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Last weekend’s racing was a sumptuous banquet and although this week’s fare is more modest there is plenty to enjoy and a couple of excellent betting opportunities. The big race for punters is Ascot’s Ladbrokes.com Heritage Handicap. With 18 runners going to post this is a competitive affair, which will reward each-way bets on the first four home.
The pick has to be Purple Moon. It is not often you see a Sir Michael Stoute-trained, Michael Tabor-owned horse entered in a handicap. It is rarer still to see one priced at 12/1. To be frank this horse must be a disappointment to connections. Even the über-rich surely feel a twinge when a €550,000 (£374,000) investment nets a return (so far) of £14,000. On Saturday this underachiever can begin to put things right.
He showed just enough last time out to suggest he is worth a bet now. He went down by four lengths at Chester to the favourite in this contest Stotsfold. That day Purple Moon gave his rival plenty of weight, whereas now he receives weight. He also ran green on only his fourth start, pulling early and never really settling. He did his best work in the final furlong and Saturday’s step up in trip should suit this son of Galileo.
Andronikos is another horse that hasn’t quite lived up to his promise. Successful in listed company at three he has been tricky to place since, short of group class and too harshly treated to win in handicaps. He has dropped in the weights, however, and runs in Saturday’s Coral Sprint Trophy on the same mark as when finishing fifth in the Ayr Gold Cup last time.
Andronikos raced in a scrum of horses that day and though it is impossible to say that a clear passage would have landed the spoils, he would surely have gone closer. If the ground is rising on the soft side it will also help his cause. In Ascot’s opener Abby Road puts more ticks in the right boxes than the rest of the field.
1:10 Ascot – Abby Road (each-way)
2:10 Ascot – Purple Moon (each-way)
3:45 York – Andronikos (win or each-way)