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I’ll be continuing with Ante-Post Focus on Wednesday trying to follow up Antiquarium’s 16/1 winning recommendation last year in the Northumberland Plate and also be taking an early look at the Irish Derby, and Horses to Follow where I will looking back at Royal Ascot on Thursday before the next meeting I cover which will be Newmarket July Festival between July 13-15. Then it will be King George Day on July 29th and virtually straight on to Glorious Goodwood.
Before then we’ve got the Tour de France starting on Saturday which I am previewing later this week and will feature in the General Sports section and, two days later, it’s the beginning of Wimbledon which Carl Redden will be covering for us with an outright preview and then round-by-round coverage. Last year he successfully recommended a Serena-Kerber final at 14/1 so something similar again will do very nicely.
After recommending Shikhar Dhawan to be the top runscorer in the ICC Champions Trophy at 40/1 (tips hat) I know that many of you will be looking forward to Paul Smith looking after the England vs South Africa test series (four tests) for us which begins on July 6th at Lord’s. Last summer he successfully advised a 2-2 draw between England and Pakistan at 14/1.
In other sport, Ciaran Meagher will return to cover the Irish Open golf on July 4th before The Open Championship two weeks later and Mike Henderson is on duty for the World Matchplay darts from Blackpool, regarded as the second biggest event after the World Championships. I can’t say that the Confederations Cup is doing it for me but the Premier League restarts a week before the Ebor Meeting on August 12th so I’ll also be starting to look properly at that fairly soon. So a busy old July really.
I hope that members enjoyed the six weeks’ build up and the daily coverage of Royal Ascot even though it proved to be a just a par week with too many of the each-way plays hitting the frame rather than winning. I’d say that Le Brivido was the highlight of the week for me ahead of Idaho, beating the book nicely on both winners, though Caravaggio, Lady Aurelia and Big Orange were the stars of the show. The main disappointments were injuries to too many of my ante-post fancies and being drawn on the wrong side in the Wokingham where my ante-post advice of Projection finished in front of those on the stands’ side.
I attended the Saturday which was actually my first visit to the meeting for 28 years! After getting over the initial shock of having to pay an additional £40 for the privilege of using the car park on top of the £88 for general admission to the Queen Anne Enclosure, it was a very enjoyable day. It did amaze me though how few people go the paddock to take a look at world class horses in the preliminaries compared to the Cheltenham Festival where it’s 20 deep in places. I was standing directly adjacent to the point where September was picking up in great style to overhaul Nyaleti in the Chesham Stakes and was immensely impressed with her. I can resist 6/1 for the 1000 Guineas but it will take a very good one to stop her from being the leading 2yo filly of the season.
I’ll be making my debut at the Greyhound Derby on Saturday taking place at Towcester for the first time so that will be another big sporting event to cross off the list. It’s looking like a three-cornered affair between Clares Rocket (5/4), Tyrur Shay (2/1) and Hiya Butt (4/1) and sure to be a fantastic atmosphere. If the favourite breaks like he did when beating his main market rival by 1¾l in the semi-final, then it’s goodnight Vienna.