Sunday Racing Tips: Mercian Warrior to outbattle rivals at Epsom

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Racing on Sunday comes from Epsom, Ffos Las, Killarney and Tipperary. Over in France, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe takes place at Longchamp, with several entries coming from the UK and Ireland.

One of our fancies this afternoon is at Epsom where an Eve Johnson-Houghton runner can break his maiden in a nursery from a lenient opening mark.

Selections, Sunday Oct 1st

Epsom 14:15 – Mercian Warrior @ 11/8 
Tipperary 15:15 – Arctic Fly @ 3/1 
Epsom 16:00 – Naxos @ 5/2

Epsom 14:15 – Mercian Warrior @ 11/8 

MERCIAN WARRIOR (13/8) is still a maiden after three starts on the track, but he has shown enough in those races to suggest his opening win will not be far away, particularly on his latest outing when he was second of 12 runners at the Curragh (6½f) behind a smart horse from Richard Fahey’s yard.

The well-bred son of Saxon Warrior is now stepping up in trip to 7f and his breeding indicates this extra distance will help. His best work came in the final furlong of his race at the Curragh last month.

Eve Johnson-Houghton’s colt features on the Betfred Betfinder as one of the Most Napped selections today. Off a lenient opening handicap mark of 79, he can score for the first time in the opener at Epsom.

Tipperary 15:15 – Arctic Fly @ 3/1 

Willie Mullins has three runners in this Grade Three novice hurdle contest and although Paul Townend has opted to ride Bialystok, it is ARCTIC FLY (11/4) who looks to have the best chance of recording success for the Irish trainer.

The five-year-old is unbeaten in two starts over hurdles. She broke her maiden at Punchestown (2m) earlier in the summer, making all for a nine-length success. A second hurdles victory then followed at Galway (2m½f) in a Listed contest. Once again, she made every yard of the running.

Mullins has won seven of the last eight renewals of this graded race and his improving mare can take the next step in her career to give him another victory in this contest.

Epsom 16:00 – Naxos @ 5/2

In what was his first start since being gelded, NAXOS (2/1) began the campaign with a victory on the AW at Newcastle (1m). He has gone close on a couple of occasions since then to add to his tally, but he had to settle for the runner-up spot.

George Boughey’s lightly raced gelding came home down the field in the Britannia Stakes at Royal Ascot back in June. He then produced a much better performance at Newmarket (1m) next time out, finding just one runner from Harry and Roger Charlton’s yard better than him on the day.

His performance over 1m1½f at Wolverhampton on his latest appearance indicates the three-year-old will appreciate this step up to 1m2f at Epsom. Kevin Stott has ridden this horse to victory on both of his two career wins and he jumps back on board for this assignment in what is another boost to his chances.

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