Tim Easterby looks poised to land the big sprint handicap double with Body and Soul at York (3.50) and Hamish McGonagall at Musselburgh (3.35)
The Yorkshire trainer seems set for a good afternoon with the well fancied Body and Soul holding excellent claims in the MacMillan Charity Sprint Trophy (3.50) at York and Hamish McGonagall having the class to beat his rivals in the William Hill Scottish Sprint Cup (3.35) at Musselburgh. Body and Soul faired well in her come back run and we go better again today. Her strongest opposition may come in the form of the Mark Johnston’s Heavy Metal who did not disgrace himself against older rivals last weekend at Newmarket. The four time course and distance winner Hamish McGonagall has been racing in quality fields this season and returns to handicapping this afternoon at Musselburgh. At his beloved track he is sure to shine, but punters should be aware of the potential threat posed by the probable favourites Barnet Fair and Kingsgate Choice.
Beyond the sprints Easterby goes for a third win in a row with Crackentorp in the Queen Mother’s Cup (2.05). The York specialist will be partnered by the same jockey who has ridden him to victory in the last two renewals and has an outstanding chance again today.
Good and competitive cards at York, Sandown, Bath and Musselburgh make this afternoon an excellent prelude to Royal Ascot next week.
Crockford’s Dead Cert – Vermont (4.35 Sandown)
With the withdrawal of Lady Cecil’s Al Guwair the path seems clear for this Wilderstein newcomer. Former champion Keiron Fallon will guide this Cumani horse back into the winners enclosure.
Crockford’s Whisper – Crackentorp e/w (2.05 York)
Twice the winner of this race and third back in 2010. The whisper is almost a shout that he has been aimed for victory in this race again. With Miss J Coward up (his partner in previous victories) expect another big run from this Easterby horse.
Archer’s Selection – Hamish McGonagall e/w (3.35 Musselburgh)
Archer would have been attracted by this top weight’s love of the course and by his sheer quality. He would not have been perturbed by his recent form figures knowing that they were from races which contained much stronger rivals. Archer would have been up on this Easterby horse.
Crockford’s gambles around the courses this afternoon:
York – Crackentorp e/w (2.05), Westwiththenight (2.40), Baltic Knight (3.15), Body and Soul e/w and Heavy Metal e/w (3.50) and Polar Venture (5.20)
Sandown – Gaul Wood e/w (2.20), Normal Equilibrium e/w (2.55), Beautiful View e/w (4.05) and Vermont (4.35)
Musselburgh – Lost In Paris (1.55), Orton Park (2.25), Montaff e/w (3.00), Hamish McGonagall e/w and Barnet Fair e/w (3.35) and Beacon Lodge e/w (4.10)
Bath – Scooping e/w (2.30), Lilbourne Lass (3.05), Acapulco Bay (3.40) and Cane Cat (4.45)
(Featured Photograph – Gallops at Newmarket by Stuart Rice)