Thursday 1 August horse racing tips – Johnston’s 5/2 chance can show winning Magic at Epsom

Brian Healy gives his race-by-race selections and best bets across all of Thursday’s UK and Irish horse racing meetings, including Glorious Goodwood and the Galway Festival.

August kicks off with day three of the Glorious Goodwood Festival featuring the Group One Nassau Stakes, while Nottingham are also racing on the level on Thursday.

There is also afternoon racing action over the sticks from Stratford, as well as from the fourth day of the Galway Festival where another mixed flat and jumps racing card features the Galway Hurdle as well as Grade Three chase action and Listed action on the flat.

Meanwhile, in the evening here is flat racing from both Ffos Las and Epsom.

Stratford (jumps) – 1.30 – 5.00pm (7.00pm)
Nottingham (flat) – 1.40 – 5.10pm (7 races)
Goodwood (flat) – 1.50 – 5.20pm (7 races)
Galway (mixed) – 2.00 – 6.00pm (8 race)
Ffos Las (flat) – 5.35 – 8.45pm (7 races)
Epsom (flat) – 5.45 – 8.30pm (6 races)


(2.05) TOPOFTHECOTSWOLDS (4/1, Bet365) was an early casualty in a decent-looking Uttoxeter contest last time out, but Nigel Twiston-Davies’ charge wasn’t unfancied on that occasion and could be worth chancing to get off the mark over fences now.

The Arcadio gelding had finished runner-up in three of his four starts over hurdles prior to making the switch to chasing, and he was denied by less than one length on his chase debut at Ffos Las behind Crania O’malley where he kept on well having perhaps just finding the trip too sharp.

He crashed out at the 10th last time out, hampered which wouldn’t have helped, and with that contest having since thrown up a couple of winners he could bounce back from that mishap to strike here given he is much less exposed than his field of rivals and could have greater scope for improvement.

(3.50) SIMPLY LOVELEH (5/4, Bet365) chases a hat-trick of wins here, and the Beneficial mare could be hard to deny from landing the three-timer.

Dan Skelton’s charge includes a course and distance win in that pair of successes, which have come in novice company; but there may be better to come as her sights switch now to handicapping, and a mark of 121 might not be enough to prevent her from striking again.

The application of a tongue-tie ahead of those earlier successes has been a big help, and with the potential for further improvement she gets the vote to land the three-timer.

1.30 – Yccs Portocervo
2.05 – Topofthecotswolds
2.40 – Capitoul
3.15 – Canny Tom
3.50 – Simply Loveleh
4.25 – Code Of Law
5.00 – North Star Oscar


(2.15) SPIRITOFTHENORTH (9/4, Paddy Power) shaped well on his debut at Pontefract last month, but with that experience under his belt the Bated Breath colt can improve to get off the mark at the second attempt.

Possibly guilty of doing too much too soon in that first run, the runner up from that contest has won since to give the form a boost. He ought to be sharper now for that first run, and it would be no surprise to see him find improvement on the back of that performance to open his account now.

(3.25) CLASSIC CHARM (4/1,Bet365) has mostly been plying his trade on the all-weather, but Dean Ivory’s charge opened his win account at this venue in May, and a return to the scene of his sole victory could spur the Rip Van Winkle filly back to winning ways.

That win was followed up by a poor effort at Kempton following a short break, but she quickly set the record straight by finding only one too strong at Lingfield two weeks later where she was denied only by a neck behind Kendergarten Kop.

She had pulled clear of the rest, and due to go up in the weights in future outings she could be worth chancing off this mark to register a win back at this venue.

1.50 – Poets Dance
2.15 – Spiritofthenorth
2.50 – Miss O’Connor
3.25 – Classic Charm
4.00 – Kannapolis
4.35 – Gnaad
5.10 – Platform Nineteen


(2.25) THREAT (5/2, Coral) finished ahead of the reopposing Guildsman when finishing runner-up in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot, and Richard Hannon’s charge can get back to winning ways here.

The Footstepsinthesand colt was a winner at Newmarket on his debut, scoring readily from Electrical Storm over five furlongs, and he took the step up in trip in his stride when denied by Arizona in that Ascot outing when last seen.

He was only beaten a half-length on that occasion, perhaps just given too much to do having been held up and then meeting some trouble in running. Despite everything however, he was finishing strongly, and he can find further improvement.

The yard has a good record in this contest, winning two of the last five including with the high-class Ivawood, and the Footstepsinthesand colt can get back on the winning trail here.

(5.20) LUFRICIA (9/1, William Hill) shaped well on her sole start last term, finishing third on her debut at Kempton, and Roger Varian’s charge showed the benefit of that experience to strike on her reappearance following almost seven months off at Newcastle to get off the mark with a defeat of Rocket Action.

