Ascot, Saturday

BOWMAN is worth a small investment in the televised Shergar Cup opener on Saturday (1.35pm) at 16/1. This is a funny race, as it features a heavy favourite best over further and a few others not guaranteed to see out the trip. The selection might get a softish time of it on the lead in this relatively small field, and I would trust Kerrin McEvoy to get the fractions right. He’s a pretty big price.

ARECIBO can give Robert Cowell an overdue winner in the Dash (2.10pm) at 7/2. He’s classier than these by some way at his best but needs a finesse ride. Danny Tudhope might be just the man to switch him off and deliver him late in a race likely to be run at a suitably searching pace. Arecibo is not going to have to run much better than his mid-div effort in the King’s Stand to win this.

MAKE MY DAY looks a very big price at 18/1 in the stayers’ race (2.45pm), and must surely be backed each-way. The marathon races here and at Goodwood haven’t really worked out for him with an indifferent passage through each race and the trip perhaps a shade too far. A return to something a bit more conventional over the same course and distance as his excellent effort earlier in the campaign off a similar mark (better off with favourite) should see a bold performance.

CELTIC ART can win the Shergar Cup Challenge for the rather unlikely combination of Jeremy Scott and Takeshi Yokoyama (3.20pm). Although last at Salisbury on his turf comeback, he ran fine for a long way, but didn’t appear to see out the trip. A drop back in distance with that under his belt should suit well, and there was every indication from his improved all-weather form for his new stable that he remained well-handicapped at 11/1.

BOPEDRO looks attractively priced at 6/1 in the Mile (3.55pm). David O’Meara is peerless when it comes to taking apparently exposed horses to another level, and he looks to have found another interesting project here. His run on his stable debut was his second excellent effort on this track, and he should go very well again if he can get out of the gate just a shade more smartly.

SHEER ROCKS has been running consistently of late, and can win the “Classic” (4.30pm) at 17/2. He got a bit far back in a messy race at Goodwood, but finished off very strongly, and this extra furlong looks necessary now.

ROMANTIC TIME is a bit of a chancy pick at 14/1 in the Sprint (5.05pm), but she’s absolutely thrown in now on her juvenile form, and has shown just about enough in her last two starts (rather unfortunate last time to be hampered) to think she still has a race in her against this calibre of opponent. I’d expect her to get a relatively easy time of it on the front, as rank outsider Twelfth Knight is the only other semblance of pace.

Haydock, Saturday

MR MCCANN can win Haydock’s 2.25pm at 7/2. His run in the German Guineas looks really good based on the subsequent exploits of the winner and runner-up – certainly good enough to defy a mark of 99 in a rather insipid race. You can forget his Ascot run when he was heavily eased once his chance had gone.

GROCER JACK looks to have been found another sound opportunity in the Rose Of Lancaster (3.00pm) at 13/8. He was impressive granted his conditions at Newbury, and this doesn’t look appreciably harder.

Newmarket, Saturday

MOTTISFONT gets an each-way shout at 18/1 in the Sweet Solera at Newmarket (3.40pm). This is a bit of a hunch play, but she was really impressive on her debut on quick ground at Ffos Las and it is worth noting that her half-sister Romsey was a very good fourth in this race in 2019 before winning a stakes race.

Saratoga, Saturday

Meanwhile, I am on NBC duty in Saratoga this weekend, where I think OLYMPIAD, one of the breakout horses of 2022, can upset Life Is Good and Hot Rod Charlie in the Whitney Stakes (10.43pm) at 11/4.

Charlie Appleby is heading here with good chances as well, and I am confident that NATIONS PRIDE (11.20pm) can come out best of the Belmont quintet in the Saratoga Derby at 3/1. At bigger odds, I’m intrigued to see whether Royal Patronage can step forward to hit the frame on his first start for the excellent Graham Motion.