Blogs & Opinion

Alex Hammond tips up the Curragh, Newbury and Ripon this weekend

Features Posted 18th July 2013 view comments

This weekend there is classic action at the Curragh and a top-class line up in the Irish Oaks on Saturday evening.

Eight fillies have been declared and they include the Epsom Oaks winner Talent, although her trainer Ralph Beckett won't be doubly represented as Secret Gesture has suffered a knock and won't be in the line up.

Riposte: has 'potential and a blue-blooded pedigree'

Riposte: has 'potential and a blue-blooded pedigree'

Talent was the surprise winner of the Epsom Classic with Richard Hughes in the saddle, but stable jockey Jim Crowley (who rode the 2nd there) gets back on board in this. After the win Beckett said that she isn't as smart a home worker as Secret Gesture but she clearly saves plenty for the track.

I'm going to oppose her with Lady Jane Cecil's Ribblesdale winner Riposte who was supplemented for this race at the start of this week. She was having just her third start at Ascot and stepping into Group 2 company from her maiden win, but she couldn't have been any more impressive and given that potential and with a blue-blooded pedigree (she is closely related to Frankel's dam Kind) she should handle the further step up in grade.

One thing you can be sure of, more thought will be given to these tips than almost any others and there should be some fun and hopefully lots of money raised along the way!

Alex Hammond
Quotes of the week

Tommy Stack's Alive Alive Oh was taken out of the Ribblesdale on account of the quick ground and I can't see the ground conditions being to her liking here. Aidan O'Brien has a good record with three previous winners and this year relies on Venus De Milo (Seamie Heffernan), Just Pretending (Joseph O'Brien) and Magical Dream (Michael Hussey).

Under normal circumstances you would think that Joseph's mount would be the first string, but Heffernan has struck up a good relationship with his filly and has been on board for both her starts which were winning ones. She was also supplemented for the race. Just Pretending was clear second best in the Ribblesdale and there is no reason she should reverse that form.

Johnny Murtagh has been snapped up by Alain de Royer-Dupre for French raider Chicquita and she could be one for the shortlist after her good run to be second in the French Oaks last time out. That was only her third start (she fell on her second) and she should have benefitted for the experience. The Jim Bolger-trained Scintillula completes the line-up.


At Newbury the feature is the Weatherbys Super Sprint, usually a race trainer Richard Hannon farms. He has saddled seven previous winners in the five-furlong 'Sales Race', all incidentally ridden by different jockeys.

It's normally fairly safe to follow the mounts of son-in-law and current champion Richard Hughes or former champion Ryan Moore, but the way this race is framed the cheaper the purchase at the sales, the lighter the weight the horse carries (not taking into account possible penalties for wins in certain races). So more often than not, the more regular jockeys struggle with the weight.

This year could be a case in point as Lillbourne Lass carries just 8st 1lbs. As a result lightweight jockey Jimmy Quinn takes the ride on this recent Bath winner who gets in without any penalties. Stall 1 isn't ideal, but Hannon has had winners of this race from that gate position before, so it's not a write-off. Richard Hughes rides Biography (8.10).

Richard Fahey has a very strong hand too. Whilst Hannon saddles three runners, Fahey has five. Peniaphobia (think we all suffer a bit from this!) with former stable jockey Paul Hanagan on board looks the pick. The horse didn't run at Royal Ascot (where he would have been penalised for a win) and instead went to Thirsk for more experience. This is an incredibly valuable prize and that looks like a smart move.Fahey has as strong a team of two-year-olds as he's ever had and this horse has a fairly middle draw (10) so should be able to go with the pace. Also drawn fairly central (13) is another of his runners, Eccleston. He has only had the two starts and was well beaten in the Norfolk last time out. That didn't look like his true running though and he could bounce back with a light weight here.

Fellow Yorkshire trainer Kevin Ryan has four runners with Morning Pearl, Proclamationofwar, Yorkshire Relish and Oasis Town.

Alutiq could be one to follow for Eve Johnson Houghton. She ran a creditable seventh in the Queen Mary and she is held in high regard. She only has 8st to carry which looks very attractive.

She runs for Qatar Racing and Cathy Gannon rides. She also looks well drawn in 18 and I think she can run well.


Saturday also sees the start of the Go Racing in Yorkshire Summer Festival. The eight-day festival gets underway at Ripon and I'm pleased to say that Sky Bet are aiming to raise another substantial sum for charity during that period.

I'm part of a so-called "Magnificent Seven" who will be pitting our wits against each other all in the name of a good cause! Although I was lucky enough to win this tipping competition in the past I fear I'm up against some excellent tipsters and I'm not sure I share Sky Bet's confidence in me.

The rest of motley crew are made up of Ed Chamberlin, top trainer Richard Fahey, award-winning journalist Tom O'Ryan (who has plenty of time to study the formbook as he recuperates from an accident), Channel 4's top tipster Jim McGrath, with editor Dave Ord and Sky Bet's Racing PR Manager Michael Shinners completing the septet.

The daily selections for each tipster will appear on, and, while a leaderboard will be available at

The Festival fixtures are:

Saturday July 20 - Ripon
Sunday July 21 - Redcar
Monday July 22 - Beverley (evening)
Wednesday July 24 - Catterick
Thursday July 25 - Doncaster (evening)
Friday July 26 - Thirsk, York (evening)
Saturday July 27 - York
Sunda, July 28 - Pontefract

Sky Bet are giving us £50 each day to bet on any race at the Go Racing in Yorkshire Summer Festival, with any profits added together and shared equally between three charities - New Beginnings, the Injured Jockeys Fund and the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

One thing you can be sure of, more thought will be given to these tips than almost any others and there should be some fun and hopefully lots of money raised along the way!

