Sky Sports Racing Senior Analyst Jamie Lynch takes a close look at each of Racing League’s six week two races and selects his to watch and animated longshots.
Race 1 – five stages
One to watch – PORT DE BALLINTOY (Team Arena)
The two Pauls of the Arena team, coach Midgley and jockey Mulrennan, combined to win the opening five-meter event in week one and play another ace with Ballintoy Harbor.
The three year old filly is the hottest horse in the race due to her low mileage (only 6 races) and high standards.
In her last start at Newmarket, she faced a decisive clash with Clarendon House, who have not won once but twice since.
Animated longshot – RIDING (Loto racehorses)
A 79 rating is his lowest handicap since 2017 and has shown at times this season that he always has what it takes, especially when he was third behind Arecibo at Newmarket in April.
He took a break before his last run, perhaps in anticipation of that, and is deployed by the team to a track where he has won in the past.
This will be the first time in his 36-race career that he will wear headgear (toys), to find that extra edge.
Race 2 – six stages
One to watch – JONAH JONES (Swish Team)
An enigma, because his career seems to have been compromised and he has not yet won a handicap on 12 attempts, including five times favorite.
However, if he’s in the mood, he could pick up this lot and carry it, in an easier run than he normally faces and with the added help of Saffie Osborne’s 5lb claim.
One or both breaks (three months) and blinders (first time) can stimulate him, and Ed Walker’s stable couldn’t get any better.
Animated longshot – I AM A DREAMER (Team Arena)
He hasn’t had the green on his last two runs and it’s too early to forget that in early June he scared Commanche Falls, which won the Stewards Cup on Saturday.
Plus, his set style is closer to pace than the vast majority of his rivals, so he can be less compromised than most if it gets tactical.
Race 3 – seven stages
One to watch – DILAWARA (Ireland Team)
Doncaster is expected to rain before and Thursday, and the softer the ground the better for Dilawara, who won a 12-runner handicap at Longchamp last October by eight lengths.
Purchased privately by Joseph O’Brien for € 70,000, most likely from the perspective of the Racing League, his reappearance in a big field at Leopardstown was very encouraging, beaten only a length and a quarter of seventh despite problems traffic.
She should be perfect for that and a rating of 88 might just underestimate her.
Race 4 – one mile
One to watch – AIR-AIR (Loto racehorses)
The Racing League handicaps are 0 to 90, events for all ages and difficult to win, but still a long way from Britannia which is the Royal Ascot meeting point for the best three-year-old handicappers per mile. It was a 29-runner race this year, and everyone’s favorite was Air To Air.
A lot has gone wrong for Air To Air, including running on the wrong side, as well as losing a shoe, but he’s on the same handicap for that as he was the Britannia.
He was sent off as short as 11-2 for it due to an easy win over this course and that distance and Nicola Currie is undefeated in one start against him.
Race 5 – one mile and two stages
One to watch – RUSSIAN VERTU (Team BullionVault)
The beauty of the handicap system lies in the fluidity with which the marks of the horses rise and fall according to their performance from one race to the next.
It is therefore rare in the extreme to come across one like Russian Virtue, for whom it will be a sixth start in handicaps, and all six have emerged 77.
In his case, this does not reflect consistency but uncertainty. One step forward and one step back in a season of stuttering.
But the two times he has trained the best have come, first in Doncaster, and then in 10 stages, and this combination this time can be the recipe for success for him. His trainer David Menuisier sent five winners in the last fortnight.
Race 6 – one mile and four stages
One to watch – AMIR KABIR (ODDSbible team)
Amir Kabir improved bit by bit throughout his career, until the last time at Newmarket, but it’s easy enough to excuse him because he was tricked into doing too much too soon.
Expect more patient riding here, and after just two attempts it still isn’t exposed at that distance.
Some of his form is solid, particularly his third in the spring at Newbury, a similar run in setup at Doncaster.
Animated longshot – FRONTISPIECE (BullionVault Team)
He’s been given a short break since looking slightly bitter, but the result is his lowest handicap score since 2017, and he has a good record once refreshed (he finished first or second four times after a layoff).
The fact that he stays farther can be an advantage if the race goes as planned, and Amanda Perrett’s chain recently hit a milestone.