Saturday racing tips: James Flaherty picks his four to follow on Ascot’s Summer Mile live on Sky Sports | Racing News | Fitness tips of the day

Ascot Summer Mile day card includes some fascinating contests including the Class 2 Magnum Classic Ice Cream Handicap (4.05pm); watch every race of Summer Mile day from Ascot live on Sky Sports Racing

At The Races expert James Flaherty reveals his runners to keep onside on Summer Mile day at Ascot, all live on Sky Sports Racing.

On a very busy summer Saturday, with plenty of quality action on show, the Summer Mile takes centre stage at Ascot, live on Sky Sports Racing.

For those of you that like handicaps, there are a number of competitive ones on the supporting card. The ground could have a big say in the Summer Mile, with some of the runners hoping the rain stays away while others will be hoping everything forecast and more hits the track.

It is not a race I have a strong opinion on. I found it as easy to find the negatives as I did the positives regarding most of the runners. While the handicaps look difficult, I’ve decided to tackle them instead in search of some value and hopefully some returns.

As regards the going, one would need a crystal ball. I was working off good ground with 5mm rain forecast for Friday but as I write this piece it appears as though it could potentially be a lot more through the day.

With further showers forecasted on Saturday, I’m thinking it could be somewhere between good and good to soft but it really is anyone’s guess. *** The going was changed to soft for the final race at Ascot on Friday.

Watch every race of Summer Mile day from Ascot live on Sky Sports Racing (Sky 415 | Virgin 519) on Saturday July 15.

Zarzyni (each-way)

1.45 – Ascot/1711 Learning To Work Bake-Off Competition Heritage Handicap

I have had this race in mind for Zarzyni ever since he crossed the line a very decent fourth in the ‘Dash’ at Epsom on Derby day. He didn’t have the clearest of passages through that race and can be marked up for the interference he suffered, although he caused some as well by switching rather sharply in search of a run.

The sharp five at Epsom may not have been enough of a test for him, a view supported by the fact that he was doing his best work at the finish. He actually clocked the quickest closing sectional of those involved in the finish and the stiff finish here should suit. It is worth remembering that he actually won over seven as a two-year-old so he clearly doesn’t lack stamina.

The other reason I had this race in mind is that he ran so well in this last year, off a 10lb higher mark. He was inconvenienced by the draw too, with high numbers dominating the finish and he came from stall five. We know he will see his race out, so hopefully the draw has been kinder to him on this occasion and there will be enough pace to make this a test at the trip.

On that note, he should get a good tow into the race as I think there is more pace drawn high (although hard to be dogmatic about it). The Big Board certainly should be close enough to the front and she’s beside him in stall 12. In an open contest, I think the 11/1 widely available is fair. He should be hard to keep out of the first five and he has winning form on good to soft and good to firm.

La Yakel

4.05 – Magnum Classic Ice Cream Handicap

La Yakel was a late withdrawal at Haydock last week but hopefully he will make amends here. He returns to the scene of his best piece of form when he won over course and distance last September. He had the reopposing Al Nafir in behind in that contest before that rival turned the tables on him at Newmarket a month later.

That Ascot race looks like the best piece of form on offer and a repeat will make him hard to beat. He had First Ruler back in third and he is now rated 10lb higher. The first three pulled well clear and those further back have also franked the form. Al Nafir, as mentioned already, won after and is also much higher now. I felt La Yakel was value for more than the winning margin suggests too.

La Yakel was well fancied at Haydock last week prior to his late withdrawal but I think this may even be more suitable. Any rain won’t harm his chances as he has won on softer ground, and he looks rock solid. The 100/30 available seems fair – I’d be willing to back him as low as 5/2.

William Haggas will be aiming to score on Summer Mile day with La Yakel

Five Towns

4.40 – Village Hotels Fillies’ Handicap

Non Runner

Achillea (each-way)

5.15 – Ascot Racecourse Supports Sebastian’s Action Trust Handicap

One from slightly left field in the concluding handicap is Dean Ivory’s filly, Achillea. She was disappointing at Newbury on her handicap debut last time, but I am willing to forgive her that effort. Second run in a handicap is a less obvious angle than first go but it is one that I actually like.

For some, their first try out of maiden/novice company can be a bit of a shock to the system and I think she is better than that.

Her form in maidens would suggest she is anyway, and I thought she was one to watch after her third at Newmarket behind English Rose, especially how she finished out her race. Spring Dawn in second won next time and runs earlier on the card (although hopefully she doesn’t boost the form with a win as it will mean Five Towns was beaten!).

The fourth who was pipped by Achillea has twice run well off 78 since, so perhaps Achillea’s mark of 72 is attractive.

She also ran at Newmarket’s July Festival last year and it was an even better contest than the one Five Towns ran in.

She’s the only one not to have won since so hopefully she can put that right. I thought after Newmarket this year that she needed a mile, but she didn’t appear to get home at Newbury. They have dropped back to seven again and hopefully a strongly run race will be just perfect, with the stiff finish.

It looks a difficult contest, but I thought she worth a small interest each-way. On the pick of her form, she would have at least a chance of hitting the frame.

Watch every race of Summer Mile day from Ascot live on Sky Sports Racing (Sky 415 | Virgin 519) on Saturday July 15.

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