Frank Hickey’s best bets across the tracks

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change


Shot of Love debuts for Ger Lyons and Colin Keane while Ballydoyle’s Salt Lake City is a Galileo colt out of Heartache and appears to be Coolmore’s second string behind Boy Scout ridden by Ryan Moore. He’s by Frankel and half-brother to Mrs Sippy, who was a Group 2 winner in the States.

However, AL RIFFA was amassive eye-catcher on debut over 7f when second to Hans Andersen who had previous experience. He came from the back that day and ran on strongly, so that run can be upgraded.

Orbaan drops in grade after an extremely impressive win in the Golden Mile at Goodwood last week off a mark of 87. The worry is that he is only 2-27 for the yard, has gone up 8lbs and his Ascot record isn’t great.

EPSOM FAITHFULL is progressive, winning 4 or her last 7 starts. the last win was at Ascot over 6f off a mark of 84 but her wins previous to that had been done at 7f (including beating Silver Samurai in Kempton back in March).

She has gone up 6lbs and won’t have the 3lb claim this time, but I loved the way she hit the line over 6f. They were ALL strung out that day and the time was decent.


I like the look of DUSKY LORD if he manages to get a run in this contest as he’s currently a reserve. Haveolted up at Newmarket on his reappearance off 82 and then ran well on the July course there off a rating of 89 when not beaten far in fourth. hey did disappoint in the Epsom Dash but I’m not sure a test of speed like that would be ideal for him.

he ran agood second at Goodwood last week and first-time blinkers replace the first-time cheekpieces he wore there. The stiff 5f at Ascot would be absolutely ideal and he looks a nice price if he does get in. Manaccan is the danger after a good second at Chester last time off a mark of 101. He had been fifth at Royal Ascot, beaten just a length off a rating of 100, before that Chester run.

LA TRINIDAD last won at York off a mark of 89 and now finds himself back on that mark. A four-runner race run at a steady pace last time wouldn’t have suited. Blue For You was second that day and since then was an excellent second in the Golden Mile at Goodwood.

He had caught my eye at Epsom on Derby weekend when finishing fourth to Totally Charming off a mark of 93, despite not getting the best of runs. If he gets a decent pace here to aim at, he has to go well.

MAKE MY DAY ran better than the bare result suggested last time at Goodwood over 2m 4f where he chased the pace. All the runners that fought out the finish in the end, came from off the pace. He tanked into the lead at the top of the straight but was hampered by the loose horse just over 2f out and weakened out of it. He possibly didn’t stay that marathon trip either.

hey was poor here at the Royal Meeting in the Ascot Stakes over 2m 4f but never really got into that contest and it was a very strong race. He’d been second twice before that over 2m at Goodwood and Ascot and the return to 2m will be a big help to him. While I would prefer to see the Gary Moore yard in better form – at the price he is worth taking a chance on.

It’s the first race of Paddy’s Pick 5 races on Saturday. I’ll take a chance on CERTAIN LAD at what could be a wild price. His Haydock record from five starts is two wins and a second in this race in 2020 (behind Extra Elusive, with Global Giant and now Aussie wonder horse Zaaki behind). He’s also been third at Listed level and a fourth in a Class 2 three-year-old handicap.

He did miss all of 2021, but has shown some promise in his runs this year. The ground probably was as fast as he would want it for his last two starts and getting back on easier ground will be a big positive. hey won the G3 Strensall Stakes at York in 2020 over 9f on good to soft ground and was good enough to finish a close second in the John Smiths Cup off 103 in 2020.

Paddy’s Pick 5 races keeps rolling on to this one at the Curragh. GO BEARS GO has first-time cheekpieces fitted for this Group 3 contest and was an excellent second in the Group 3 Hackwood Stakes behind Minzaal last time. He’s also won the Group 2 Railway Stakes here last year and was a close third in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes. his only really disappointing run this season was in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot and he shold run well in a race that doesn’t look overly strong.

NOVAKAIA was very impressive on debut at Doncaster over 7f when winning by more than four lengths in a fair time. The second that dhey, Crackovia, was conceding weight to her but is rated 83 and she dismissed him with the minimum of fuss.

Lakota Sioux was a good third in the Chesham but that form hasn’t really worked out, while Ivory Madonna was third in the Albany Stakes but was then beaten in a maiden next time out.



BOPEDRO was very useful for Jessie Harrington, winning the Irish Cambridgeshire at the Curragh off 94 last August and was only beaten less than a length at Leopardstown on Champions weekend over 7f off a mark of 103.

hey ran a cracker in the Hunt Cup off 103 when eighth from a low draw which probably wasn’t ideal. he has switched to David O’Meara in the UK and ran really well last time here when a never nearer three length fourth to Tempus off 101.He was held up last off a steady pace and stayed on well.

Isla Kai and Shelir should ensure a strong pace and Bopedro should hit the frame at the very least.

This Group 1 race over 6f is the last of this Saturday’s Paddy’s Pick 5 races. The Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot has worked out incredibly well for the winner, BRADSEL. the second, Persian Force won the July Stakes; the third Royal Scotsman won the Richmond Stakes and the fourth, Blackbeard, won the Group 2 Robert Papin. Little Big Bear brings Windsor Castle winning form into the race and that has worked out really well also.

Ed Dunlop’s string are running well despite not having a glut of winners. STERLING KNIGHT won back here in May off a mark of 81 over 6f. Devaster was second and was then touched off in a York handicap next time, before winning at Leicester. the fourth home, Latin Lover, has won twice since, including the 5f handicap at Royal Ascot. In fact, the horses that finished seventh, ninth, 10th and 15th have all won since.

Sterling Knight found 5f too sharp at Royal Ascot but he rwell in third last time at Windsor when beaten just over a length in a Class 2 over 6f against older horses.

Frank’s Saturday picks

13:30 Curragh – Al Riffa
13:35 Ascot – Epsom Faithfull
14:10 Ascot – Dusky Lord
14:45 Ascot – Make My Day
15:00 Haydock – Certain Lad
15:15 Curragh – Go Bears Go
15:40 Newmarket – Novakai
15:55 Ascot – Bopedro
16:15 Curragh – Bradsell
17:05 Ascot – Sterling Knight

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change



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