ITV Racing Tips: More Easterby excellence at York with Staxton?

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Royal Ascot is just around the corner but before that there’s a handy seven-race card from York, Sandown and Chester to enjoy on Saturday.

The Listed Grand Cup Stakes is the highlight of the afternoon, where Hughie Morrison’s middle distance star, Marmelo, will be looking to get back to winning ways over 1m6f.

There’s also the Scurry Stakes and a whole host of intriguing handicap puzzles to figure out as Ed Chamberlin and co. compete with the World Cup over on ITV4.

We’ve previewed all of the action – as always – with our ITV Racing Tips

NAP – Marmelo – 3:00, York

The day’s main Listed contest sees Marmelo return to these shores after competing for big prizes overseas.

Morrison’s charge racked up a couple of handy black-type wins on his travels, including in the Group 2 Darley Prix Kergorlay.

His performance last time out should give punters plenty of optimism too. The five-year-old was beaten by a neck at 24/1 by three-time Group 1 winner and Dubai Gold Cup champion, Vazirabad.

That run at Longchamp is standout form in anyone’s book. And it should be enough to see him triumph in lesser company in the 1m6f Grand Cup.

NB – Sound And Silence – 2:05, Sandown

Charlie Appleby is a man in form. The Newmarket-based trainer has saddled winners in the Epsom Derby, Breeders’ Cup and the Sydney Cup over the last 12 months.

His runner Sound and Silence promised similar levels of success after clocking a pair of Listed contests and a Group 3 success as a two-year-old.

But it hasn’t quite gone to plan for the colt on his reappearance this season. The son of Exceed and Excel has finished last but one in each of his two runs at Ascot and York.

The quality is obviously there, it’s just a question of finding it again. Blinkers are fitted to the three-year-old on Saturday as he bids to rediscover his form. A 5lb penalty won’t help his cause, but we think he can be a player on each-way terms.

Lively Longshot – Staxton – 3:35, York

If Tim Easterby’s got a runner in this race, you sit up and take note.

The trainer has won the renewal in three of its last five stagings and goes again with Staxton this time around.

The son of Equiano hasn’t won since landing a Class 4 contest at Haydock last August. But all of his subsequent runs have been at Group or Listed level.

This is a touch easier. Off a competitive mark and back down to a more familiar 6f, we think that the three-year-old has more than enough to trouble the places at a very handy price.

ITV Racing Tips:

1:50 York – Desert Ruler

2:05 Sandown – Sound And Silence (NB, each-way)

2:25 York– Get Knotted

2:40 Chester – Austrian School

3:00 York – Marmelo (NAP)

3:15 Sandown – Salt Whistle Bay

3:35 York – Staxton (Lively Longshot, each-way)

All Odds and Markets correct as of date and publication

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Nick Murphy

Nick is a graduate of the UEA where he doubled up as the sports editor of the student newspaper. He supports Dagenham & Redbridge and previously edited the matchday programme at Victoria Road. Darts and Horse Racing are among his other favourite sports.