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Botti eyes Sandown return for Atalis Bay

Atalis Bay is on target to return to Sandown for the Coral Charge next week.

Marco Botti’s sprinter continued his progression with an all-the-way win in the Scurry Stakes at the Esher venue last time out.

That came on the back of a creditable run at York when second to Tim Easterby’s speedy filly Winter Power, who ran so well for a long way in the King’s Stand last week.

“The Coral Charge is what we are aiming for on Saturday week,” said Botti.

“He has come out of the race in great form, and ground permitting – because he wants good ground – the plan will be to go back to Sandown.

“It makes sense to go back to Sandown as long as the ground is fine. We know he is going up in class, so he will have to give a little more extra, but he is clearly improving and going the right way and he has done nothing wrong in three runs this year.

“It was an ideal spot for him last time. He showed plenty of toe from the gate -and when he got to the furlong pole and they challenged him, he picked up and found an extra gear.”

Stablemate Felix finished sixth in the Wolferton Stakes at Ascot last week – a performance Botti admitted left him feeling slightly disappointed – and he will be given time to get over those exertions. Before that, he had been third to Lord North in the Dubai Turf.

“We are maybe considering Sandown (Gala Stakes) for Felix, but I would probably say I’m more inclined to go to Newbury for the Listed race there on July 17 because it gives him a little bit more time between his races,” said the Newmarket trainer.

“I was expecting a little bit more at Ascot – but having said that, he ran his race. The ground was plenty quick enough, and maybe it was just a little bit too quick.”

Atalis Bay justifies Marco Botti’s decision to skip Ascot

Atalis Bay was a convincing winner of the Listed Coral “Beaten By A Length” Free Bet Scurry Stakes at Sandown.

Andrea Atzeni had Marco Botti’s sprinter prominent throughout – and after taking control mid-race, the 6-4 favourite never appeared under any real threat despite Warrior Brave emerging from the pack.

Atalis Bay had enough under his sleeve to win by three-quarters of a length.

The Cable Bay colt was providing a pointer to the Royal Ascot pretensions of Winter Power – who beat him into second in York’s Westow Stakes last month – as well as signalling his own potential as a progressive three-year-old.

Newmarket trainer Botti chose to target this weekend feature race rather than pitch Atalis Bay into Royal Ascot – and the winner duly justified his judgment.

Runner-up Warrior Brave was among his closest pursuers throughout, but could never peg him back – with Irish challenger Steel Bull staying on best of the remainder to finish third, another two and a half lengths back.

The Newmarket trainer said of his winner: “He has got tons of speed. He has got faster and faster since he was a two-year-old

“He pinged the stalls, and Andrea said he was two lengths clear. He said he was trying not to go too quick.

“I thought in the last furlong, when the other horses came to challenge him, he picked up again and ran strongly to the line.

“This is his trip – five furlongs on fast ground. He just keeps improving. Last year he was a nice horse – but not at this level – and this year, I just think he has got stronger and turned into a proper sprinter.”

After a first success at Listed level for Atalis Bay, Botti is understandably happy to have sidestepped Ascot – and is looking forward to a rise in class next, with a possible return to Sandown for next month’s Group Three Coral Charge.

He added: “We could have gone for at Royal Ascot – but he is rated 103, and you are going to give away plenty of weight in a big field.

“So we thought this would suit him quite well as long as the ground was going to be good – and it has worked out well.”

As for the next move, he said: “There are two options.

“There is a Group Three here at the beginning of July. He obviously has to take on the older horses now, or perhaps we go to Goodwood (King George Stakes) and take that route.

“He will have to improve again, taking on the older horses, but he seems to be going that way.

“There would be enough time to take in both races, but he is a horse that likes being freshened up after a run.

“We will see how he comes out it and keep an eye on the ground – but it is good to have options.”

Scurry fits bill for Atalis Bay

Marco Botti is hoping Atalis Bay can vindicate the decision to bypass Royal Ascot in favour of the Coral “Beaten By A Length ” Free Bet Scurry Stakes at Sandown.

A winner of four of his eight races to date, Atalis Bay struggled to keep tabs on Tim Easterby’s impressive Winter Power at York last time out – but given she is among the leading fancies for the King’s Stand, there was no disgrace in that.

