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Matthew Sutcliffe’s Value Punts – Top Tips for Ascot, York and Newmarket on Saturday, 13th July

It’s one of the best day’s Flat racing on the calendar on Saturday as top quality action takes place on the level from Ascot, York and Newmarket. Our value tipster Matty Sutcliffe is back with his best bets for the top quality action, which also includes day three of the July Festival at HQ.

Published: 2.03pm, Thursday, 11th July (Prices correct at time of publishing)

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1:45pm Ascot -A1R Services Heritage Handicap (Class 2) (3yo+) – Badri 25/1 0.5pt EW 5 places 

The yard form of Julie Camacho has been substandard by all accounts this season, but she had a nice winner with Qaasid at Doncaster last week and has had several run close, so while it isn’t ideal, I won’t let it put me off entirely. 

BADRI, a son of Dark Angel has a respectable strike rate (9/38) for a seven-year-old, and made a solid start to life under Camacho when finishing seconding a 52K handicap at Newcastle last August, posting a career best RPR of 109. He went one better two starts later when matching that  RPR, winning a course and distance handicap at the back end of the year off a mark of 103. 

The fact he’s 7lbs lower than that mark is reflective of his subsequent form, but he shaped as if coming back to the boil when an eye-catching 7th at Epsom on Derby weekend. He was dropped right out the back by Hollie Doyle to near impossible winning position, taking a keen hold in first time cheekpieces. He looked like your archetypal Epsom hater, never really going with any fluency and it certainly didn’t help being taken up the camber on the bend for home while the rest were  acing downwards into the rail. He was out of the picture for the whole home straight, and one could only presume he’d tailed off, but he reappeared with a late rattle to stay on for a four length 7th, clocking the quickest final finishing percentage of the whole field. 

He was dropped 2lbs for that effort, and is now 4lbs below (1lbs factoring in claim) his second in this contest last year when beaten a length by The Big Board at 18/1, splitting an always prominent pair. Now he’s back on his last winning mark, this has likely to have been the plan and I’m glad they’ve taken the cheekpieces off as I think they switched him off too much.  

He’s suited to a track with a stiff finish having won at Beverley and Newcastle, so the return back  to Ascot will suit where his course record reads a 2nd and a 1st from two starts, both over five furlongs.

A1R Services Heritage Handicap

2:00 York John Smith’s Racing Handicap (Class 2) (3yo+ 0-105) – Telemark 7/1 2pt WIN 

TELEMARK was a good winner for us in a Sunday Series event at Thirsk last month, bouncing back from a disappointing effort at Newbury in April. The three-year-old son of Night Of Thunder overcame a pace bias given the 2nd, 3rd, 4th were always prominent and didn’t look like being reeled in, and he was the only winner on the whole card to win from a midfield position, so we can upgrade the run further. 

Given that came off top-weight, giving away 20lbs to second who’s form ties in with our 2pt winner in Blake last weekend, I thought a subsequent 5lbs rise to a mark of 97 was extremely lenient given the RPR of 106, and he can prove to be much better than that mark this Saturday. 

Bar the William Haggas-trained Elnajmm, he takes on a whole host of exposed handicappers and receives a handy 3yo allowance. York is a track that should play to his strengths as it’s similar to Thirsk in that you can fill up and settled on the bend, and those who aren’t travelling as well can often kick too early off the bend allowing those in behind to travel in their jockeys hands with fluency up the straight before making their move. He does have a tendency to be keen, but he overcame that with aplomb at Thirsk last time out and if those last two efforts have knocked any freshness out of him after a gelding operation allowing him to settle further, then I think he could be a runaway winner from a handy middle draw.

John Smith’s Racing Handicap

2:12 Newmarket Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa Fillies’ Handicap (Class 2) (3yo 0-100) Arisaig 10/1 1pt WIN 

The winners of this race in 2019, 2018, 2016, and 2014 were all previously beaten in the Sandringham at Royal Ascot last time out, which draws my attention to ARISAIG for the Charlie Johnston yard. Having tipped her up at 33/1 with seven places, you can imagine my shock when she was taken to the wrong side by Jamie Spencer, and lost two places late on to finish 8th having been steadily backed. 