Having struggled in Listed company next time, failing to beat a rival home at Chelmsford in the Listed Chelmer Stakes, she might have found the soft ground against her at this venue in June before going close on better ground at Doncaster latest where she was denied only by a head behind Queens Gift.

She was only run down late on that occasion, and both the winner and third have come out and won again since so the form looks solid. A 6lbs rise for that run looks fair, and if she can settle better then it wouldn’t come as a shock to see her find further improvement.

1.50 – Fox Premier
2.25 – Threat
3.00 – Dal Horrisgle
3.35 – Mehdaayih
4.10 – Fred
4.45 – Tulip Fields
5.20 – Lufricia


(2.35) ZERO TEN (5/2, Paddy Power) bolted up here on Tuesday, and Emmett Mullins’ charge can quickly follow up.

The Shantou gelding went 4-5 in bumpers and over hurdles, with his sole defeat coming at Fairyhouse behind Dommage Pour Toi where he was denied by less than one length in a Grade Two contest. However he quickly bounced back with a win over the useful The Big Dog at Punchestown, scoring readily.

Following three months off, he switched to fences where he ran out a three lengths’ winner over Stormey here, and connections waste no time in turning him out again quickly and stepping him up in grade.

He wasn’t always fluent with his jumping in that first run, but he should be sharper with the experience and he can strike again quickly.

(4.20) DOCTOR DUFFY (13/8, Ladbrokes) sets a decent standard for the others to aim at, and Charles Byrnes’ charge can get back to winning ways here.

The Craigsteel gelding showed a good level of ability in bumpers, scoring at Cork, and he returned from a break to win his first two spins over hurdles with scores at Killarney and Kilbeggan respectively prior to going down only narrowly behind the smart Peregrine Run at Cork latest to whom he was trying to give 10lbs.

That task proved beyond him and the winner won cosily, but he had in turn pulled clear of the third and he probably faces nothing of that calibre of opponent here so he could well prove a tough nut to crack in this contest given he remains with the potential for better still.

2.00 – Early Doors
2.35 – Zero Ten
3.10 – Koybig
3.45 – Surrounding
4.20 – Doctor Duffy
4.55 – Gardens Of Babylon
5.30 – Greenpanda
5.59 – Ballylig


(6.10) HUBERT (11/4, Bet365) has made the frame in all three career starts, but Sylvester Kirk’s charge has only managed to match rather than progress his form. However, it could be worth chancing on the Kodiac colt nonetheless where he could make the most of his experience.

His best effort from his trio of outings came when finishing a half-length runner-up at Windsor behind Homespin, and although he could only finish third back there last time out where he was beaten three lengths he has to be respected given his rivals haven’t set the heather alight in their own respective starts.

This could be a decent opportunity for him to get off the mark, and he is taken to find a jolt of progress to open his account.

(7.15) GHAITH (5/2, Bet365) switches to turf for his handicap debut, and it could be worth chancing Hugo Palmer’s charge to make a winning transition.

The Invincible Spirit gelding finished third and fourth respectively on two runs over the Kempton polytrack in the spring, and returning from a three month break at Wolverhampton last month he finished around seven lengths third behind Aljari.

Upped in trip for his first foray into the handicap ranks, an opening mark of 72 doesn’t look overly harsh and he could be capable of exploiting this mark.

5.35 – Sir Arthur Dayne
6.10 – Hubert
6.40 – Paths Of Glory
7.15 – Ghaith
7.45 – The Game Is On
8.15- Spirit Of May
8.45 – Perfect Charm


(6.20) ALLEGIANT (10/3, Bet365) has hit the bar the last twice, latterly when denied a short-head over ten furlongs at this course two weeks ago behind Multamis.

Stuart Williams’ City Zip gelding is a past course winner, scoring here last September over one mile, and his best subsequent runs have come at this track. He had also finished runner-up the time before that latest near miss, and he was caught on the line on that last occasion having looked set to score.

The handicapper has pushed him up a further 3lbs, but he ought to remain competitive despite that rise in the weights and the step up to this longer trip could unlock further improvement so every chance he can go one better this time around.

(6.55) MAGIC TWIST (5/2, Paddy Power) shaped well on her debut at Ayr last month, finishing third behind Macho Time and beaten around three lengths. However, Mark Johnston’s charge ought to come on considerably for that experience and she could be the one to beat here with the promise of more to come.

The Elusive Quality filly has seen the form of that debut being franked by both the winner and fourth horses home winning since, and with the potential for better with that run under her belt and with the step up in trip likely to suit then it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see her going close in a race where her 5lbs fillies’ allowance could prove crucial.

5.45- Light Of Air
6.20 – Allegiant
6.55 – Magic Twist
7.30 – Ascended
8.00 – City Wanderer
8.30 – Poet’s Magic