He beat the rest comfortably enough, and Botti feels he will be better off in Saturday’s Listed race than giving away weight in a handicap next week.

“He seems well – we’re coming here instead of Royal Ascot, and he seems in good order,” said the Newmarket trainer.

“I think he just bumped into a very good filly at York – but he pulled away from the rest of the field, so I thought that was a good run.

“He’s a stronger horse this year and has definitely progressed since last season – he’s turned into a proper sprinter now, which sometimes happens as they get older.

“Drawn in four is not a problem. It’s a small field, and he’s in the middle, so that is fine.

“He won over six (furlongs) last season – but at the level he’s at now, I think five is right for him. It was a lower class race he won over six – and Andrea (Atzeni), who knows him well, said he’s almost having to hold on to him over six, whereas over five he can use his speed.

“This race is perfect for three-year-olds who need five furlongs. The option at Ascot for him was the Palace of Holyrood House – but that would be a big field handicap, and he’d be almost top weight, he’d likely be giving weight to some nice horses.

“So, we thought we’d keep it simple and stick to what we know.”

There are two Irish contenders lining up – including Michael O’Callaghan’s Steel Bull, who won the Molecomb Stakes at Goodwood last summer but has not scored since.

He was beaten a long way by Ireland’s new sprint star Logo Hunter first time out this year.

O’Callaghan said: “He needed his first run of the season. It was his first start against older horses, and the ground wasn’t ideal, but he has come out of the race well.

Steel Bull was a winner at Glorious Goodwood
Steel Bull was a winner at Glorious Goodwood (Steven Cargill/PA)

“Back over a fast five furlongs in England will suit him. He has a lot of natural speed – and the way he has to be ridden and held up, the draw might actually suit him.

“It is tough for three-year-old sprinters. We will just feel our way through this year, because I think he will develop into a really good sprinter.”

Kevin Coleman’s Queens Carriage, winner of her last three, has also made the journey from Ireland.

Mick Appleby’s Warrior Brave has won two of his last three, but this could be his swansong in the colours of current owners The Horsewatchers.

Appleby said: “He is possibly going to go in the London Sale (staged online by Goffs on Monday) after this if he runs well, and if he doesn’t he probably won’t and we might save him for the Wokingham, but the owners have lots of options.

“He did it well at Goodwood and he is progressing well, but this is his toughest race. He has run at five (furlongs) the last two times, but I think six is more his ideal trip.”

Range of options open for Felix after fine Dubai Turf effort

Felix could do more globetrotting in search of the good prize-money after picking up £291,000 for finishing third in the Dubai Turf at Meydan on Saturday.

Connections made the bold bid of accepting an invitation for the Group One over nine furlongs rather than go for the all-weather middle-distance championship final at Lingfield on Good Friday.

They were rewarded as Felix took minor honours behind Lord North, in what was a rare outing on turf for the Lope De Vega gelding.

“It was brilliant. We were thrilled with that performance. It was a brave decision from the owner,” said Botti.

“When he finished second in the Winter Derby the next day we got an invitation and he said he could be unlucky in the all-weather final so we should take it and it paid off.

“He ran a fantastic race. He had a wide draw, but Oisin (Murphy) dropped him in and he finished really strongly.

“It opens up more options for the future. Until yesterday, we campaigned the horse on the all-weather. That’s the way it panned out, but after Saturday knowing he handled the turf so well it opens up more options for the future.

“Talking to Mr Sohi, we decided it is probably sensible to bring him back to England and give him a bit of a break, freshen him up and regroup in a month’s time and see where we go next. He deserves a holiday.

“After picking up decent prize-money he deserves to have an easy time.”

He added: “He’s a gelding so those international races are very good prize-money and it makes sense to target them. We’re not ruling out running him here, but being a gelding it makes sense to go for big pots.”

Varian seeks winning performance from Father Of Jazz

Father Of Jazz bids to continue his steep upward curve in the Betway Winter Derby at Lingfield.

Runner-up on his only start on turf for Michael Bell last summer, the Kingman colt has since rattled off a hat-trick of all-weather wins after joining Roger Varian.

