen over five furlongs at Redcar in September 2020, he ran a fine race to finish third, so a drop back to the minimum trip should see him at his best.
There's an eye-catching jockey booking in the shape of Oisin Murphy, who is absolutely flying at the top of the jockeys' standings, and if he can get some cover for Devil's Angel during the early part of the race then the Dark Angel gelding can storm to the front in the closing stages to claim glory.
13:50 York - Sky Bet And Symphony Group Strensall Stakes
Saeed bin Suroor's REAL WORLD has been hugely progressive this season and the Godolphin raider is seeking a hat-trick of wins when he lines up in the Strensall Stakes at York at 13:50 on Saturday. The opening contest on the final day of the Ebor Festival could prove to be a one-sided affair and Real World could well be the best bet of the day, and he's entitled to be a warm order for the Group 3 event.
He catapulted into the limelight when bounding over four lengths clear in the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot, and he ventured out of the handicap sphere with aplomb, as he was last seen landing Listed glory at Newbury in the Steventon Stakes. The four-year-old son of Dark Angel is very likely to stay on a steep curve for the rest of the season, and it could be that he is a future Group 1 horse at the end of this, or start of next season.
My Oberon and Lord Glitters will provide some sort of opposition to the market leader, but the manner in which Real World is thriving at the moment then he can make it a hat-trick of wins on Saturday on the Knavesmire, and duly book his place in a Group 1 contest next time out.
14:40 Sandown Park - Betway Atalanta Stakes
One of two Group races at Sandown Park on Saturday, the Group 3 Atalanta Stakes has attracted a competitive field and it's the John & Thady Gosden-trained Indigo Girl that heads the betting, at the time of writing. A fine runner-up in the Fillies' Mile last season, Indigo Girl could only finish fourth on her comeback run this season, as she failed to land the prize for favourite backers in a Listed event at Ascot. But, she is sure to improve for that outing and has to be a leading contender, if recapturing her juvenile form.
Another that has shown glimpses of being very smart is the Jane Chapple-Hyam-trained SAFFRON BEACH, who produced a fine display in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket at the start of the season, as she finished a magnificent runner-up to Mother Earth in the Classic event, and a repeat of that would surely be good enough to land this prize.
You can ignore he run in the Oaks at Epsom, where she finished eighth, as the 1m 4f trip was too far, but the worry would be her sub-standard performance in the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket last month. Eleventh of 13 that day in the Group 1 contest, Saffron Beach made no mark whatsoever on the race, but a significant drop back in grade should see her in a much better light, and she is worth taking a chance on at the prices. Available around the 13/2 mark, the classy daughter of New Bay will have her first run at Sandown Park, but if she can bring her A game then she could prove to be too good for her rivals.
15:30 Newton Abbot - Tzora Treble Up Handicap Hurdle
We head over the sticks for the final selection and head to Newton Abbot's 15:30 contest, where a former winner of the Tzora Treble Up Handicap Hurdle can recapture the crown and claim a second win in the race. The horse that can accomplish that feat is the Harry Fry-trained LITTERALE CI, who was a winner of this event a couple of years ago off a mark of 132, and it's that figure he lines up again off on Saturday.
Not only is the eight-year-old eye-catchingly handicapped he will come into the race in fine form, as he was last seen finishing third in an ultra-competitive handicap hurdle at the Galway Festival, and if he can replicate that display then he will be very tough to beat. He featured twice at Galway, with his first outing seeing him finish third in a Flat event, but it was his run over timber a few days later that showed that he can still sparkle over obstacles, and he looks a tough one to beat on Saturday.
It's likely that he is the market leader for the 2m 5f 122y event, but that is well deserved, and while I'm So Busy and Celestial Force could put up a challenge to Fry's raider, the JP McManus-owned runner can outbattle them in the closing stages and get his head in front where it matters.