Today's best bets, by Will Hayler
Eva Moscrop, an apprentice jockey, has thankfully escaped serious injury despite a nasty fall before the fifth race at Ripon last night, an incident serious enough to delay racing for 40 minutes. She was taken from the track by air ambulance to hospital in Leeds after reporting pain in her back and neck but scans failed to find any serious injury.
When the race did finally get under way, it was notable for the performance of one of the best-bred horses you will find in Britain. Soviet Dream, the first foal of the brilliant miler Soviet Song, by the leading stallion Oasis Dream, belatedly made his racecourse debut at three and produced a quite remarkable effort. Despite already having been gelded, he looked a right handful and got loose before the start, then was edgy in the stalls. Even when the stalls opened, things didn't get any better as he trailed home stone last of the 12 runners.
It wasn't as if Soviet Dream was given an easy time by Paul Mulrennan either. The jockey was pushing away almost as soon as they left the starting stalls, producing virtually no response at any stage.
It's unfortunate for the Elite Racing Club, who bred and raced Soviet Song with such success, but I was forced to wonder whether such a beautifully bred racehorse had ever produced such a stinkingly bad debut effort on a racecourse.
The second day of Ripon's two-day meeting features the City Of Ripon Stakes, in which I had originally fancied Anjaz to appreciate a slight drop in grade. Alas, more rain overnight has slightly put me off her claims, with the runners of her sire (Street Cry) clearly performing best on faster going.
Instead, I'll throw a couple of pounds at Petella (5.15), who has winning form on soft ground and shaped as if she was on the way back to her best when third at Pontefract last time. She stays this trip well and is down to an easier grade.
Also moving back into easier company is Stellar Express (7.50), who can return to winning form at Southwell this evening. Although the handicapper may just have got a grip of her on turf, she has been running with plenty of credit and her lower all-weather mark means she can line up in this softer class five event. Her form on Polytrack hasn't yet matched that achieved on turf up to now, but she hasn't tried this Fibresand surface before.
Kieren Fallon is riding particularly well at present and I could see him going close on a couple of Luca Cumani runners at Epsom: Romanoff (2.15) and Twelve Strings (4.30).
Tipping competition - a new week
Congratulations to tanias, who soared to the top of the leaderboard in the very last race of last week's competition by picking Mary's Daughter (33-1) in the York nursery. That put her on +24.50, comfortably ahead of the +19 scored by Yossarian24, who had Kirthill (11-1), and diegoisgod, the only other person to find Mary's Daughter. Diego, who has developed quite a reputation on here in the past month or so, didn't join the field until the final two of the 15 races last week, yet still finished on the podium. Amazing.
This week's prize is a copy of Marten Julian's Dark Horses (Autumn Guide) 2012, to be published in mid-September and apparently "packed with gems to see you through the closing weeks of the Flat season". A press release tells us to expect: "Choice selection of around 50 two-year-olds, mostly unraced, which are expected to shape well in back-end maidens, some of them with Classic aspirations; Updated news and information on the horses which featured in the three main sections of the Dark Horses Annual – the Premier List, the Dark Horses and the Dark Handicappers; Autumn Specialists – horses which have slipped down the weights and have been prepared specifically for back-end campaigns". Those who don't win can order a copy here. Marten's website is here.
To kick things off, we'd like your tips, please, for these races: 3.55 Epsom, 4.15 Ripon, 4.40 Sedgefield.
As ever, our champion will be the tipster who returns the best profit to notional level stakes of £1 at starting price on our nominated races, of which there will be three each day up until Friday. Non-runners count as losers.
In the event of a tie at the end of the week, the winner will be the tipster who, from among those tied on the highest score, posted their tips earliest on the final day.
Click here for all the day's racecards, form, stats and results.
And post your tips or racing-related comments below.