TOP racing tipster Kevan Minter, known as The Colonel, gives Mercury readers his top tips for the week ahead.
Kevan, who lives in Stamford, is trackside most days and is regularly on TV
SHREWD trainer Keiran Burke is hoping that stable star Hunt Ball can continue his incredible rise in the £150,000 Paddy Power Gold Cup, the feature race of Cheltenham’s Open meeting, in November.
Race sponsors Paddy Power have opened their book on the extended two and a half-mile handicap chase and installed Hunt Ball as their 8/1 joint-favourite alongside Grade One Racing Post Arkle Chase runner-up Cue Card.
Hunt Ball proved himself to be one of the stories of last season with seven wins that culminated with a stunning eight-length victory at The Festival in the Listed Pulteney Land Investments Novices’ Handicap Chase, run over the same course and distance as the Paddy Power Gold Cup.
The seven-year-old started his novice campaign, racing off a mark of 69 and ended the season with a fine third in the Grade One Betfred Bowl at Aintree in April - a performance that elevated his official rating to 157.
Burke said: “I am very happy with Hunt Ball. He has come back from the summer bigger and stronger and he looks better than ever.
“I’m pretty sure there is more improvement to come and he will start this season in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham. I think he probably wants to go further than that, but the Paddy Power Gold Cup will suit him and then after that we will look at all the big races.
“I think he can win the Paddy Power Gold Cup off his mark, but he is not the easiest horse to get fit as he is big horse.”
l CAPTAIN Ramius, down from 33/1 to 16/1, won the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup Saturday for trainer Kevin Ryan, beating Regal Parade in gutsy style in Europe’s richest handicap.
Winning jockey Pat Smullen said: “To win a historic race like this is great. I am thrilled to strike gold at the first attempt.”
l CERTIFY is 11-10 favourite for the Shadwell Fillies Mile on Friday at Newmarket. Mahmood Al Zarooni’s 1,000 Guineas market leader extended her unbeaten run to three in the May Hill Stakes at Doncaster on her last outing and a win this week will see her odds tighten with the highstreet bookmakers.
l TICKETS are selling like hot cakes for the Champions Day at Ascot on October 20 to see Frankel have his final race before going to stud.
Sir Henry Cecil’s unbeaten colt is reported to be in great form at Warren Place and is around 1/10 to the Champion Stakes.
l THE french bred Beauty Parlour is (5/2) favourite to land the Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday.
The fillie who is now with Sir Henry Cecil will be hard to beat on the form book. Christophe Soumillon keeps the ride on the 3yo who is expected to score on her British debut. Elussive Kate (11/4) a dual Group 1 winner is the one to beat.
l WOOD Ditton winner Mukhadram is the one to be on in the Cambridgeshire (Heritage Handicap).
William Haggas has trained the horse with this race in mind all season and I am on big at 9/1 E/W.