The four-year-old made a mockery of an opening handicap mark of 90 when slamming his rivals by upwards of four and a half lengths over the course and distance three weeks ago – and Varian is looking forward to testing his powers at Group Three level on Saturday.

He said: “Father Of Jazz is a nice, progressive horse who is rated 101 now – and in my opinion it does not look like he would be out of place in a race like this.

“He obviously lacks a bit of experience compared to the opposition, but I don’t think he lacks the quality.”

Chief among Father Of Jazz’s rivals is the Marco Botti-trained Felix, who will be ridden by Hollie Doyle.

The son of Lope De Vega made a successful return from 10 months off the track when narrowly denying the high-class Bangkok at Wolverhampton in January, before the latter reversed the form with a half-length verdict in Lingfield’s Winter Derby Trial three weeks ago.

Marco Botti has high hopes for Felix
Marco Botti has high hopes for Felix (Simon Cooper/PA)

Botti said: “There are only five runners, but there are some good horses in the race.

“We have been pleased with our horse, and he seems in good form since he ran in the Winter Derby Trial.

“He’s a stronger horse this year than in the past. We’ve got Hollie Doyle back on. Richard (Kingscote) didn’t do anything wrong in the Winter Derby Trial, but Hollie has won on the horse twice and knows him well, so it’s probably a sensible decision to let her ride again.

“You never know with five runners whether it’s going to be a tactical race or not, but we’ll see how it pans out.

“We have to respect the field and we’re just hoping for a bit of luck.”

With trainer Andrew Balding electing to run the aforementioned Bangkok in last weekend’s Saudi Cup, in which he picked up huge prize-money for finishing eighth, the Kingsclere handler relies on Johnny Drama in the Lingfield feature.

The latter won four successive races in the space of a month late last year, before finishing fifth in the Quebec Stakes at Lingfield over a mile and a quarter in December.

“He’s in great shape, and the question mark is whether Lingfield is his preferred track,” said Balding.

“He probably wasn’t at his best there the last time, but he had had a busy time and has had a little freshen up since.

“The horse is ready to go, so we’ll find out once and for all.”

Forest Of Dean represents John Gosden
Forest Of Dean represents John Gosden (Mark Kerton/PA)

John Gosden’s Forest Of Dean was just behind Felix at both Wolverhampton and Lingfield and is again in opposition, while Hugo Palmer’s outsider Power Of States completes the quintet.

Moss Gill aims to earn himself a trip to sunnier climes with a comeback victory in the Betway Hever Sprint Stakes.

The five-year-old ran an excellent race to finish third in the Group One Nunthorpe at York last summer, and already has a return to the Knavesmire pencilled in as a long-term objective.

However, trainer Ed Bethell – who took over the licence from his father James at the turn of the year – is first eyeing a tilt at the Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan, providing his stable star can prove his well-being this weekend.

Bethell said: “Moss Gill had a nice winter break and is just ready to start back, with a view to some bigger targets later in the year.

“He has an invitation for the Al Quoz Sprint on Dubai World Cup Night. If he wins on Saturday, he probably warrants his place in Dubai – whereas, if he doesn’t, at least we haven’t wasted a trip.

“He’s the highest-rated horse in the race, which I thought was going to be the case before the entries came out.

“There are a couple of horses in there that look a little frightening, (but) we’ve got our horse going there in great form – and I’m really excited about running him.

Moss Gill (centre) runs in the Hever Sprint Stakes
Moss Gill (centre) runs in the Hever Sprint Stakes (Dan Abraham/PA)

“It’s very much a starting point. Like all the horses I’ve run since the start of January, they have all needed their first run – and I would imagine he’ll be the same.”

He added: “The step up in trip would not overly concern me, because he does have form over six furlongs – he was just beaten in a big three-year-old handicap at the July Festival a few years ago, and he seemed to stay well that day.

“I am very fortunate to have a horse like him in my first season. (Owner) Mr Van Cutsem has been kind to keep the horse with us.”

Lord Riddiford steps up from handicap company to a Pattern race, but John Quinn’s sprinter usually breaks well and has the advantage of being drawn on the inside in stall one.

