TV celebrity with his tips for week­end

The Racing Paper - - Front Page - ROBERT COOPER

What­ever sci­en­tists say, time trav­els at vary­ing speeds. The day you’ve been look­ing for­ward to, say that all ex­penses paid trip to the Mel­bourne Cup, re­mains a per­ma­nent dot on the hori­zon, how­ever the den­tist’s ap­point­ment for some root canal en­gi­neer­ing work ar­rives in a flash.

I’ve ex­pe­ri­enced plenty of the lat­ter but the Mel­bourne Cup re­mains high on the bucket list, es­pe­cially now that our Euro­raiders have the Aussies on the run. Ian Williams’ MAGIC CIR­CLE is cur­rently one of the favourites. It’s a shrewd move to have booked Corey Brown for the ride; the 42-year-old won the Cup on REKIN­DLING for Joseph O’Brien last year, and lo­cal knowl­edge counts for plenty in this race, that not only stops the na­tion but takes no pris­on­ers over the pun­ish­ing two miles.

There is no more en­thu­si­as­tic owner on the planet than Dr Mar­wan Koukash, and it will be worth drag­ging your­self out of bed at three o’clock in the morn­ing on the first Tues­day in Novem­ber just to see the crazy Doc’s glee if he pulls it off with MAGIC CIR­CLE. They don’t come more com­pet­i­tive than Koukash – you should have seen his face when I pot­ted a long shot on his pool ta­ble. I acted ul­tra-cool but no one was more sur­prised than me.

The date that looms for me like a den­tal trip is an event usu­ally known as the Richard Phillips Golf Clas­sic but played this year, as The Rid­ers Cup. Not quite the Le Golf Na­tional but you still re­quire abun­dant tal­ent to tame the 18 holes at Chip­ping Nor­ton. I’ll be seek­ing in­spi­ra­tion from Rory and Tiger over the week­end.

My form fig­ures re­veal that my last run was pre­cisely 365 days ago, in this very event. Find­ing time to prac­tice be­fore Tues­day looks im­pos­si­ble, but some horses run best fresh, so I’ll just hope I’m a hu­man equiv­a­lent. Lo­cal trainer Phillips has staged this event for at least ten or 12 years; I ac­tu­ally have my name em­bossed on the tro­phy when win­ning off, what I felt was a fairly as­sessed hand­i­cap mark, but that was a mi­nor­ity view.

It was the only time I had been called a ban­dit, in the golf­ing sense. My aim on Tues­day is to avoid ut­ter hu­mil­i­a­tion – that would put me within touch­ing dis­tance of an­other per­sonal tri­umph.

I must con­fess, I haven’t un­der­taken a horse-by-horse fin­ger­tip form sur­vey of the day’s big hand­i­cap, the Cam­bridgeshire, be­cause af­ter more than half a life­time’s ex­pe­ri­ence, find­ing the win­ner of­ten de­fies ba­sic logic.

I doubt Mys­tic Meg would have spot­ted last year’s 50/1 shocker Dol­phin Vista.

While in the ATR stu­dio last Tues­day, I re­ceived an email from a viewer sug­gest­ing that MOUN­TAIN HUNTER [3.40 NEW­MAR­KET] in his view was a solid each way bet, and you know he could be right. He ran a re­ally eye-catch­ing race at Don­caster a cou­ple of weeks ago, re­turn­ing from a break since run­ning at Mey­dan ear­lier in 2018.

He was stopped in his tracks when stay­ing on strongly, even­tu­ally fin­ish­ing fifth be­hind AN­OTHER ECLIPSE. He won a de­cent hand­i­cap at Mey­dan in Jan­u­ary and looks a more than ca­pa­ble horse. His trainer Saeed Bin Suroor also runs the more fan­cied VERY TA­LENTED who came back from a two-year ab­sence to score at Chelms­ford.

I’ll take a chance with MOUN­TAIN HUNTER who looked a shade un­lucky at Don­caster. I’ll prob­a­bly split my bet with Char­lie Hills’ AFAAK who gets the blink­ers at­tached to­day. He was run­ner-up in the Royal Hunt Cup and de­spite be­ing a bit quirky, has a touch of class.

There’s a star-stud­ded card at New­mar­ket and some top two year-olds are in the spot­light. PRETTY POLLYANNA [2.25 NEW­MAR­KET] should con­firm Deauville form with SIG­NORA CA­BELLO in the Group One Cheve­ley Park Stakes but in the other top grade race, the Mid­dle Park Stakes, I reckon the ‘jolly’ TEN SOVEREIGNS might get turned over by an­other un­beaten colt, JASH [3.00 NEW­MAR­KET] who runs in the fa­mil­iar blue silks of Ham­dan al Mak­toum – it’s hard to be­lieve Sheikh H hasn’t had a win­ning Group One ju­ve­nile since 2009.

JASH came within a whisker of beat­ing the six-fur­long course record at New­mar­ket on his de­but. He looks a smart young­ster.

KADAR [1.50 NEW­MAR­KET] has run only once but I liked the way he surged to an im­pres­sive vic­tory at Haydock. James Doyle, now back in the sad­dle fol­low­ing a seven-meet­ing sus­pen­sion from the Aussie stew­ards, has been snapped up for the ride. KADAR is pre­ferred to the un­beaten BEAT­BOXER.

A more po­tent threat could be ARTHUR KITT who lost his 100 per cent record to TOO DARN HOT at Sandown. There’s no ig­nominy in that.

I’m def­i­nitely op­pos­ing MITCHUM SWAG­GER, the likely favourite for Haydock’s valu­able hand­i­cap. He’s sidestepped the Cam­bridgeshire for this and hasn’t run since fin­ish­ing third in the Lin­coln back in March.

He runs well here at Haydock and the soft ground will suit but the value has long gone. In­stead I’ll go for ES­CO­BAR, a course and dis­tance win­ner in June, to re­turn to win­ning ways. His last two runs in Ire­land haven’t been spec­tac­u­lar but with Adam Kirby on board, a re­cov­ery mis­sion is on the cards.

I hope to ex­pe­ri­ence a sim­i­lar re­vival on the golf course next week.

“In the Cam­bridgeshire I’ll take a chance with MOUN­TAIN HUNTER who looked a shade un­lucky at Don­caster. I’ll prob­a­bly split my bet with Char­lie Hill’s AFAAK”

Un­beaten: Jash can ex­tend his record

En­thu­si­ast: Dr Mar­wan Koukash

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