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Alex Hammond Blog: Selections from Ripon, Newbury and Irish Oaks on Big Saturday with Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival | Race News


Sky Sports Racing’s Alex Hammond is eagerly awaiting the start of the Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival, with a scorching card at Ripon on Saturday.

Spare a thought for us northerners. The summer heatwave isn’t something to celebrate when you’re a Yorkshire girl living in the south, it’s something to tolerate and find shelter in, as you stare wistfully at neatly folded sweaters in drawers and wondering how long it will be before you can take off your big coat.

Not so bad, the Go Racing In Yorkshire summer festival kicks off on Saturday where we celebrate the beautiful racecourses of the county of God’s Own.

Oh, and did I mention the annual humiliation where a group of us so-called experts compete in a tipping challenge to try and raise money for charity? To be honest, there are coaches among us, so hopefully there will be some money in the prize pool at the end of the week!

Sky Bet is sponsoring it all and have already priced some promotions around the week, including the tipping challenge.

I’m 8/1 second favorite with ITV Racing’s Ed Chamberlin to finish top of the standings, which seems a little skinny (to me, not Ed). Mind you, Oli Bell is the 7/1 favorite with the Sportinglife team so I think an early steward inquiry should be called!

Karl Burke is 11/4 to be the best trainer and Ben Curtis 4/1 to be the first jockey. It should be a lot of fun.

Hoping Bollin Joan can keep her cool in the heat of Ripon

So, Ripon gets the ball rolling with a competitive map where feature racing is the Titanium Racing Ripon Bell Ringer Handicap. Seven runners were declared, which unfortunately minimizes our round trip options.

Can you believe there is a declared horse called Global Heat and another called Alright Sunshine!? We have a themed building, I think.

Of the seven reported, only one is a three-year-old, which means a generous 11 pounds for accessibility age allowance (essentially carries 11 pounds less than his handicap mark to account for the youth).

It’s the time of year when three-year-olds are catching up with older generations, so this could be a useful allowance. The recent second place in Accessibility at Pontefract is also shaping up well and it looks like the progression towards this trip (one mile and four furlongs) suited him well.

Global Heat is twice his age and two wins in 22 starts isn’t obvious. He lost a few pounds for his most recent effort, but I’m not sure he got thrown away.

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Ripon hosts a strong seven-race card on Saturday as the Go Racing In Yorkshire summer festival kicks off

He carries the lead weight with Alright Sunshine who have plied his trade further and although he was a course and distance winner three years ago, I don’t expect him to get any faster.

Bollin Joan is trained by Tim Easterby, who has a good record at Ripon, and it looks like this mare resembles her trainer as her trips to Garden Racecourse have brought in four wins and two second places. It might be telling that she fell 1lb below her last win mark after four moderate efforts. She is not excluded.

Furzig has only made one trip to Ripon in the past and it was a winning trip. He’s rated 18 pounds heavier on all-weather than on turf, but he’s got good form on grass and he’s back to his last winning mark.

I better mention the other two runners, or you guarantee me I won’t have mentioned the winner! Wise Eagle is another who seems better suited to the pursuit these days, and one-time Group 3 winner Danehill Kodiac has a lot to prove on his recent form, he hasn’t won in five years and had a few spells heavy on the sidelines.

So for me it’s between accessibility and John Bollin the latter getting the green light at probable prices.

Fantasy in every way in Super Sprint for the in-form Walker team

Far from the shenanigans of Yorkshire, the Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury sees the fast juveniles burn down the five furlong straight and it looks like a scorching contest (sorry can’t help it, it’s in the forefront of my mind) as usual.

Richard Hannon has won the last two races of the contest and this year is only counting on the five to try to clinch the treble.

There are few owners more competitive than Kia Joorabchian and its Amo Racing colors will be worn by the Miami Girl trained by Hannon (7/1 with Sky Bet). The owners have retained rider Rossa Ryan on board. She finished fifth in the Queen Mary, then won a three-runner race over five furlongs at Windsor last time out. I think we will see the best of her when she is up to six furlongs.

Miami Girl ridden by jockey Rossa Ryan
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Miami Girl, ridden by jockey Rossa Ryan, makes winning debut at Newmarket

From the same stable, Swift Asset (7/1) went over six furlongs on his debut but enjoyed dropping to five furlongs in his win at Windsor. It’s a big step up in class but he’s improving. Pat Dobbs was aboard Chindit to win last weekend’s Summer Mile, and he takes the lead over Swift Asset.

Ed Walker’s side stole and at double digit odds Union Court could be one for bettors on either side (Sky Bet pays out five places). She was caught too far into Windsor Castle after a slow start from a high draw but remained determined and was beaten by six lengths at the end she is a 12/1 shot.

The market leaders have a pretty good track record in the race and Maria Branwell aims to continue that trend for David O’Meara. She is already a Listed winner and third in the Queen Mary. At 5/2, however, it is quite small.

Rogue Spirit could be vying for patronage and bypassing Ascot to be saved for it, we’ll see if that tactic pays off. Eddie’s Boy is super fast and works well. Expect to see him lead the way under Hollie Doyle. Let’s be honest, it’s damn hard but I’m glad I got Union Court in play to finish in the top five.

The Juddmonte Irish Oaks is the classiest contest of the weekend where the pressure will be on Frankie Dettori to put Emily Upjohn’s head in front after the agonizing defeat at Epsom.

John and Thady Gosden’s Oaks runner-up is very short of adding this classic to his resume at 4/9 with Sky Bet and the only other single-prize runner is Ribblesdale winner Magical Lagoon at 7/2 for Jessica Harrington. She obviously has a lot to find with the favorite but should not be ignored.

Nashwa (green) hunts home Oaks before two Tuesday and Emily Upjohn at Epsom
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Emily Upjohn (left) was just beaten in the Oaks at Epsom on Tuesday

If all eight declared fillies line up, then Cairde Go Deo might be able to finish in all three. It’s a 16/1 shot for Ger Lyons who won this race two years ago and thinks highly of this filly.

I’ll be in the Sky Sports Racing studios this weekend, and for once a windowless, air-conditioned box will be the only place I want to be! Stay cool, keep an eye out for the indoor track tipping challenge from some of the biggest names in the north and chat next week.



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