Hopefully, Wednesday should see an easing in the record temperatures of the last couple of days so that today’s horse racing action can go ahead as planned.
We have four tips for today - one from the afternoon card at Catterick, two selections from Sandown, and one from the Irish fixture at Naas in the evening.
8.40pm Sandown - Happy (Nap of the Day)
Charlie & Mark Johnston’s charge can send punters home happy with a victory in Sandown’s finale, a course which suits the running style of William Buick’s mount.
4.50pm Catterick - Last Date (Longshot)
A wide-open seven-furlong handicap which features four last-time-out winners, including top weight Dandys Gold who has been running consistently well of late, culminating in a well-deserved victory at Ayr last month.
With jockey Ryan Sexton claiming 5lb, the eight-year-old must have a good chance of following up. But on just his fifth start on turf it could be worth taking a chance on bottom weight Last Date from the Ivan Furtado stable.
The Music Master gelding has done most of his racing on an all-weather surface, winning three of his 21 outings. However, the mount of Andrew Elliott will be having his third consecutive start over today’s course and distance and while yet to make the frame there were clear signs in both of those races to suggest the five-year-old is capable of going close in a race of this nature off a career-low mark of 50.
Last Date was slowly away on both occasions yet still ran creditably, and granted a better start this time can make the frame at a huge price.
6.30pm Naas - Sacred Bridge (Next Best)
Despite having to concede weight to her 11 rivals, the Ger Lyons-trained Sacred Bridge looks the one to beat in this 6f fillies and mares Listed race.
The Bated Breath filly looked an exciting prospect when winning her first four starts as a juvenile, culminating in an impressive victory in the Group 3 Round Table Stakes at the Curragh in August. A beaten favourite in Newmarket’s Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes on her final outing as a two-year-old, a performance which clearly failed to show Sacred Bridge at her very best.
Fourth, beaten two lengths, behind subsequent easy Irish 1000 Guineas winner Homeless Songs at Leopardstown on her reappearance was followed by a narrow victory over Sunday’s Group 2 winner Ladies Church at Cork prior to a trip to Royal Ascot for the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup.
The mount of Colin Keane was very free in the early stages of that 6f contest and was done no favours by her low draw in stall three. Sacred Bridge is better than that 13th place would suggest and should appreciate this drop back into Listed company. The hat-trick-seeking Ano Syra and stablemate Pirate Jenny can prove the main dangers to the selection.
7.38pm Sandown - Liberation Point
Top weight Colour Image scraped home in a four-runner Bath handicap on his most recent start. But the Godolphin gelding had been in dire form prior to that victory and is worth opposing, along with main market rival Rogue Rocket who has gone up 7lb for winning another four-runner affair, this one being at Salisbury just over a week ago.
At the prices, the Michael Appleby-trained Liberation Point makes much more appeal in the hands of jockey Silvestre De Sousa. In what could prove to be a tactical race, Liberation Point could well end up dictating the race, as was the case when the son of Iffraaj made all of the running to win at Chester on his penultimate start.
De Sousa has few peers when riding a waiting race in front and on a course which suits such tactics, the five-year-old looks sure to run a big race.
8.40pm Sandown - Happy (Nap of the Day)
Punters can go home happy with a victory in Sandown’s finale for the Charlie & Mark Johnston-trained, appropriately named, Happy and in-form jockey William Buick who recorded no less than five wins at Newmarket last Saturday afternoon.
An easy winner at Beverley on his reappearance back in April, the four-year-old has performed with credit in five subsequent starts despite failing to trouble the judge, the most recent when beaten less than two lengths in fourth place over today’s course and distance earlier in the month.
Dropped 1lb, and in what looks to be an easier contest, the Galileo gelding should have little trouble in seeing off main rivals Cherry Cola and the veteran dual-purpose performer Nietzsche. Happy can send punters home with a smile
* Odds correct at the time of writing but subject to change.