I am happy to follow up on her however, as I thought it was quite a deep renewal of that contest and she fared much better than her finishing position suggested. She travelled strongly in rear under Spencer but was unsuited by that track position, finishing 3rd in her group of ten on the far side behind an always prominent pair including the well backed 5/1 Indelible, who was only beaten a length in the listed Coral Distaff last time out, with the Sandringham winner Soprano in third, backing up the suggestion of a quality Sandringham. 

Had Arisaig been drawn higher, I think she’d have been much closer but she should appreciate this smaller field here and I like the booking of Neil Callan, who’ll have her sat much handier. 

Her mark of 89 looks more than workable given she was three lengths behind the subsequent Britannia runner up Skukuza her on the Rowley Mile in May, and the four of her JRA Handicap 4th here in April has worked out well too with the winner now rated 14lbs higher. She’ll be suited to this drop back in trip on a stiff track, that can suited hold up fillies, given her record over the distance is 3/4 and is much respected for the yard who have farmed these meetings on the July  course over the years.

Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa Fillies’ Handicap

3:25 Newmarket bet365 Superlative Stakes (Group 2) (Class 1) (2yo) Pap’s Turf 33/1 0.5pt EW 3 places 

There looks to be a lack of pace in this coveted, but weak looking renewal of the Superlative Stakes and while Ancient Truth looks the obvious candidate for connections who’ve took four of the last ten renewals, the outsider PAP’S TURF can serve it up to him with a likely easy lead should they decide to make all again. 

The son of Shaman was an eye-catcher on debut at Ayr when travelling well in rear despite evident greenness, beaten four lengths and shaping very much like a step up in distance will suit.  The winner, Electrolyte, was only just touched off by a nose in the Coventry next time out at 40/1, a head above Columnist who’s in here as a 5/1 shot. Given those Wathnan pair are likely to have been primed for their first two efforts, Pap’s Turf shouldn’t have a lot to find with Columnist on that collateral form given he won’t have been as tuned up for that debut effort. 

Adrian Keatley stepped him up to a stiff seven furlongs at Beverly next time out where Mark Winn  bounced out and made all. He showed the benefit of experience from that first effort and galloped  strongly through the line in the manner of a smart juvenile. While that form isn’t good enough for a race of this nature, he’s evidently a progressive sort and Neil Callan could easily bounce out and grab an early lead on this field.  

By Shaman out of a Lawman mare, he’s bred to be suited by further in time which is no negative for a winner of the Superlative Stakes, and the soft ground will be no hindrance. 

bet365 Superlative Stakes (Group 2)

4:00 Newmarket bet365 Bunbury Cup (Heritage Handicap) (Class 2) (3yo+) Dark Thirty 20/1 1pt EW 5 places 

As one of two course and distance winners in the field, I thought DARK THIRTY was a remarkable price to add to that record this weekend with potential excuses for his last two efforts. He was unsuited by his track position in the Buckingham Palace Stakes last month finishing 3rd in his group of ten, and I’m not entirely convinced he’s suited to rattling fast ground either, with his top  five RPR’s coming on good or good-to-soft ground. Prior to that, he was disappointing at Epsom when potentially unsuited by the track as well as carrying over ten stone for the first time.

If he was coming off the back of his second two length second to Noble Dynasty on the Rowley Mile in May, then he’d be a 5/1 shot in here. We can upgrade that effort given he was unusually slowly away at the start and had to come from the rear in a race that favoured prominent runners as it often does on the Rowley Mile around that time of year, but the winner is now rated 10lbs higher having beaten Nostrum in a Group three here last time out, and he was only a neck behind English Oak giving him 6lbs who’s now rated 18lbs higher having bolted up twice since including the Buckingham Palace Stakes last time out. 

He should be much happier back at Newmarket now where his course record reads 323113, including a third over C&D in the G2 Superlative Stakes at this meeting and a C&D win off 5lbs lower last August.

bet365 Bunbury Cup (Heritage Handicap)
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