Saturday's Horse Racing Tips: Tom Collins has two selections worth following

7 June 2024

Quite frankly, this weekend’s domestic action is verging on abysmal for the time of year and therefore pinpointing good bets on less-than-predictable horses is a pretty tough task.

The Group 3 John Of Gaunt Stakes (3.35) at Haydock is the featured event and it has attracted an extremely competitive field with SBK traders putting in favourite Noble Dynasty at an incredible 6/1. Very rarely do you get such a tepid jolly in a race like this.

You can obviously make a case for the majority of the field and there’s plenty of each-way value to be had, but I’m just not convinced enough by any of these horses to actually have a wager. If forced, Flight Plan would be my idea of the best bet at around 8/1 providing he bounces back from his Lockinge defeat.

Instead, I will wait until the 7f handicap (4.10 Haydock) slightly later on the card for my first bet. Races in this 0-78 bracket are usually filled with pretty exposed types, even in three-year-old-only affairs, but there are four last-time-out winners in this field along with a couple of others who look fairly well handicapped. 

Silver Trumpet is sure to be popular as he bids for her fourth win of the year and I have nothing against him really, aside from his career-high mark. The same can’t be said for Ezra Cee, though, as I thought he was pretty reluctant out in front last time at Windsor in a weak event. Tennessee Gold could easily take a step forward but he’s yet to prove his ability to handle turf.

All that considered, I want to bet the William Haggas-trained Shy Hi Bye. This filly looked all at sea on her debut at Yarmouth last year, which I’m putting down to a mixture of inexperience and the testing ground, before posting a much more encouraging performance at Newcastle behind Filly One. That rival has won her only start since, maintaining her unbeaten record in the process, and has therefore boosted the form. 

Shy Hi Bye was given the winter off and returned to the track last month, where she was well-backed into odds-on favouritism in a four-runner race at Ayr. Rider Kevin Stott decided to take a lead behind her main market protagonist, Mutamanni, which probably wasn’t the best call as they relatively dawdled in the early stages over six furlongs.

That allowed Mutamanni to kick off the front and make Shy Hi Bye’s task infinitely tougher, yet she still managed to overhaul the Shadwell-owned horse in the final few strides. I think she’s worth far more than the winning margin suggests there and an opening mark of 77 seems fair. With Haggas’ horses starting to find form, Shy Hi Bye must have a good chance of following up.

I will head over to Beverley for my only other UK bet - plenty of Saratoga plays are lined up in the evening - which is Walter Hartright in the 1m4f handicap (4.25) for trainer Ed Dunlop and rider David Egan.

This son of Saxon Warrior was sold out of Joseph O’Brien’s yard for 26,000gns after failing to get involved on his first two outings against pretty strong opposition. Dunlop gave him a quick spin around Southwell before putting him away for the year with handicaps in mind this term.

It has been a touch disappointing that he’s yet to get his head in front after three runs this term, but I thought he shaped with fair promise behind Arch Legend and Cock And Bull on his penultimate run at Windsor and he probably raced too far back in a slowly run affair here last time out.

The first three home in that race, which include the reopposing Miss Gitana and Rogue King, were all up on the speed while Walter Hartright raced in mid-division. It turned into a sprint and, given the selection isn’t exactly blessed with sharp acceleration, he was always on the backfoot.

Blinkers replace the visor here and he’s better at the weights with his two aforementioned foes. Providing they go faster early on - they should do with Amasar in the field - then he can use his stamina to pounce late.

Saturday’s Horse Racing Tips

Shy Hi Bye (4.10 Haydock) @ 9/2
Walter Hartright (4.25 Beverley) @ 8/1

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