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Saturday tips: Johnny Ward's best bets for Down Royal

By Johnny Ward
Sat 18 Jun 2022

Our Irish racing tipster Johnny Ward shares three tips for the big Flat card of the year at Dowen Royal, headlined by the €100,000 BoyleSports Ulster Derby. Enjoy every moment live on Racing TV and Racing TV Extra.

So how was your Royal Ascot?

The talking points for me were the stewarding in the Norfolk and the race-riding in the Gold Cup, one of the races I've enjoyed more than any in a long, long time.

Beware the forecast at Down Royal: they may or may not get a little rain. I am assuming with these strong selections that the ground will be good or faster.

2.00 Down Royal: Raleigh Bridge and Regally Blonde

I could see one or both of these horses come alive in the market as the best form in the race is either what Spartan Army showed at Sligo or what A Shin Undine has shown - but she's rated just 69 and both my selections look long odds-on to run above that sooner or later.

Raleigh Bridge ran a really nice race at the Curragh on debut, having no cover for the first half of the race or so and the maiden has worked out really well. The winner ran in the Derby and the fifth since bolted up in a maiden. Regally Blonde looks capable of much better after a quiet introduction in what seemed a strong Curragh fillies' maiden.

2.35 Down Royal: Highland King

He was hardly glaringly obvious at Leopardstown on handicap debut but there was such a gamble on him he was clearly considered a good thing. He drifted in the market late as much of the money came for the all-the-way winner, I Have A Voice. He was an easy winner otherwise and, though Chaos Control is solid, the Murtagh runner seems sure to go close here in the cheekpieces.

5.05 Down Royal: Wild Shot

Literally everything went right for Storm Steps at Fairyhouse (tape start) and Wild Shot could be a 'good thing' here.

His record on grass on the Flat (one from 22) may seem off-putting but he’s as honest as they come, has a fine all-weather record and his win on the Flat on turf came only last year. He has only run once on the Flat on grass since but somehow he’s 3lb lower than when he recorded that win, which was done without any fuss.

He’s been a revelation over hurdles, up to 124 after two smooth wins of late, and off 57 here I can’t see how he’s beaten bar traffic. His trainer had a winner on Thursday and Siobhan Rutledge is great value for her 5lb claim.

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