Rory's Racing Preview 01/07/2017
By Rory Ford
In the first of what will hopefully become a weekly article, I attempt to find the punters a winner in this Saturday’s racing. Some fantastic cards in both England and Ireland to preview and pick through.
French raider set to take Irish Derby
The main race at the Curragh on Saturday is the Irish Derby and I am backing Waldgeist, who is generally 5/2 second favourite. I think this horse is extremely solid and has a fantastic chance. The three-year-old trained by Andre Fabre finished second in the French Derby last time out behind the brilliant Brametot. Waldgeist was denied by the narrowest of margins that day and over two furlongs further we could see an even better horse.
Waldgeist was a Group One winner at two years old and had many of Saturdays rivals behind him that day. The horses behind him included Wings Of Eagles, Douglas Macarthur, Capri and Taj Mahal. I am taking him to confirm that formnow as a three-year-old.
The obvious dangers come from the English Derby. The winner, Wings Of Eagles is set to be favourite tomorrow but I believe the race was set up perfectly for that horse last time. He came late off a strong pace and it should be remembered he was relatively unfancied that day. The third in the English Derby, Cracksman, re-opposes on Saturday and I would rate him as the main danger to my selection.
Verdon to paint Newmarket Red
The 2.05 at Newmarket tomorrow is the listed Fred Archer Stakes over 1m 4f. My selection is Red Verdon for Ed Dunlop and James Doyle. He is currently a top priced 4/1 shot. He has competed at the highest level on several occasions and he should find this drop into listed company a lot easier.
Last time out he finished a respectable seventh in the Group One Coronation Cup at Epsom. Two horses from that race went on to land prizes at Royal Ascot so the form is clearly very strong. Red Verdon competed in both the English and Irish Derby last year and was clearly very highly thought of. He is tried in first time blinkers tomorrow which could bring about some improvement.
The main danger seems to be one-time Derby favourite Midterm. This horse is currently favourite for tomorrow but he is opposed at his prohibitive 9/4 odds.
Natural Scenery the pick in wide open Northumberland Plate
The Northumberland Plate is always a very wide handicap and this year is no different. I do however think that Natural Scenery has an excellent chance at odds of 8/1. She is a lightly raced four year old with a top pedigree. With four wins from ten runs it is reasonable to expect she could still have more improvement to come.
Course form is always a bonus in these competitive affairs and my selection is a two time course winner at Newcastle. She went off favourite for the All-Weather Marathon Finallast time out and did not get the clearest of runs. She plugged on into sixth that day but it could be a blessing in disguise with her handicap mark remaining untouched.
To summarise -
Curragh - 5.20 - Waldgeist - 5/2
Newmarket - 2.05 - Red Verdon - 4/1
Newcastle - 3.30 - Natural Scenery - 8/1