STYLEHUNTER looks good in the Dubai Duty Free Handicap (1.45) at Newbury.
He has been brought along steadily by soon-to-be-champion trainer John Gosden and was given a two-month break after a fair sixth in the Britannia Handicap at Royal Ascot.
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He appreciated that and looked a different animal when running away with a decent Goodwood handicap last time, hinting that there was much more to come.
The handicapper put him up 8lb but he gets in here with just a 5lb penalty so he clearly should be a major player with Frankie doing the steering.
Gosden has an excellent record in the Cambridgeshire and this race is often an excellent trial for the Newmarket cavalry charge.
That looks to be the plan. Adamant, My Lord And Master and Mountain Angel all have solid claims without having the star potential of Stylehunter.
Derby disappointment Young Rascal can bounce backPA:Press Association
Mirage Dancer looks set to go off favourite for the 2.20.
He was quite impressive when winning a Group 3 event at Glorious Goodwood last time and has the typical progressive profile of a Sir Michael Stoute-trained middle-distance four-year-old.
He could well be too good for last year’s winner Desert Encounter and the other older horses but the unexposed three-year-old YOUNG RASCAL might be a different kettle of fish!
He has not been sighted since the Derby where he was a disappointing seventh after failing to handle the track.
GOLD CUP FEVER Latest odds, tips and TV schedule for the Ayr Gold Cup
But he was sent off 17-2 third favourite that day after impressive wins in the Chester Vase and over today’s course and distance, giving every indication he was potentially a Group 1 performer.
He may have to wait until next season to scale those heights but he can take another step up the ladder by landing this Group 3.
Karl Burke is having another fantastic season, picking up two Group 1s in Ireland last weekend, and he can add to his big-race haul by taking the Mill Reef Stakes with TRUE MASON (2.55).
He was an excellent third (with Marie’s Diamond well behind in seventh) in a Group 1 at Deauville last time, a race won by the top two-year-old filly of the season so far, Pretty Pollyanna.
Betting Spy's top tips for Saturday
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1.45 Newbury – Stylehunter
2.15 Chelmsford – Mawaard
2.20 Newbury – Young Rascal
2.55 Newbury – True Mason
3.20 Ayr – Amandine
3.50 Ayr – Terentum Star
There does not look to be anything of similar quality in this line-up.
Shine So Bright was third in the Gimcrack at York last time and sets a solid standard but Burke will have a pretty good idea where True Mason stands with that one as Shine So Bright was with Burke until being sold to King Power Racing and sent to Andrew Balding on the eve of Royal Ascot.
The Irish Rover was only fourth in the Gimcrack and has since been beaten in Doncaster’s big sales race so Kessaar, who ran away with a decent event on Kempton’s Polytrack last time, could be a bigger threat.
The Ayr Gold Cup is the highlight of the Flat racing year in Scotland – and probably in the head offices of the major bookmakers!
I spy an eyecatcher…
SURREY THUNDER made a storming debut in the 1m novice event at Sandown on Wednesday.
He was very green in the parade ring and, as odds of 33-1 indicate, little was expected of Joe Tuite’s juvenile in what looked like a warm race.
But he ran a cracker, staying on to be third despite not getting the best of runs after being trapped against the rail.
As the first two home, trained by Messrs Hannon and Gosden, had already shown a fair level of ability the form is almost certainly solid. And, with improvement virtually assured, Surrey Thunder is a name to note.
As ever it looks near-impossible, but when did that stop us having a crack? TERENTUM STAR (3.50) will carry a little of my each-way cash.
He is best on soft ground and won a very good race at York last autumn off just 1lb less than the mark he runs off here.
He was fancied for the Great St Wilfrid at Ripon last time but lost all chance when stumbling out of the stalls.
Given a level break he should go well and trainer Kevin Ryan has won this three times in the last seven years. As for dangers, there are around 24 of them!
GET ON TREND Who will win the Ayr Gold Cup this Saturday?
AMANDINE (3.20) is the standout bet on the Newmarket card.
She was second at Ascot two weeks ago in a red-hot race, the form of which was well and truly franked when the third and fourth finished third and first in a Listed race at Yarmouth on Wednesday.
Amandine is just 2lb higher now and the opposition is nowhere near as strong as she faced last time.
Chelmsford have put on another excellent Saturday card and MAWAARD is the most interesting horse on show in the 2.15.
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He has been really impressive on his last two starts at Kempton, last time defeating the well-regarded Godolphin four-year-old Dayking (runs in the 2.20 at Ayr where he is weighted to go close but the testing ground in a worry) with the third 12 lengths behind.
The rest were strung out like the finish of a three-mile chase at Chepstow! On heavy ground!
Purely on that bare form Mawaard looks fairly treated on a mark of 96 and this lightly-raced three-year-old could turn out to be much better than a handicapper.