Horse Racing tips: Frank Hickey’s 4 best bets for Saturday’s ITV races

Frank will be glued to the TV on Saturday.

Frank Hickey


* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

Newmarket 15:00 – Sir Ron Priestley

At first viewing it would be difficult to oppose Pyledriver, who was an impressive winner of the King Edwards VII Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Great Voltigeur at York, as well as finishing third in the Leger, only beaten a little over a length.

He was beaten on his reappearance last year and he did disappoint on his only start here at Newmarket, in the Grade 2 Royal Lodge stakes on his final start as a juvenile.

His best performances have tended to come at flat tracks and he might be worth taking on here as a result.

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Sir Ron Priestly was very progressive as a three-year-old in 2019, starting off in handicaps off 86 and ending the season with five wins and a second in the Leger, with his only disappointing effort coming at Royal Ascot when only a 9/2 shot. He ended the season rated 112.

He missed all of last season but made a nice reappearance at Nottingham when winning a 1m6f listed race in style, beating Ocean Road, who ran well in the Sagaro Stakes when second during the week.

There’s a chance Sir Ron Priestly might bounce but there is also a chance Franny Norton will get to dictate on the front end here and he is obviously fit and in good form.

Newmarket 15:40 – Thunder Moon

The set up of the race looks likely to suit Thunder Moon. Mutasaabeq has been drawn 12 and Naval Crown drawn 11, with Thunder Moon drawn 10, so he should get a lovely tow into the race.

He was very impressive on his first two starts last season, winning a 7f maiden at the Curragh on good ground and then following up when winning the Grade 1 National Stakes over 7f when showing a blistering turn of foot.

That national stakes was a red hot renewal with Wembley and St Marks Basilica second and third – and they would reverse form in the Dewhurst.

Fourth Master of the Seas won the Craven, fifth Lucky Vega was second in the Middle Park Stakes and even the eighth MacSwiney won the Grade 1 Vertem Futurity.

That was on good ground and you’d imagine faster ground will suit even more.

He was only third in the Dewhurst and was beaten two and a half lengths but the soft ground wouldn’t have suited him at all and he did have to go very wide to make his challenge (as did Wembley). On the soft ground he just wasn’t able to show that turn of foot.

Everything looks sure to suit and while I’m afraid of Wembley, Thunder Moon has a huge chance.

Goodwood 14:05 – Lilac Road

Lilac Road gets 13lbs off the older horses, so she is the one to beat considering she is rated 105 and is only 3lb off Agincourt and Maamora.

She was a useful juvenile last season, winning at Doncaster on her second start over a mile, turning over a 1/6 shot that was trained by John Gosden.

Lilac Road was only beaten two lengths in the Grade 2 May Hill Stakes at Doncaster, with Indigo Girl the winner, just being touched off in the Grade 1 Fillies Mile on her next start and the second Dubai Fountain fourth in the same race.

She was last in that Fillies Mile but the soft ground was probably against her.

She looked very good on her reappearance at Kempton over a mile when beating 4/11 shot Kestenna. She might face competition for the lead from Maamora but she has to make it and she does have a fitness edge over some rivals.

Thirsk 14:40 – Acquitted

Acquitted was 2-3 as a juvenile and was second to Palace Pier on his reappearance in a Newcastle handicap last June off a mark of 89. However, he didn’t beat a rival in two strong handicaps at Royal Ascot and Sandown on only two subsequent starts.

He was second in the Spring Mile at Doncaster on reappearance this season off 91 and only got 1lb for that despite only being beaten a neck.

Winner Artistic Rifles bolted up next time off a 2lb higher mark and third Mostawaa was only narrowly beaten in a Ascot handicap on Wednesday.

Acquitted needs to prove he can back up that run as he didn’t go on from his reappearance last season but if he does, he has a huge chance. The Palmer yard remain in decent form too and has a 21 per cent strike rate with his runners at Thirsk in the past five years.

Frank’s best Saturday bets:

Goodwood 14:05 – Lilac Road
Thirsk 14:40 – Acquitted

Newmarket 15:00 – Sir Ron Priestley
Newmarket 15:40 – Thunder Moon

* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.





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