Sultan can swing at Chester


Royal Ascot may be on the horizon but there’s plenty action this weekend and still the same chance to find winners, hopefully to boost those coffers for the five-day bonanza next week. Here are three to follow on Saturday.

Istanbul Sultan, 2.40 Chester, to win @ 3/1

The colours of owners Simon Munir & Isaac Souede are more readily associated with the jumps but their two-tone green silks might have a Chester winner on Saturday courtesy of the William Haggas-trained Istanbul Sultan.

The Zoffany gelding hasn’t finished out of the money in four starts since his debut run at Newbury last summer. He ended last term with victory in a Goodwood novice event and has shaped well in both starts since returning from his winter break.

He finished second to Mr Reckless at Wetherby last time in what amounted to an improved showing. The way he finished the race suggested this 1m4f trip would further assist his cause and he can demonstrate that now by scoring under in-form rider Martin Harley.

Rio Ronaldo, Sandown 2.35, to win @ 9/2

The Mike Murphy-trained Rio Ronaldo is back looking to defend a Sandown handicap he won 12 months ago and looks to be in good shape for it.

He’s run just three times since, shaping well in his two outings this term. Last time at Goodwood he was nailed late on over 6f and the drop back to the minimum distance looks ideal for him now.

The Footstepsinthesand gelding travels powerfully in his races, as he did in this contest a year ago. He was probably meriting more than the slender winning margin that afternoon and so must be feared back here racing from just 2lb higher.

Andrea Atzeni’s mount will appreciate this surface and the trip, and is liable to be going as well as anything when they come darting into the final furlong.

Star Of The East, 1.50 York, each-way @ 17/2

It looks worth forgiving Star Of The East a poor run at Epsom earlier in the month. Mark Johnston’s Cape Cross gelding has thrived on his racing so far in his career and the four-year-old may bounce straight back.

Last month he was in blistering form, winning at Chepstow either side of a narrow defeat at Hamilton and looking progressive as he did.

He’s just 4lb above his most recent winning mark now and Emma Bedford can take the majority of that off in this Lady Amateur Riders handicap.

The Johnston team continue to be in good form, with an 18 per-cent strike rate of late and, as a previous winner in this grade, he appeals as the sort to bounce back and run a big race.

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