Dave Nevison: My Irish Derby fancy and Saturday horse racing tips

By Dave Nevison@nevisondave
Sat 25 Jun 2022

Our pundit and resident website tipster Dave Nevison shares his top tips for the Irish Derby, Northumberland Plate and more ahead of a busy Saturday. Enjoy a Classic card from the Curragh and quality action from Newmarket live on Racing TV.

3.45 Curragh: Westover

I put this one up as my each-way horse for the Derby at Epsom and should have had the first and second, but Westover still managed to stay on into third even though he got absolutely no run and the bet copped.

He was definitely the second best in the race and there are still some who believe with a clear run he might have won. I am not in that camp, but I believe Westover is a really straightforward 12f performer who will be suited by this much stiffer test than Epsom on a more conventional track.

I have massive sympathy for Rob Hornby who has been jocked off ahead of this Classic assignment, though it is no real surprise given the availability of Colin Keane.

1.50 Newcastle: Sound Reason

I am sticking with Sound Reason after he was heavily backed to win last time at Haydock.

He got up close home to win by a neck on that occasion but, watching the race, I was always pretty confident that he would get there. That said, he runs very much like he is ready to improve over six furlongs so I fully expect this race to suit and for him to be able to defy a 5lb rise.

Kevin Ryan had two winners on the Thursday of this meeting so has his string in good form.

2.55 Newcastle: Zealandia

We don’t know much about this ex-French gelding after one winning run in this country, but we know an awful lot about Ian Williams and his ability to train a stayer and based on Zealandia’s 33-1 success on British debut at York last time this could be another one.

Zealandia was stepped back up in trip for his first run in seven months and seemed very well suited by the strong pace of that high-class ladies’ race. He goes up another four furlongs here, which will probably suit based on pedigree and will definitely fit into the trainer’s playbook.

I feel Zealandia can improve more than the 5lbs he has been raised for staying on well to win last time.

3.30 Newcastle: Rajinsky

I find it impossible for Rajinsky to run a bad race and could see him go off a 5-2 chance.

Hugo Palmer won this race with a solid favourite two years ago and has undoubtedly targeted Rajinsky at this since his cracking effort in the Chester Cup last month, when he was one of the first major runners from Palmer’s new base. That has proved a strong move for the trainer and his yard has been in great form all season so far.

Rajinsky ran a really good third in the Northumberland Plate last year and would have been closer but for being badly hampered in the final furlong. He is worse off with Trueshan this time but has improved steadily since and, now taking into account the 5lb claim of the excellent Harry Davies, his weight looks much more favourable.

Perhaps the surprising thing here is how few horses come in to a big event like this not having shown anything like their best form. Apart from Trueshan (who is attempting to do something incredible in a handicap) and Valley Forge (up 4lbs for victory by a head last time) most of the rest need to get back on track.

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