Horse Racing Tips: Paul Jacobs’ Saturday Value Plays on ITV Racing

A super Saturday smash up and PJ's punts come from across the tracks at Ascot, Newmarket & York.

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*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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14:25 Ascot – Inverness

A relatively small field for this extended 1m 6f mile event on fast ground and at first glance it looks a really tricky contest despite a field of just seven set to go to post. However, there should be natural pace in the race with Dancing Harry, an all the way winner last time out at Salisbury. He has always raced freely in the majority of his races and the easiest thing to do for Kieran Shoemark is to simply let him bowl along rather than fight him. Berkshire Breeze also likes to be in the van which bodes well for my selection.

Charlie Hills has always made a point of telling us that his charge, INVERNESS must have fast ground, but despite having a sound surface on his two three-year-old outings he has twice let down his supporters, but there were excuses on each occasion. At Epsom he simply didn’t act on the track and in the King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot he had to race wide throughout and as a consequence saw too much daylight which meant that he raced way too freely and was a spent force as the field turned for home. So I think we can upgrade that run substantially as he was beaten less than five lengths when finishing tenth of the 19 runners.

With the likely pace on here, I am hoping that David Probert can hide him in behind the pace, relax him and then use his potential stamina and pull him out down the home stretch to cut down the leaders.

15:50 Newmarket – Bless Him

As always in the Bunbury Cup, the draw will play a part and having looked into this year’s renewal, there is plenty of pace across the whole track. So far this season, the stands’ side has has held an advantage, low numbers), but it is hard to be adamant about that here with a fair split on the results so far at this meeting. What we do know is that there will be fast ground in operation and with so much speed in this year’s renewal that could give an advantage to a hold-up horse that likes to get a nice tow into the contest.

Of the front runners, I thought that Cruyff Turn would be interesting and his Hunt Cup disappointment is easily dismissed as he could never boss his field, he could here from stall 10. Likely favourite Montassib was a never nearer fifth in the Buckingham Palace where Rhoscolyn was third and Ropey Guest second. But whereas those two had relatively clear runs the lightly-raced son of Exceed and Excel had to switch a couple of times between horses. He remains potentially well treated off a rating of 97.

BLESS HIM was seventh in the Royal Hunt Cup, never nearer, but if they do go hell for leather over this stiff seven and with the uphill finish in his favour then Jamie Spencer can be striking down the leaders up the severe final climb. Fast ground is definitely his domain and he is only 5lbs above his last winning mark and he has been placed off this rating three outings back. Well backed on the morning of that Ascot contest, he seems to be the forgotten horse and can avail of the extra places on offer with Paddy.

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16:05 York – Just Fine

At York, the big betting race of the day is the John Smith’s Cup Handicap at 4.05 over an extended 1m 2f and in a really blood-thirsty handicap, a massive field of 23 will go to post so there are bound to be some hard luck stories. Rogue Bear looks sure to run well at the bottom of the weights, but his price has been accounted for and I would much rather have an each-way interest in a couple of horses. Certain Lad would have been the main bet on good or softer ground as he is a class animal on such a surface, I am already looking forward to possibly backing him in the Cambridgeshire later in the year,  having finished mid-division last term. However, his chance is compromised by a fast surface and he could even be withdrawn.

The Sir Michael Stoute-trained runner JUST FINE is one of only a handful in the field that remains unexposed. His victory off a mark of 89 in a Class 3 handicap at Sandown last year showed what he is capable of and pointedly it was the only race he ran in last term where there was a solid end-to-end gallop.

The maestro trainer has tried to stretch him out over 1m 4f this season, but it simply hasn’t worked and this extended 10 furlongs combined with the long stretch at York and likely pace, should be his optimum set-up. Of the remainder of the field I also like the look of First View and Intellogent.

Paul Jacob’s Saturday Tips

14:25 Ascot – Inverness
15:50 Newmarket – Bless Him
16:05 York – Just Fine

*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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