Just the seven races in front of the ITV cameras on Saturday with action from Newbury and Newmarket to look forward to.

Read on for Nick Luck’s thoughts and fancies across both cards.


MISHAL STAR can spring a bit of a surprise in the Carnarvon Stakes (1.50pm) that opens up Newbury’s TV action on Saturday. This filly was quite useful at two, progressing nicely before getting stuck in the mud on her final start. This was all the more noteworthy as the stable’s horses were not in the best of form. By contrast, Tom Ward is now flying along and Mishal Star looked to have improved when a desperately unlucky fourth behind today’s rival Happy Romance at Chelmsford. With that run under her belt, and with favourite Tactical not certain to love the drop in trip, the selection makes a fair bit of appeal at 9/1.

AL AASY can follow up his last time out success in the Aston Park Stakes (2.25pm) at EVS. Ratings suggest he will do well to concede three pounds to a horse rated superior in Logician, but Al Aasy comes here off a barnstorming success that hints at plenty more progress, while Logician was last seen in the autumn trailing home dismally at York.

OZ LEGEND is an interesting runner for Hugo Palmer in the London Gold Cup (3.00pm) at 10/1. While he is not as obviously credentialed as the likes of River Alwen and Tamborrada, I liked his effort at Windsor recently, where he finished off strongly after a tardy start. That was a very warm novice and I think the handicapper has been brave giving him a mark of just 82, particularly as he had previously beaten a horse who has subsequently run to a mark in the 90s.

LOPE Y FERNANDEZ gets the nod as a sporting alternative to Palace Pier in the Lockinge (3.35pm). Whilst the favourite’s best will see him very hard to beat, the Ballydoyle runner is really quite unexposed at a mile, having been messing around over sprint trips for most of last season. He still ran some excellent races, most notably when second to an on-point Pinatubo in France, before stepping up to this trip and finishing a rather unlucky third in the Breeders’ Cup mile. He looked in great heart against inferiors on his comeback and should at least give Palace Pier food for thought at 13/2.


TASMAN BAY can book his place as a live Derby outsider by taking the Fairway Stakes at Newmarket (2.05pm) at 6/1. It seems significant that connections opt for this rather than the London Gold Cup off a mark of 97, and his excellent third at Newbury behind Dante winner Hurricane Lane and Chester runner-up maximal looks pretty strong form. The market is made by Fancy Man and John Leeper, and while the latter has oodles of potential, he has only won one small race, while I thought too much was made of Fancy Man’s supposed premature challenge at Chester.

BELLOSA looked a real one on her debut here and, though the second has let the form down, the third and fourth have both run very respectably since. The key is that she showed a terrific zest for the job in slamming them by seven lengths and the King Charles II Stakes (2.40pm) looks a perfectly feasible next step. She’s a 7/4 chance.

JUST FRANK appeals at 14/1 a hot looking three-year-old handicap (3.15pm). He’s been a bit tricky this year, but his Ascot run was much more appealing until he patently failed to stay the seventh furlong. Back at the scene of his greatest triumph, and with cut in the ground, he has much more going for him here, and he could take a bit of pegging back if he gets out of the stalls on terms.

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