Lord Riddiford looks to be drawn well in stall one (
Lord Riddiford looks to be drawn well in stall one (Tim Goode/PA)

“He’s been in very good form this winter and we’re very happy with him. Obviously it’s another step up, but he’s a contender,” said the Malton handler.

“He’s in stall one, we’re hoping for a good run and hope he wins.”

There could be plenty of pace on early as another speedy horse, Ornate, is next door in stall two.

David Griffiths’ stable stalwart makes a quick reappearance after finishing fourth of five in a handicap at Southwell on Wednesday.

David Griffiths, trainer of Ornate (Mike Egerton/PA)
David Griffiths, trainer of Ornate (Mike Egerton/PA)

“The track was very deep the other day and it didn’t suit him, but he’s come out of the race good,” said the Bawtry trainer.

“He’s got a good draw at Lingfield. He got beat a nose there a couple of runs back.

“On his day, Ornate is a very good horse. He’s in good order with himself and hopefully we can have a good go at it.”

The other hopefuls are Robert Cowell’s pair of Blue De Vega and Rocket Action and Royal Birth and Belle Anglaise, who both hail from Stuart Williams’ yard.

Stat of the Day, 20th July 2020

Saturday's pick was...

4.20 Haydock : Zlatan @ 11/2 BOG 4th at 11/2 (Chased leaders, not much room over 2f out, soon switched left, ridden over 1f out, beaten 4th final furlong, one pace)

Monday's pick runs in the...

8.30 Windsor :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Currently, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.30am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour or so of going "live".

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Lady De Vega @ 5/1 BOG

...in an 11-runner, Class 6, Flat handicap for 3yo over 1m3½f on Good to Firm ground worth £2,782 to the winner...

Why?...

We start with the race card snippet...

A winner on her turf/handicap/class debut LTO 25 days ago, winning relatively comfortably despite a stumble at the start and having to switch outside late on after being boxed in. She'll come on for the experience, as will her rider who was on board for the first time that day.

I don't often hang an SotD selection on a jockey, but I've got it in my head that this Italian apprentice, Stefano Cherchi, could turn out to be something a bit special. He's in great form right now, as seen above, but this is no purple patch, he has been profitable to follow for some while now. In fact, if you go back to the start of April 2019, his record stands at...

...excellent numbers that translate well into today's type of contest, as they include...

  • 21/131 (16%) for 159.11pts (+121.5%) at class 5 or below
  • 21/103 (20.4%) for 60.96pts (+59.2%) at 12/1 or shorter
  • 19/111 (17.1%) for 164.72pts (+148.4%) in races worth less than £4k
  • 15/101 (14.9%) for 158.14pts (+156.6%) for trainer Marco Botti (this is the key for me)
  • 14/77 (18.2%) for 167.23pts (+217.2%) on runners last seen 6-25 days earlier
  • 13/80 (16.25%) for 156.7pts (+195.9%) with 3 yr olds
  • 12/40 (30%) for 191.19pts (+478%) over trips of 1m2f to 1m4f
  • 9/45 (20%) for 27.98pts (+62.2%) on the Flat
  • 6/21 (28.6%) for 25.16pts (+119.8%) on Good to Firm ground
  • and 4/15 (26.7%) for 9.05pts (+60.3%) on LTO winners

I said earlier that trainer Marco Botti was key to Stefano Cherchi's successful start to his career here in the UK and with Marco providing around 65% of the jockey's winners/runners, we should look at their partnership a little closer, using some of the details I've already logged...

...ie Botti + Cherchi + Class 5-7 + 12/1 max SP + £0-4k prize money = 11/44 (25% SR) for 40.09pts (+91.1% ROI), including...

  • 8/32 (25%) for 38.43pts (+120.1%) with 3 yr olds
  • 7/24 (29.2%) for 32.7pts (+136.3%) within 25 days of their last run
  • and 7/16 (43.75%) for 44.74pts (+279.6%) over 1m2f to 1m4f...

...whilst Botti + Cherchi + Class 5-7 + 12/1 max SP + £0-4k prize money + 3yr olds + 1-25 dslr + 1m2f to 1m4f = 4/10 (40% SR) for 29.36pts (+293.6% ROI)...

