A Lightning Collaboration – York & Ascot

I have provided a look at the seven races on Day Three of the July Festival at Newmarket. Click here.

There is plenty of top racing taking place today and it’s a shame it’s all forced into one afternoon rather than spread out for it to be enjoyed. However here are a few picks from the cards at York and Ascot.

14:10 Ascot

A five furlong sprint isn’t usually a race where I go for the favourite but Discussiontofollow is a type that I’m always keen on. He won this race last year and has been sent on a similar path to his campaign last season. Last time out he was second at the Curragh, but that race was more about being drawn high as the first three home were drawn in the highest stalls. In this race he is drawn on the other side than he was last year but always leaves his running on the track. There are claims off an 8lb higher mark.

Discussiontofollow in the Goodwood parade ring. Image from Mike Murphy Racing.

Discussiontofollow in the Goodwood parade ring. Image from Mike Murphy Racing.

One at a bigger price is Desert Law, who followed Discussiontofollow home at the Curragh. He previously won the Epsom Dash and Paul Midgley’s sprinters are going really well, so at around 16/1 he would be well worth an each-way play. Gamesome has the first time blinkers on and would be interesting after running well over six furlongs, so should be respected dropping to five furlongs. Meadway is only 4lb higher for finishing second in the Scottish Sprint Cup Consolation Race where he kept on strongly and was only beaten by a head; he is one that has to come into the equation here.

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Advice: Discussiontofollow (15/2 each-way)

            Desert Law (16/1 each-way)


14:40 York

A staying handicap over 1m6f and each-way backers should be looking in the direction of Urban Castle. Over the winter he won over this distance at Wolverhampton and followed that up with a third over two miles. Since returning to turf he has shown improvement. He won at Newmarket only for the placings to be reverse with Excellent Puck. Then again he has ran twice at Newmarket finishing third on both occasions. The cheekpieces seemed to work on his return to turf and he is definitely a player in a wide-open race of this nature. Off his mark of 90 there could be more to come from him.

Astronereus has a bit to prove at this trip but he had some of these behind him at Royal Ascot when he finished third of 17. He has to be respected but the trip is a question mark. Famous Kid won over this distance in Meydan in February but since returning to the UK hasn’t shown that. He was disappointing when finishing 14 of 17 in the Chester Cup then he was sixth of 17 at Royal Ascot in the Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes meaning he has to reverse the form with Astronereus. At a bigger price Lycidas is one that is dropping back in trip. He has won over further and is a galloping type. Despite being six-years-old he is still lightly raced and could prove overpriced.

Advice: Urban Castle (12/1 each-way)

14:45 Ascot

This Summer Mile is a Group 2 race and so far I’ve been impressed by Lightning Spear. Unbeaten in five starts for Olly Stevens but he could have taken another route today but sticks at the mile trip. He won cosily at Salisbury and despite being hampered at the start he was strong at the finish. He is unexposed and stepping into Group company for the first time and I think he’s the one to side with. He will need to improve further as the raw form may not be the best but to the eye he is very stylish.

Lightning Spear - unbeaten so far. Image from Robins Farm Racing.

Lightning Spear – unbeaten so far. Image from Robins Farm Racing.

Arod was third in the Lockinge and followed that up by winning a weak renewal of the Diomed Stakes at Epsom where he got the run of the race from the front. Andrea Atzeni judged that ride well and he could do the same here but Bow Creek is another pace angle and those two could go off too quickly at the front and set it up for a closer in behind, which would suit Lightning Spear. Cable Bay has good form but needs to show some more than he has to suggest he’ll win this race. He’s still only had two starts over this distance but is yet to get involved in the finish. Charlie Hills has in the past suggested that he may require some cut in the ground, which he is unlikely to get here.

Advice: Lightning Spear (7/2 win)


14:55 York

The City Walls Stakes is another five furlong sprint and there are a couple towards the head of the market that I like. Red Baron is a progressive type and has won four of his last six starts. The two defeats have been when finishing second over course and distance behind horses that re-oppose him here. He won the Scottish Sprint Cup at Musselburgh when making all. Again he’ll try to make a bold bid from the front but he is likely to be challenged for the lead, especially with Take Cover in the field.

Red Baron winning the Scottish Sprint Cup. Image from the Scotsman.

Red Baron winning the Scottish Sprint Cup. Image from the Scotsman.

Out Do is another that I like but am siding with the bigger price here. He won over course and distance when carrying top weight in a 15-runner handicap back in May; that came after winning on his seasonal reappearance at Pontefract. In smaller size fields on his last two runs he has finished second and fourth respectively, so he may be one best suited to big field handicaps like this. Paul Midgley has two runners with Line Of Reason and Monsieur Joe in this race and it wouldn’t be surprising if one of them won this. Line Of Reason was a good third at the Curragh in a Listed race over six furlongs behind Gordon Lord Byron and his run before that saw him win at Cork; he runs here just 2lb higher for both of those efforts. Monsieur Joe was behind Red Baron twice in May, once here and once at Thirsk. He finished second behind stablemate Desert Law in the Epsom Dash and then was fourth behind Line Of Reason at Cork. From nine runs at the track he has won three times and placed twice. Overall, both Midgley runners could be overpriced and both worth some each-way money.

Advice: Red Baron (8/1 each-way)

15:25 York

With there being a few storms around the Yorkshire area over the last week the ground is described as good, which brings the progressive Collaboration into the equation. Andrew Balding’s runner won on his first three starts of the season including at Epsom and Chester. At Royal Ascot he was behind a few of these on quick ground, which wasn’t to his liking and with the bit of give in it you can’t rule him out too easily.

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Arab Dawn carries a 5lb penalty after winning the Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes at Royal Ascot and Ajman Bridge was in second. That form could be something good after Watersmeet, who finished fifth, went on to finish second in the Old Newton Cup on his next start. Both have chances but a concern is Ajman Bridge seems to find one too good. Master Carpenter has done well on his last two starts on quick ground in Handicaps over a mile. He steps up in trip here but one thing I know is that connections have been hoping to find a race with some cut in the ground. At his price his is one that shouldn’t be easily discounted and does have place claims.

The Mark Johnston duo of Sennockian Star and Fire Fighting were second and third respectively to Mahsoob in the Wolferton Handicap at Royal Ascot. Sennockian Star was prominent throughout and was just headed late on while Fire Fighting stayed on strongly inside the final furlong. Again you know you’ll get a good run for your money if you backed either one of them but if I were to chose, which one then Fire Fighting would get the vote as the Royal Ascot run backed up his good second at Epsom behind Elbereth. Educate is a frustrating type but he’s been supported this morning. He drops from Listed company into this and comes back to a track he has a good record at.

Advice: Collaboration (20/1 each-way)


Good Luck!


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