The Betting Spy’s top picks for this weekend’s racing at Ascot and York

ENABLE is the headline act in the King George at Ascot and let’s hope the superstar mare can notch a record third win in the great race.

But it’s not so great, is it? This is supposedly the midsummer highlight, the British ‘Arc’, the all-aged middle distance championship. Yet there are NO British runners good enough to give her a race! It’s hard to get excited about…

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Not so the International Stakes, a tip-top 7f handicap at 2.25, something for punters to relish.

Blue Mist, who was possibly unlucky in the Silver Wokingham at the Royal meeting seems set to go off favourite and he is talented and fairly treated. But he often finds trouble and it may be best to look through the Mist.

The 7f Buckingham Palace Stakes may be a better guide. MUTAMAASIK ran an absolute belter to finish third, despite racing down the centre of the track when the place to be was along the stand rail.

He still finished ahead of Cliffs Of Capri, Shelir and Ebury, although the latter was drawn on the far side and is a danger. Mutamaasik has since flopped in the Bunbury Cup but that is his only poor run in a seven-race career and it can pay to give him another chance.

Spanish City, Keyser Soze and Arbalet are regulars in these events and could make the frame whilst Eshaasy, the only three-year-old, should have more to offer although a lack of experience is always a concern. A market move for him would be interesting.

SCARAMANGA has a great chance in the Brown Jack Handicap at 5.20 – and you don’t have to take my word for it.

Trainer Paul Nicholls clearly agrees as he has managed to persuade Frankie Dettori to hang about to ride the five-year-old! Having the best Ascot jockey there is can only be a bonus.

Scaramanga stayed on strongly in a strange race at Newmarket, where a runaway leader was ignored by the rest, last time but too late. He shaped there as if the step up to two miles would suit and he looked to be on a workable mark.

The obvious danger is four-timer chasing Solo Saxophone. He has been a revelation since joining Ben Haslam and won easily at York last time, beating Young Merlin by around four lengths. The runner-up is 10lb better off but that may not be enough.

York’s feature is the Sky Bet York Stakes (2.40) where ELARQAM has a terrific chance of repeating his victory of 12 months ago.

The five-year-old followed that success with an even better effort over this course and distance when a close third behind Japan and Crystal Ocean in the Juddmonte International.

That day he had talented-but-hard-to-win-with King Of Comedy, Lord Glitters, better over shorter, and Regal Reality all behind. This season Elarqam made Lord North pull out all the stops at Haydock on his return – with Telecaster back in third. That form reads well now.

At Royal Ascot 1m4f on testing ground was, predictably, too stiff a test. This trip on the Knavesmire is just the job for Elarqam.

Aspetar and Fox Chairman shaped well last time at Sandown in Listed grade but this is hotter so Telecaster, a Group 3 winner in France since Haydock, looks best for forecast punters.

HARTSWOOD makes most appeal in the 3.15 at York. He was only beaten half a length when third on his reappearance in a quality 7f handicap here, with daylight back to the rest.

He has been nudged up another 4lb for that but he has only had five races so there should be plenty more in the locker. And, as the only three-year-old, he gets the generous 8lb weight allowance. The slightly longer trip is also likely to suit.

Ex-French Orbaan is fairly handicapped having been raised 4lb for his latest win here. But carrying 10st may just anchor him.

Greenside seems better than ever at nine but soft ground suits him best and he may not have his ideal conditions. Irv has a good track record and shaped well on his return but this is tougher and he is on a career-high mark.

I spy an eyecatcher…

Royal Scimitar was quite impressive when winning the 6f novice event for juveniles at Newbury on Sunday but ALKUMAIT really took the eye with an impressive debut run, staying on into fourth.

He was well back early on but finished in fine style under a tender ride from Martin Dwyer. The second and third had run before so there is every reason to mark this effort up even more.

Marcus Tregoning does not have his two-year-olds fully wound up on debut so Alkumait should come on a ton. He looks s sure-fire future winner and could be distinctly useful.

Wherever he runs check Mait!

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