What are the best bets in Saturday's Channel 4 races?
There is competitive action wherever you look this afternoon and it’s the eight Channel 4-televised races that come under scrutiny here.
1.45 Kempton: totescoop6 September Stakes (Group 3), 1m4f
This is by far the least competitive of them as it looks a penalty kick for Irish Derby winner JACK HOBBS, who is forecast to go off at 1/4. Without his presence this would be a very ordinary Group 3 and the racecourse must be delighted he’s using it as a stepping stone to bigger targets in the autumn as he’ll no doubt get the turnstiles clicking a bit faster. The fact he’s already won an all-weather surface – at Wolverhampton on his debut – makes him even more of a certainty.
2.00 Haydock: betfred.com Superior Mile (Group 3), 1m
Another weak-looking Group 3 and at first glance it provides Ivawood with a decent chance of getting back to winning ways. Richard Hannon’s colt boasts the best form having finished third in both the Newmarket and Irish 2000 Guineas behind Gleneagles and this represents a drop in grade for him. However, he has something to prove after a couple of disappointing efforts and I can’t get myself to back him at just 3/1. Instead, I’d rather take a chance on last year’s winner CAPTAIN CAT (11/1 Sky Bet), who would have needed his recent run at Salisbury behind Kodi Bear and whose stable continues in excellent form.
2.20 Kempton: totepool London Mile Handicap (Series Final), 1m
The final of this series is competitive as you’d expect but SPIRIT RAISER (11/2 Betfair) could give punters something to cheer about. She has hardly put a foot wrong all season and looked to be still progressing when landing a qualifier last time out in ready fashion. While she’s been hit by an 8lb rise, she may be improving fast enough to cope and become the eighth four-year-old winner in the last ten runnings. Early Morning is 11lb higher for winning at Haydock last time but he still rates the main danger, ahead of course and distance winner Mutawathea.
2.35 Haydock: Betfred Mobile Old Borough Cup (Handicap), 1m6f
It’s tempting to give the well regarded Battersea (non-runner) another chance to build on the abundant promise he showed last season, and he is surely better than he showed when finishing eighth in the race won by BLUE WAVE at Glorious Goodwood. However, that latter horse may again have his measure. Mark Johnston’s charge showed he was still on a competitive mark when third at Chester last time, doing best of the prominent racers, and he should fare even better on this more conventional track. His stable remains in fantastic form and connections have gone to the trouble of booking Joseph O’Brien, who is having his first ride for the yard and should suit the horse. All of which makes bet365’s 10/1 seem fair.
2.50 Ascot: Fly London Southend Airport Handicap (Qualifier For The Balmoral Handicap), 7f
Plenty that can be fancied in what is an ultra competitive handicap but the Chris Wall-trained MR WIN is clearly on a roll, having won his last two starts, and there may be more to come from him. Twice a winner last year, taking his mark from 65 to 92 in the process, he got his head back in front at Newmarket two starts back when rated 93 and followed up off 3lb higher when returned to the same track last time. The fact he doesn’t win by far each time makes him a hard horse for the handicapper to get a handle on and his trainer clearly thinks he can go on improving, saying in a recent Stable Tour that he hadn’t got to the bottom of him yet. That gives plenty of encouragement that he can land the hat-trick and provide us with an 8/1 (Betfair) payday.
3.10 Haydock: Betfred TV Be Friendly Handicap
I’m almost loathe to side with the forecast favourite in what looks a wide open sprint but Roger Varian’s MALJAA (6/1 Boylesports) is the least exposed of these and appears to have got off lightly for his last-time-out Doncaster success with just a 5lb rise. While he had just had half a length to spare over Chilworth Icon (a winner since) he travelled powerfully throughout and was always holding the runner-up once going on. First-time blinkers clearly played a part in that success and, providing they work a second time, he should make a bold bid to follow up. His in-form trainer has a near 1-3 strike rate at the track, while his rider Paul Hanagan is 1-4 when riding for the stable.
3.25 Ascot: Appletiser Handicap (Heritage Handicap), 1m4f
Sir Michael Stoute’s Dartmouth is sure to be popular despite a whopping 13lb rise for his latest success at Goodwood, where he looked a potential Group-race performer. He will have to be, though, to cope with another potential improver in WONDER LAISH, who absolutely hosed up when winning an admittedly weak Lingfield maiden last time and has been handed an initial mark of 87, which almost certainly underestimates him. Prior to that he’d finished runner-up to Richard Of Yorke and collateral form through that horse gives him the beating of Dartmouth, with the likelihood of more to come after just three starts. The 6/1 on offer at Boylesports looks more than fair.
3.45 Haydock: Betfred Sprint Cup (British Champions Series) (Group 1)
The big race of the day and I’ve already pinned my colours to the mast of Mick Appleby’s DANZENO, an 8/1 shot with bet365, for the reasons given here.
Back a winner at 4/1 or bigger in any of the above races with bet365 and they will give you a free bet to the same stake (up to £50 per customer per race) on the next race shown live on Channel 4. if that also wins at 4/1 or bigger, get another free bet and so on.