The Duke’s Weekend Preview

We’re going to concentrate on Newmarket and Newbury this weekend, starting off with the 2.40 on the July Course.

The Aphrodite Stakes is a mile and a half contest for fillies and mares.

High Hopes has been running well in lower grades but this is a significant step up and looks a tough task. Skiffle is heading in the opposite direction, having been put in her place in Group races recently. She steps up in trip and I wouldn’t be surprised if she runs a darn sight better than her last start.

More Mischief should give a good account again, while Capricious Cantor is a touch overpriced at 20/1. Given the conditions of the race, I’m looking more towards the three year olds who get a decent weight allowance from the older horses.

Ralph Beckett does well with his fillies and Isabel De Urbina has been one that’s been on my radar since a successful debut at Ffos Las last September. They clearly think a lot of her, having pitched her in the deep end to contest the Oaks on only her third start. This may be more her level at this stage of her career and I’ll take her odds of 13/2.

The other one who may have potential is Apphia who ran creditably at Ascot last time. At 9/2 she’s a touch short, but I wouldn’t put anyone off if they fancy her chances.

Heading over to Newbury at 3pm, the Group 3 Hackwood Stakes is pretty competitive, but I think Magical Memory is the class act in the field. It amazes me that he’s as big as 7/2 which I think is an absolute steal in this race. He should have no issues with the ground, he’s got Frankie Dettori on his back and he’s placed in Group 1’s in the past. Yes, he didn’t run his race at Royal Ascot, but he’s run well either side of that and he can win again here.

Tupi is an improved horse this season and may go well on ground he should enjoy. Visionary is the value pick at 20/1 for the sprint king trainer Robert Cowell, while Gifted Master is also respected back down to this 6f trip for the first time since May last year. However, Magical Memory is the one for me.

The Weatherby’s Super Sprint is at 3.35 and whoever wins this will need a bit of luck, with a 5f cavalry charge always likely to deliver a few bad beats. Time Trail has won both starts so far and although the opposition is stiffer here, I wouldn’t rule an in-form filly out of contention.

I’m amazed that Debutante’s Ball gets in on such favourable terms here, having run well enough in a Group 3 at Deauville last time. She’s worth a play at 11/1.

The others who make the shortlist are Maggies Angel, who was runner-up in a Listed race last time and looks likely to run a big race, while Archie Watson has given a big word for Corinthia Knight. If you can get double figure odds for him, then he might be worth throwing in to the betting portfolio. It’s a tough weekend, but we’re confident of a good one.

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