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Alex Hammond blog: Ripon, Newbury and Irish Oaks selections on big Saturday with Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival

Ripon helps kick-off this year's Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival on Saturday, with Mark Johnston's Approachability among those aiming for victory in feature Titanium Racing Ripon Bell-ringer Handicap (3.28pm), live on Sky Sports Racing

Bollin Joan puts her head down to win at York's Dante Festival
Image: Bollin Joan puts her head down to win at York's Dante Festival

Sky Sports Racing's Alex Hammond looks ahead to the start of the Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival, featuring a red-hot card at Ripon on Saturday.

Spare a thought for us northerners. The summer heatwave isn't something to celebrate when you're a Yorkshire girl living down south, it's something to tolerate and find shelter from, as you wistfully look at the sweaters neatly folded in drawers and wonder how long it will be before you can get your big coat back out.

It's not all bad though, the Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival gets under way on Saturday where we celebrate the wonderful racecourses in God's Own County.

Watch the King George on Sky Sports Racing
Watch the King George on Sky Sports Racing

Don't miss the King George and Queen Elizabeth Stakes from Ascot on Saturday 23 July on Sky Sports Racing

Oh, and did I mention the annual humiliation where a group of us so-called experts take each other on in a tipping challenge to try and raise funds for charity? To be fair, there are trainers amongst us, so I hope there will be some cash in the kitty at the end of the week!

Sky Bet sponsor the whole thing and have already priced up some specials around the week, including the tipping challenge.

I'm 8/1 joint second favourite with ITV Racing's Ed Chamberlin to finish top of the table, which seems a bit skinny (for me, not Ed). Mind you, Oli Bell is 7/1 joint favourite with Team Sportinglife, so I think an early steward's enquiry should be called!

Karl Burke is 11/4 to be top trainer, and Ben Curtis 4/1 to be leading jockey. It should be loads of fun.

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Hoping Bollin Joan can keep her cool in Ripon heat

So, Ripon gets the ball rolling with a competitive card where the feature race is the Titanium Racing Ripon Bell-Ringer Handicap. Seven runners have been declared which minimises our each-way options unfortunately.

Can you believe there is a horse declared called Global Heat and another called Alright Sunshine!? We have a theme building I feel.

Of the seven declared, just one is a three-year-old, which means a generous 11lbs weight for age allowance for Approachability (basically carries 11lbs less than his handicap mark to account for youth).

It's the time of year that the three-year-olds catch up with the older generations, so it could be a useful allowance. Approachability's recent second at Pontefract is looking good too and it appears that the step up to this trip (one-mile-and-four-furlongs) suited him well.

Global Heat is twice his age and two wins from 22 starts doesn't jump off the page. He's been dropped a couple of pounds for his most recent effort, but I'm not sure he's thrown in.

Image: Ripon host a strong seven-race card on Saturday as the Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival gets under way

He carries joint top weight with Alright Sunshine who has been plying his trade over further and despite being a course and distance winner three years ago, I don't expect he's getting any faster.

Bollin Joan is trained by Tim Easterby, who has a good record at Ripon, and it seems this mare is like her trainer as her trips to the garden racecourse have yielded four wins and two second places. It could be telling that she has dropped to 1lb below her last winning mark after four moderate efforts. She's not ruled out.

Furzig has made only one trip to Ripon in the past and that was a winning one. He's rated 18lbs higher on the all-weather than the turf, but he's got some fair form on grass and he's back to his last winning mark.

I'd best mention the remaining two runners, or you'll guarantee I won't have spoken about the winner! Wise Eagle is another that looks better suited to further nowadays, and one time Group Three winner Danehill Kodiac has plenty to prove on recent form, he hasn't won for five years and has had a couple of hefty spells on the side lines.

So, for me, it's between Approachability and Bollin Joan with the latter getting the nod at the likely prices.

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Each-way fancy in Super Sprint for in-form Walker team

Away from the Yorkshire shenanigans, the Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury sees the speedy juveniles scorch up the five-furlong straight and it looks a red-hot (sorry, can't help myself, it's in the forefront of my mind) contest as usual.

Richard Hannon has won the last two runnings of the contest and this year relies on just the five in a bid to land the hat-trick.

There are few more competitive owners than Kia Joorabchian and his Amo Racing colours will be carried by the Hannon-trained Miami Girl (7/1 with Sky Bet). The owners retained rider Rossa Ryan is on board. She was fifth in the Queen Mary and then won a three-runner race over five furlongs at Windsor last time out. I feel we'll see the best of her when she's stepped up to six furlongs.

Miami Girl ridden by jockey Rossa Ryan
Image: Miami Girl, ridden by jockey Rossa Ryan, makes a winning debut at Newmarket

From the same stable, Swift Asset (7/1) ran over six furlongs on debut but appreciated the drop back to five furlongs when winning at Windsor. This is a big hike in class but he's improving. Pat Dobbs was on board Chindit to win last weekend's Summer Mile, and he gets the leg up on Swift Asset.

Ed Walker's team have been flying and at double-figure odds Union Court could be one for each way punters (Sky Bet are paying five places). She was caught too far back in the Windsor Castle after a slow start from a high draw but stayed on determinedly and was beaten six lengths in the end, she's a 12/1 shot.

Market leaders have a pretty good record in the race and Maria Branwell is aiming to continue that trend for David O'Meara. She's already a Listed winner and was third in the Queen Mary. At 5/2, she's short enough though.

Rogue Spirit could be vying for favouritism and bypassed Ascot to be saved for this, we'll see if that tactic pays off. Eddie's Boy is super speedy and has been running well. Expect to see him blazing an early trail under Hollie Doyle. Let's be honest, it's devilishly difficult but I'm happy to have Union Court onside to finish in the first five.

I'll be in the Sky Sports Racing studios this weekend, and for once, a windowless, airconditioned box will be the only place I want to be! Stay cool, keep an eye on the tipping challenge for the inside track from some of the biggest names in the north, and chat next week.

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