By Andy Stephens
If there is one horse with potential to shorten in the betting for the totescoop6 Beverley Bullet (3.15) on Saturday then it has to be Desert Law.
Most firms make him 12-1 but the hat-trick-chasing veteran arrives in great fettle and is the pick of Paul Mulrennan - who in his column for Racing UK says he had the choice of riding him or his stablemates Final Venture, quoted at 5-1, and Line Of Reason.
On official ratings Desert Law has a bit to find but the lines between top handicappers and pattern performers often become blurred and the fact that Mulrennan has opted to ride him in preference to a horse much shorter in the market is a tip in itself.
He warrants a saver but my main bet in the race is going to be Pipers Note, a general 14-1 to give Ruth Carr another notable success in what has already been a memorable season for her.
Like Desert Law, the ratings suggest Pipers Note is punching a little above his weight but he has been in tremendous form off lofty marks in competitive sprint handicaps this term and is overpriced to go one better than when runner-up in the Great St Wilfrid Handicap at Ripon last time.
He drops back to the minimum trip but his record over course and distance - three wins and two places from five visits - point to his effectiveness at this stiff track.
With Take Cover and Final Venture in the line-up the pace is going to be frenetic but that will suit Pipers Note and provided James Sullivan can avoid traffic problems in the closing stages then the combination might easily be in front where it matters most.
Mulrennan has a good book of rides, with Apricot Sky interesting in the second division of the totepoolliveinfo.com Handicap (4.25).
The seven-year-old has been switched to the yard of Michael Dods after a spell with Brian Ellison and the Denton handler, who like Carr is enjoying a terrific season, has inherited a well-handicapped horse.
You can put a line through Apricot Sky’s latest effort at Musselburgh because he was on his knees when the stalls opened. The upside is that the handicapper has dropped him 3lb to a mark of 77 and he had previously shaped as if his turn was close at Newmarket.
He was in fine form last autumn, including when touched off at Haydock off a pitch of 80, and if the move to Dods has added any extra zeal then he must go close in an ordinary contest.
He was a taking winner on his debut (form worked out very well) and was then beaten only a couple of lengths in the Coventry - a race which did not get to the bottom of him.
On his latest start Romanised was stepped up to Group One level and was beaten about three lengths behind Sioux Nation in a hot Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh. He travelled well but was unable to pick up in the closing stages.
In terms of form I reckon he has achieved at least as much as Masar, the favourite, but, more significant, he will be stepping up to seven furlongs and will be back on good ground for the first time since his first start.
His pedigree is all about stamina and the stiffer test seems certain to suit. In addition, he is also being equipped with a first-time tongue tie and on Friday he had a gentle workout on the Esher track.
The market looks about right for the BetBright Casino Atalanta Stakes (3.00) but it is surprising that Graceland is as big as 7-1 for the corbettsports.com Chester Stakes at Chester (2.10).
Michael Bell’s mare was a fluent winner at Ascot in May and has caught the eye in each of her subsequent races - again shaping really well when not beaten far at the Shergar Cup meeting last time when she might have won under a different rider, or at least a different ride.
Graceland is dropping back from 2m but she is not short of speed and it may even draw out a bit more improvement out of her. Who Dares Wins rates the danger and a reverse Exacta on the pair also looks in order.
How To Bet £20 on Saturday:
(prices correct at 8pm on Friday)
2.10 Chester: Graceland £3.50 win at a general at 7-1
2.10 Chester: £1 reverse Exacta on Graceland and Who Dares Wins
2.25 Sandown: Romanised £4 win at at a general 7-1
3.15 Beverley: Pipers Note £3 each-way at a general 14-1
3.15 Beverley: £1.50 win on Desert Law at a general 12-1
4.25 Beverley: Apricot Sky £3 win at a general 6-1
(general odds in brackets)
£1 Win Lucky 15
2.10 Chester: Graceland (7-1)
2.25 Sandown: Romanised (7-1)
3.15 Beverley: Pipers Note (16-1)
4.25 Beverley: Apricot Sky
Plus £2.50 each-way on 2.10 Chester: Graceland £3.50 win at a general at 7-1