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Around The Grounds – Four Runners To Note This Saturday

There are seven meetings spread across Britain and Ireland on Saturday and with plenty of competitive action for punters to look forward to, our expert editor has delved into the cards/entries and has highlighted four runners who have caught their eye this weekend. Check out their thoughts on each of the five runners below, alongside an exclusive new customer promotion courtesy of William Hill, who are offering £30 in Free Bets.

Sezaam – 14:20 York (William Hill Bet Boost Handicap, 7f)

A wide-open twenty runner handicap doesn’t often fill punters with huge confidence when trying to pinpoint a winner, however, it could be worth forgiving SEZAAM for his latest effort at Beverley on his seasonal reappearance and a better effort from the three-year-old would come as no surprise this weekend.

Prior to his seasonal comeback, Sezaam had performed well in three outings last season as a juvenile in novice company, showing clear signs of promise on his debut on the Knavesmire before going on to score at the second time of asking at Redcar over six furlongs. Returning to that aforementioned track just ten days later, Sezaam ran extremely well under a penalty to finish third and was only beaten half a length at the line.  

Well supported ahead of his handicap debut at Beverley over seven furlongs last month, Michael Dods’ charge raced extremely keenly from an early stage and never looked like playing a role in the finish as he gradually faded on the climb to the winning post. 

The three-year-old should strip fitter following his recent return to action and while his draw could have been kinder this weekend, he rates the type to improve markedly this campaign for connections and is worth supporting at double-figure odds. 

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Charles St – 16:13 Musselburgh (Edinburgh Cup Handicap, 1m4f 104y)

Last time out winners Hilts and Nathanael Greene both command respect towards the top of the betting and whilst both runners could thrive over this longer trip, this won’t be an easy race to follow up in, especially given the level of opposition. CHARLES ST was highlighted as a runner to follow in our GG Stable Tour earlier this month and George Boughey’s lightly-raced charge looks the one to side with this weekend. 

Unraced as a two-year-old, Charles St made his belated debut at Lingfield at the start of the year over ten furlongs. Half a length second on that occasion, he soon confirmed the promise of his opening effort less than a week later, comfortably getting off the mark on the Tapeta surface at Wolverhampton over twelve furlongs. 

Unlucky to bump into a well-touted newcomer of Tom Ward’s when returned to that venue in April, George Boughey’s three-year-old faced a similar fate when switched to the turf for the first time at Doncaster later that month. Second to the well-bred colt Sea King on that occasion, Charles St lost little in defeat and still shaped with plenty of promise in behind Sir Mark Prescott’s progressive charge, finishing ahead of the much higher-rated Swoon on the run to the line. 

A half-brother to Mark Johnston’s former smart stayer Watersmeet, it will be disappointing if Charles St isn’t going close once more from his current mark of 79 and trainer George Boughey will be hoping the 774-mile round trip pays off this weekend. 

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Mashhoor – 16:30 Curragh (William Hill Handicap, 1m2f)

There was a lot to like about the run of MASHHOOR on his first outing on Irish soil last month at Cork and the former Shadwell owned four-year-old appears to be a smart acquisition to Johnny Murtagh’s County Kildare yard. 

Formerly housed with Sir Michael Stoute, the son of Kingman didn’t have many outings for previous connections but still showed a decent level of form in his handful of starts. Strong in the finish over a mile on his three-year-old debut at Nottingham, he defeated a host of subsequent winners including Roger Charlton’s progressive four-time winner Boltaway. Narrowly denied by a neck under a penalty on his following start at Chelmsford, he was unable to concede 11lb to Ralph Beckett’s highly promising filly Abstinence on that occasion, however, it was a mighty effort in defeat considering that winner is now rated 98. 

Although his form tailed off somewhat towards the end of his three-year-old campaign, Mashhoor certainly looked back to something like his best when keeping on well at Cork on his stable debut to finish fourth following 254 days off the track. Rated 87, Mashhoor will be expected to go close this weekend on his second run for new connections and this lightly-raced four-year-old is certainly worth a second look. 

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Plunkett – 17:35 Curragh (William Hill Best Odds Guaranteed Handicap, 1m)

After being campaigned at a variety of trips last season for connections, PLUNKETT belatedly got his head in front at the sixteenth time of asking when comfortably scoring off a mark of 64 in a handicap over a mile at Gowran Park last month. 

Upped 9lb for that runaway victory, the five-year-old looked certain to follow up just ten days later at Limerick under 7lb claimer Ciara Flynn. Travelling comfortably on the front end turning for home, Paul Flynn’s five-year-old looked to have the race in safekeeping, however, Plunkett’s inexperienced rider was unable to hold on as the winning post loomed and was ultimately passed on the run to the line by Dha Leath. 

Now rated 75, connections have wisely decided to put in-form rider Billy Lee back on board this weekend and despite Plunkett’s uninspiring strike rate, the five-year-old is clearly capable of going in again from his revised mark and it certainly seems that Paul Flynn’s charge has turned a corner this campaign. 

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