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The Mandarin’s Saturday Selections for 20th April 2024

The Mandarin’s Saturday Selections from Newbury Park, The Curragh & Ayr

Newbury Park

Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise Stakes (Group 3) 1.30
Hamish (nap)
William Haggas’s smart gelding really confirmed all the promise last year, winning all four starts on ground from good to heavy. Signing off the season with a win in the St Simon Stakes at Newmarket, ahead of the re-opposing Al Qareem, Hamish can serve it up to ante-post favourite, Arrest, the 2023 Chester Vase winner and St Leger second. A terrific duel in store between these three, but Hamish gets the vote ahead of Arrest, just

Dubai Duty Free Stakes (Group 3) (Fillies) 2.05
Relief Rally
The Fred Darling, as this race is better known, can go to William Haggas with Relief Rally. This Kodiac filly has only one blot on the copybook in five career starts, when a nose runner-up to Crimson Advocate in the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot last year. John & Thady Gosdens’ Regal Jubilee, a Frankel filly, has been exclusively raced over a mile, so could find this is bit sharp on her seasonal reappearance, while Relief Rally is stepping up to 7 furlongs for the first time. Relief Rally to take this new trip in her stride and land the spoils

Watership Down Stud Too Darn Hot Greenham Stakes (Group 3) (Colts & Geldings) 2.40
Zoum Zoum
It’s hard to ignore the appeal of Ralph Beckett’s unbeaten Zoustar gelding for the last of the Group 3’s on Newbury’s card. After taking a Novice Stakes at Newmarket on his second start, he landed a Listed race at Saint-Cloud on heavy ground, and starts this season off at Pattern level. The trainer obviously rates his chances, but Adrian Keatley’s Ballymount Boy will be there to pick up the pieces if Zoum Zoum is not fully revved up for this

The Curragh Alleged Stakes (Group 3) 3.55
White Birch (nb)
John Murphy’s grey has done plenty of racing on good ground, but does have form on heavy, so gets the nudge here. It’s going to be tough to keep up the pace on this ground, so Colin Keane can drop him in at the back from a wide draw in Stall 10, and use White Birch’s proven stamina at the business end of the race. Aidan O’Brien has his string in good order, so Greenland is likely to get plenty of support, but White Birch is a smart colt and the one to beat


Scotty Brand Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) 1.15
Uncle Phil
A big day ahead for Willie Mullins and he can get off to a winning start with Uncle Phil. Progressive through last year, this Walk In The Park gelding notched up a third win over fences at Fairyhouse back in January, and has been kept wrapped up since then. Making all in that Fairyhouse run, he was over 5 lengths ahead of our selection, Letsbeclearaboutit, and despite the hit from the Handicapper, still looks the one to follow here. Top weight Tommy’s Oscar is talented but prone to the odd mistake, so the front-running Sans Bruit rates the main threat

Coral Scottish Champion Hurdle (Limited Handicap) (Grade 2) 2.25
L’eau Du Sud
Dan Skelton took this race last year and can repeat the trick with L’eau Du Sud. The grey has been in fine form of late, runner-up to Iberico Lord in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury Park before filling the same position at the Cheltenham Festival in the County Hurdle. Every chance he can go one better here for the title-chasing Dan Skelton, with conditions to suit. Supreme Novices’ sixth Favour And Fortune is a decent rival, and should give L’eau Du Sud most to think about. Go close

Coral Scottish Grand National Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) 3.35
Git Maker
With Willie Mullins’s Closutton team sending out a small army for this valuable prize, there’s a good chance of another Grand National going back to Ireland, but Git Maker might spoil that party. With three wins and three runners-up spots from seven starts over fences, Jamie Snowden’s eight year old is still unexposed over this trip, and with a fine second to the classy Inothewayurthinkin in the Kim Muir at Cheltenham last month, has every chance of stepping up to the plate here. Macdermott and the prolific Anglers Crag shouldn’t be far away, but Git Maker lines up on a steal of a mark, so gets the tick

The Mandarin

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