Slade Power ticks right boxes to complete sprint double
Betting Ring with Wayne Bailey
At Royal Ascot, the Edward Lynam-trained Slade Power did this column a good turn when winning the Diamond Jubilee at 7/2 and the victory completed a fantastic sprint double for Lynam, with Sole Power taking the King's Stand earlier on that week.
Slade Power's win confirmed that he's one of the best sprinters we've seen in recent years and I've been looking forward to backing him again, provided the price is right.
Both horses are entered in this afternoon's Group One July Cup (3.50, Newmarket), although Sole Power – if he does line up – may struggle in the going which is expected to be on the softer side of good.
When one of your favourite horses is running, the temptation is always there to back it regardless of price, but that's a dangerous trap to fall into and every horse must be analysed independent of how much you have won or lost on it before.
Having priced up the July Cup as impartially as possible, I had Slade Power down as a 2/1 shot, so I was pleasantly surprised to see 5/2 being offered in the early markets yesterday evening.
Previous bets aside, that's good value in my book.
I'm confident he can follow in the footsteps of last year's winner Lethal Force by completing the Diamond Jubilee/July Cup double.
Always close to a strong pace at Ascot, Slade Power hit the front furlong from home and remained in control, although he did hang to the left a little late on which is a slight concern.
But the fact that they split into two groups was never going to be ideal and he deserves much credit for holding on for the win after the way the race developed.
The runner-up, Due Diligence, trades as high as 8/1 and Aidan O'Brien's progressive colt is the one most likely to give the selection trouble again today.
Due Diligence didn't get the clearest of runs in the Diamond Jubilee and it will be interesting to see if Joseph O'Brien gives him a different type of ride to Ryan Moore, although he did seem suited to the pace, so I don't expect a whole lot will change.
Due Diligence is beginning to come into his own and should be thereabouts, but I doubt he'll improve enough to reverse the placings this afternoon.
Noozhoh Canarias and Aljamaaheer are also likely to feature, but Slade Power, which is reported to be in great form at home, ticks the right boxes and should take all the beating.
At Ascot, Tullius is the pick of the bunch in the Group Two Summer Mile Stakes (2.30), priced 7/2.
A Group Two win in the Bet365 Mile at Sandown back in April means the six-year-old will be conceding weight all round, but he's posted some good efforts in Group One company since and should still have something in hand despite the penalty.
CLEVER Cookie won the Grade Two Kelso Hurdle in March for trainer Peter Niven, but the gelding has been a revelation since switched to the flat, winning three from three, including a dead-heat with Ralston Road in a 12-runner Listed race last time out.
The handicapper has him running off a mark of 107 in today's John Smith's Cup (2.55, York).
But I've a feeling there's more to come from the six-year-old in this sphere and the drop back down to 1m2f is a plus. While a bit of rain would be welcome, he can be taken each way at 8/1 to get the better of likely favourite Bold Sniper.
2.30 Ascot: Tullius
2.40 Newmarket: Gleneagles
2.55 York: Clever Cookie (e/w)
3.50 Newmarket: Slade Power
5.55 Salisbury: Be Bold
Do the double
Although Germany's demolition job on Brazil was spectacular, we must remember that it was a combination of the host nation's collapse alongside an efficient German performance which made such a freak scoreline possible.
The World Cup final betting suggests people are getting carried away over that one game and Germany are poor value at 13/10 to win in 90 minutes against an Argentina side which has a solid defence. Go for the draw at 9/4.
The Richard Hannon-trained Be Bold showed some promise in his first two starts in maidens, and then improved quite a bit to get off the mark at Chepstow back in May.
While his latest race wasn't the strongest contest in the world, it was clear that his previous two outings had done him good in terms of experience and when Pat Dobbs asked him to move, he kicked on with the minimum of fuss.
At 13/8, he can claim his second career victory in the Edward Mills 40th Birthday Novice Auction Stakes at Salisbury (5.55).