In addition to the fierce competition there is plenty to enjoy over the week, lots of racing with live music, entertainment, competitions, a stable visit (Richard Fahey on Thursday, July 25) and a racecourse open day (at Wetherby on Tuesday July 23) - get involved.

If you fancy backing any of us you can find the details here.

Right, I'm off to study the form for Ripon on Saturday which will also be my Sky Sports News Tip of the Day, wish me luck!


Riposte in the Irish Oaks @ 5/2 with Sky Bet

Alutiq in the Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury

back to top

Other Experts:

Latest Posts in :

Alex Ferguson

Clowney's no joke

US sports expert Alex Ferguson profiles Jadeveon Clowney, the biggest defensive pick of the draft....

Alex Ferguson

King James reigns

Alex Ferguson celebrates a wacky, smile-inducing year in US sport - and salutes Miami's LeBron James....


Alex Ferguson

Start your engines!

Alex Ferguson predicts who will triumph in NASCAR's showpiece race, the Daytona 500....


Alex Ferguson

A perfect union?

Alex Ferguson looks at the possible unionisation of college football and how he would handle the issue....

Alex Ferguson

Call of the century

Spacemen Portland pick Bowie over Jordan - Alex Ferguson ranks the biggest decisions in US Sport....


Alex Ferguson

Independence aces

Alex Ferguson kicks off his Independence Day fun by picking his 20 best bits of American sport....


Jamie Carragher

Lack of intensity

Jamie Carragher says Manchester United could not handle the power or pace of Everton....

Dwight Yorke

Ramsey shines bright

Dwight Yorke looks at the importance of Aaron Ramsey as Arsenal beat Hull 3-0 at the KC Stadium....

Ed Chamberlin

Van the man?

Ed Chamberlin explains why Tejay van Garderen is capable of plucking the Tour de France's Yellow Jersey....


Jamie Redknapp

Jose 'embarrassing'

Jamie Redknapp says that Jose Mourinho should focus on his own failings rather than blame match officials....

Dewi Morris

Heart and soul

Dewi Morris looks at a crucial weekend in the Championship as we head towards the play-offs....

Stuart Barnes

Ups and downs

Stuart Barnes says the drama of relegation must be kept in rugby, but the play-offs need changing....

Phil Clarke

To Hull and back

Phil Clarke looks at the mental damage done to Hull FC and Huddersfield in the Challenge Cup....

Bob Willis

Away for a while

Bob Willis thinks Jonathan Trott will be absent from England duty for some time following his latest setback....

Rob Lee

Pinky and perky

Rob Lee blogs on his vivid Masters Breakfast attire and the men that made waves at Augusta National....

Mark Petchey

Fillip for Ferrer

Mark Petchey marvels at David Ferrer's win over Rafael Nadal but downplays it's long-term significance....

Barry Cowan

Heavy burden

Great Britain's best Davis Cup since 1986 fails to mask their reliance on Andy Murray, says Barry Cowan....

Alex Hammond

Just Cause

Alex Hammond reveals her tips for the Irish Grand National and the other decent racing in Ireland this weeend....

Alex Hammond

Going the distance

Marathon entrant Alex Hammond previews the Newbury action and Scottish National meeting at Ayr....

Alex Hammond

Rocky's road

Alex Hammond explains why she is backing Rocky Creek and Lion Na Bearnai at the Grand National....

Johnny Nelson

The best of friends

It will be tough but Johnny Nelson expects mates Anthony Crolla and John Murray to serve up a classic....

Glenn McCrory

Manny happy returns

Manny Pacquiao is back to his best and could yet get it on with Floyd Mayweather, says Glenn McCrory....

Johnny Nelson

Delighted for DeGale

James DeGale's Matchroom switch is the perfect move to get him back in the mix, says Johnny Nelson....

View from America

Desperate deals?

Simon Veness reviews a crazy week in the NFL's free agent frenzy, as sides splash out over $1bn....


Neal Foulds

Trump tip

Ronnie O'Sullivan is favourite for the Worlds - but Judd Trump could spring a shock, says Neal Foulds....

Neal Foulds

Night at the Circus

Neal Foulds is looking forward to another fun, raucous Snooker Shoot-Out - but can't pick a winner....


Neal Foulds

Simply the best?

Five-time Masters champion Ronnie O'Sullivan may be the best snooker player ever, says Neal Foulds....


Kelvin Tatum

The contenders

Kelvin Tatum runs through the teams and riders ahead of the 2014 Elite League Speedway season....

Kelvin Tatum

Kelvin's 2013 Review

Kelvin Tatum salutes Poole's hierarchy and Tai Woffinden in his round-up of the speedway season....


Kelvin Tatum

Rich re-Ward

Poole, and the dynamic Darcy Ward, will wrap up the Elite League title at Perry Barr, says Kelvin Tatum....


Richard Moore

The final curtain

Richard Moore reflects on Sunday's Closing Ceremony to an unforgettable Olympic Games......


Richard Moore

A lasting golden glow

Richard Moore suggests all the British Olympians should visit schools and talk about their experiences....


Richard Moore

Favourite Froome

Richard Moore reveals his predictions for the 100th Tour de France, which starts on Saturday....


Wayne McCullough

Wonderful Davis

Wayne McCullough watched Antonio Rogerio Nogueria take on Phil Davis at UFC Fight Night 24. ...


Wayne McCullough

Jones shines bright

Wayne McCullough was highly impressed as the talented Jon Jones made short work of Mauricio Rua....


Wayne McCullough

A bloody marvel

Wayne McCullough salutes Diego Sanchez as he edges out Martin Kampmann in a UFC humdinger....