...giving us...a 1pt win bet on Lady De Vega @ 5/1 BOG as was widely available at 8.00am Monday with bigger offered in places, but as always please check your BOG status (*some go BOG later)To see a small sample of odds offered on this race...

...click here for the betting on the 8.30 Windsor

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!

P.P.S. Please note I'm off to Greece on Monday lunchtime (20/07) for two weeks to look at some hotels for my travel agency business and get some R&R, so whilst I'll still be posting each day (except 21/07 & 04/08 when cover has been arranged), the timings may well be different.

Stat of the Day, 20th July 2020

Saturday's pick was...

4.20 Haydock : Zlatan @ 11/2 BOG 4th at 11/2 (Chased leaders, not much room over 2f out, soon switched left, ridden over 1f out, beaten 4th final furlong, one pace)

Monday's pick runs in the...

8.30 Windsor :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Currently, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.30am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour or so of going "live".

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Lady De Vega @ 5/1 BOG

...in an 11-runner, Class 6, Flat handicap for 3yo over 1m3½f on Good to Firm ground worth £2,782 to the winner...

Why?...

We start with the race card snippet...

A winner on her turf/handicap/class debut LTO 25 days ago, winning relatively comfortably despite a stumble at the start and having to switch outside late on after being boxed in. She'll come on for the experience, as will her rider who was on board for the first time that day.

I don't often hang an SotD selection on a jockey, but I've got it in my head that this Italian apprentice, Stefano Cherchi, could turn out to be something a bit special. He's in great form right now, as seen above, but this is no purple patch, he has been profitable to follow for some while now. In fact, if you go back to the start of April 2019, his record stands at...

...excellent numbers that translate well into today's type of contest, as they include...

  • 21/131 (16%) for 159.11pts (+121.5%) at class 5 or below
  • 21/103 (20.4%) for 60.96pts (+59.2%) at 12/1 or shorter
  • 19/111 (17.1%) for 164.72pts (+148.4%) in races worth less than £4k
  • 15/101 (14.9%) for 158.14pts (+156.6%) for trainer Marco Botti (this is the key for me)
  • 14/77 (18.2%) for 167.23pts (+217.2%) on runners last seen 6-25 days earlier
  • 13/80 (16.25%) for 156.7pts (+195.9%) with 3 yr olds
  • 12/40 (30%) for 191.19pts (+478%) over trips of 1m2f to 1m4f
  • 9/45 (20%) for 27.98pts (+62.2%) on the Flat
  • 6/21 (28.6%) for 25.16pts (+119.8%) on Good to Firm ground
  • and 4/15 (26.7%) for 9.05pts (+60.3%) on LTO winners

I said earlier that trainer Marco Botti was key to Stefano Cherchi's successful start to his career here in the UK and with Marco providing around 65% of the jockey's winners/runners, we should look at their partnership a little closer, using some of the details I've already logged...

...ie Botti + Cherchi + Class 5-7 + 12/1 max SP + £0-4k prize money = 11/44 (25% SR) for 40.09pts (+91.1% ROI), including...

  • 8/32 (25%) for 38.43pts (+120.1%) with 3 yr olds
  • 7/24 (29.2%) for 32.7pts (+136.3%) within 25 days of their last run
  • and 7/16 (43.75%) for 44.74pts (+279.6%) over 1m2f to 1m4f...

...whilst Botti + Cherchi + Class 5-7 + 12/1 max SP + £0-4k prize money + 3yr olds + 1-25 dslr + 1m2f to 1m4f = 4/10 (40% SR) for 29.36pts (+293.6% ROI)...

...giving us...a 1pt win bet on Lady De Vega @ 5/1 BOG as was widely available at 8.00am Monday with bigger offered in places, but as always please check your BOG status (*some go BOG later)To see a small sample of odds offered on this race...

...click here for the betting on the 8.30 Windsor

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!

P.P.S. Please note I'm off to Greece on Monday lunchtime (20/07) for two weeks to look at some hotels for my travel agency business and get some R&R, so whilst I'll still be posting each day (except 21/07 & 04/08 when cover has been arranged), the timings may well be different.