Our resident tipster gives four horses to back this afternoon, including a 12/1 shot in the last turf race at Newcastle
The racing quality is cranked up a notch this afternoon with Ascot and Haydock staging competitive cards, whilst we say goodbye to flat turf action at Newcastle.
More on the latter at the end of this piece but let’s start with Ascot, where I like the look of IGIDER in the Mite Events & Leisure Handicap (3.45pm). Roger Varian’s charge has not been sighted since finishing next to last in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes won by Arab Dawn at the royal meeting. He was strongly fancied for that – the Pricewise pick if I remember right? – and he possibly blew his chance before the start after getting worked up in the preliminaries and then failing to settle during the race itself.
Prior to that he’d impressed when landing a Doncaster handicap in early June, confirming the promise he’d shown when winning a Windsor maiden on his final start at two, and he almost certainly has more improvement in him after just six starts. I also remember Varian being very complimentary about him in a Stable Tour earlier this season, suggesting he could make up into a Pattern performer, so this handicap off a mark of 93 should be well within his compass. He goes on the prevailing soft ground and his trainer has been amongst the winners of late, so it’s worth taking a chance on his fitness.
At Haydock I really like the chances of Hugo Palmer’s PERU in the opening maiden fillies’ stakes (1.30pm) over a mile. The daughter of Derby winner Motivator has shown promise on both her starts and only found the progressive Winter Rose too good over 7f on the all-weather at Kempton last time, with some good sorts in behind. She ought to relish the step up to a mile on breeding and I remember (the memory banks are on overdrive today!) Harry Bentley, her rider, singling her out as a horse to follow and a sure-fire future winner in a recent interview.
The second division of the maiden fillies’ over 6f (2.30pm) can go to Charlie Hills’ JADAAYIL, who ran a race full of promise when second on her debut at Newbury. Her trainer rates her very highly and is keen to shed her maiden tag before tackling some of the bigger juvenile races in the autumn. She apparently “worked lovely” last weekend and providing the ground doesn’t deteriorate from the current “good” she must take all the beating, though I’d expect her to go off pretty short. A double with Peru might be the best way to support her?
Feelings are still running high over the planned redevelopment of Newcastle’s turf track, which will be ripped up and replaced with an all-weather surface following this afternoon’s meeting to cater for 37 fixtures in 2016. It’s a sad day in many respects and personally I think it’s a bl**dy disgrace that Arc, who run the track, have been given the go ahead by the BHA when there was a perfectly good alternative at Catterick – it seems the racecourses are calling the shots these days and tradition goes out the window for the sake of commercial interests.
And there seems to be no shortage of support from trainers for today’s final fixture on grass with 95 horses being declared. Sixteen of those will go to post for the concluding WaterAid Handicap (5.00pm), which carries the princely sum of £2,264 in first prize money – another disgrace but let’s not even go there! Instead, I’ll concentrate on finding the winner and we could have local trainer Fred Watson to thank for that. This is what he has to say about his runner DESTINATION AIM.
“What beats my horse will win. I took him out last week because it was a 0-75 race and this is a 0-60. He’s down to his lowest mark , he’s 100 per cent and I’ll be very disappointed if he doesn’t win.” On the redevelopment of Newcastle, he added: “They want locking up for what they’ve doing. Catterick is a horrible turf course and is the ideal situation for an all-weather track. It’s not too big, spectators can see all round, but I don’t think Newcastle will be successful as an all-weather track.” Well said Fred!