Horse Betting: UK weekend racing preview
If overlooking a poor recent effort, the Dandy Nicholls-trained Nasri, third in this race last year, looks to have an excellent chance of going two places better.
Timeform covers a weekend of UK horse racing, featuring the Victoria Cup at Ascot on Saturday.
The highly competitive Victoria Cup is the standout race on Ascot's card, with 24 runners going to post for the seven furlong contest. If overlooking a poor recent effort, the Dandy Nicholls-trained Nasri, third in this race last year, looks to have an excellent chance of going two places better. 2011 winner Hawkeyethenoo is likely to be in the mix once more, whilst fellow course-and-distance scorer Pastoral Player and Tariq Too, who may have more to offer for his new yard, also enter calculations.
The Swinton Hurdle at Haydock is yet another competitive event for punters to negotiate, with 20 horses looking to land the two mile prize. Red Merlin, Charm School and Petit Robin all re-oppose, having contested the Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr last month, whilst Imperial Cup winner Paintball also features. Dream Esteem, Conquisto and Ubi Ace are just a few others who may be capable of getting involved.
Haydock's six furlong conditions race pitches together two former Haydock Sprint Cup winners in Markab and Regal Parade. However, the suspicion is that Ayr Gold Cup winner Our Jonathan may get the better of both of them, given that he ran well on his reappearance last season (third in a decent Doncaster handicap).
The seven furlong listed event may contain a horse to follow for the remainder of the season in the William Haggas-trained Firebeam, who progressed well last season when winning three of his six starts. He almost certainly has yet more to offer, and may get the better of former Group 2 winner Red Jazz and the David O'Meara-trained Smarty Socks.
Lingfield has been forced to switch its trials meeting to the polytrack due to the prevailing weather conditions, but they may still prove informative. The Oaks Trial contains a whole host of progressive fillies, with Vow, who created a very positive impression on debut at Newbury, taken to come out on top. Apothecary is still open to further progress, whilst Colima represents Ralph Beckett, who ran Look Here in this contest before that filly went on to win the 2008 Oaks.
Main Sequence looks to have a solid chance of maintaining his unbeaten sequence in the Derby Trial, despite stepping up from handicaps to this Group 3, as the David Lanigan-trained colt looks the type to continue improving. Goldoni and Ed de Gas also look leading contenders, whilst you couldn't discount Shantaram despite him failing to win either of his two starts to date.
A quick mention has to go to World Domination at Lingfield which has always been held in the highest regard by his connections. A number of Group 1 entries suggest that they retain they faith, and he can get his career back on track here.
Three cards in Britain on Sunday, at Plumpton, Uttoxeter and Worcester, offer nothing of any real note, but Leopardstown host a number of interesting races. The Group 2 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial features the Aidan O'Brien-trained Wrote, last seen when finishing third to stablemate Daddy Long Legs in the UAE Derby at Meydan. His impressive win in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf last season is still fresh in the mind, and he looks to have solid claims here.
His main rival is likely to be Timeform Horse in Focus Light Heavy, a winner of the Ballysax Stakes on his latest start. He is expected to improve further for this step up in trip, and may well be up to progressing beyond Wrote.
Ten fillies go to post for the Irish 1000 Guineas Trial, with Coral Wave and Remember Alexander looking to be the main protagonists on current form. However, Duntle and Alla Speranza, seemingly less exposed than the aforementioned pair, both have the Timeform 'p' attached to their ratings, and may be up to landing this Group 3.