Simon Holt: Bow an arrow
Channel 4 Racing commentator Simon Holt picks out his best bets on Saturday and is finding it hard to look past Orion's Bow in the Great St Wilfrid at Ripon.
Orion's Bow: Hard to beat in the Great St Wilfrid
SATURDAY'S William Hill Great St Wilfrid Handicap is, by tradition, one of the most competitive sprints of the season but ORION'S BOW looks a fairly obvious selection this year.
'Sprint King' Dandy Nicholls has improved the five-year-old dramatically and that progression continued when Barry McHugh's mount ran a fine second behind the Group-race-bound Dancing Star in the Stewards' Cup at Glorious Goodwood a fortnight ago.
Orion's Bow is 3lb higher in the weights here but that form could be really solid and he should have nothing to fear from the reopposing Alben Star (tenth), his stablemate Kimberella (13th), Baccarat (15th), Go Far (18th), Moonraker (21st) and Toofi (23rd).
It is remarkable to think that the selection began the season being beaten at Catterick off a mark of just 73 but Nicholls has performed similar miracles with sprinters in the past and Orion's Bow, formerly trained by John Gosden, is well bred being a Pivotal half-brother to four winners including the smart Heaven Sent.
Drawn nine towards the centre, McHugh should be able to choose which way to go if the field splits into two groups.
Although held by Orion's Bow, Kimberella cannot be ruled out having chased home subsequent Ayr Gold Cup winner Don't Touch in this race last year, albeit off an 11lb lower mark. And he is another who has enjoyed a fine season.
The form of the Stewards' Sprint consolation race is tested by Related and Nuno Tristan who chased home the revitalised Hoof It.
However, the latter had earlier proved no match for Orion's Bow in the Scottish Stewards Cup at Hamilton previously.
A bigger threat could be the improving Intisaab who has finished first or second in his last five starts (going up 16lb in the handicap) and split Kimberella and Related at York before the latter pair went to Goodwood.
David O'Meara's gelding, who gets on very well with 3lb claimer Shelley Birkett, will be suited by the likely strong pace here though, from stall 17, he is at the mercy of any draw bias.
At Newbury, I will take a chance on JALLOTA causing an upset in the Group Two Betfred Hungerford Stakes.
In the past, this Charles Hills-trained gelding has been difficult to place but he seems to be in the form of his life at the moment having scored twice this season, on the latest occasion hacking up in a minor event at Haydock.
However, it is Jallota's previous second to Jimmy Two Times in the Group Three Prix de la Porte Maillot at Deauville in early July which suggests he could be over-priced here.
Last weekend, Jimmy Two Times ran a tremendous race to take third (despite playing up in the preliminaries) behind Signs Of Blessing in the Group One Prix Maurice de Gheest on the same course where Dutch Connection, previous conqueror of Home Of The Brave (Markaz fifth) at Goodwood, finished fifth.
The line through Jimmy Two Times certainly gives in-form Jallota a sporting chance here while there is little between market rivals Home Of The Brave and Convey on their clash at Haydock back in May.
Preview posted at 1035 BST on 12/08/2016