Our racing tipster has marked your card for Saturday's TV action.
It’s a busy day’s racing with eight races being shown live on Channel 4 and our racing expert has run the rule over them all.
14:15 Newmarket – Ridgeons Fillies’ Nursery, 7f
This is competitive but SHOZITA looked above average when beating Texas Katie, a winner at Wolverhampton previously, on her Salisbury debut over 6f, and she should have no problem with this extra furlong. That she has an entry in the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes later in the season tells you she is considered better than a handicapper and connections can hardly quibble over her opening mark of 75, with their booking of Silvestre De Sousa an added bonus. She’s favourite – 5/2 best with Sky Bet – but a worthy one at that.
14:30 Newbury – Denford Stud Washington Singer Stakes (Listed) (Str), 7f
Of the five runners, only the Hugo Palmer-trained ESCOBAR (6/4 bet365) lines up unbeaten having scored over course and distance on his debut. Easy to back on that occasion after his trainer had said beforehand that he was more of a long term prospect and “a long way from being wound up”, it was encouraging to see him overcome a sluggish start to win nicely by two lengths and he’s clearly above average on that evidence. He’s well entered up later in the season, including the Group 1 Dewhurst, and this looks a good opportunity for him to continue his progress on route to potentially greater things.
14:45 Newmarket – Pantile Stud Grey Horse Handicap (Grey Horses Only), 6f
Best keep stakes to a minimum in this race purely for greys as there are question marks over most of them. Case Key, the likely favourite, is the only last-time-out winner in the field, but he needs 7f ideally and the leaders will have to go hard in front for him to follow up. Recent course and distance winner Syrian Pearl is another who needs a strong pace to aim at as she loves to come late, but one horse who looks sure to run his race whatever is Stuart Williams’ CREW CUT, a 5/1 shot with bet365. He’s become a regular in this, winning in 2013, finishing fourth 12 months later and second last year off 5lb higher, and he’s likely to bounce back after some recent uninspiring efforts in higher grade races.
15:05 Newbury – Betfred Geoffrey Freer Stakes (Group 3), 1m5f61y
Just the five runners and Sir Michael Stoute’s Kings Fete is odds-on across the board having made up for what looked an unlucky defeat at Royal Ascot by winning at this level over 1m4f at Glorious Goodwood last time. He’s clearly still on the up at the age of five and this longer trip should hold no terrors for him. However, due to the weight-for-age allowance he is conceding a stone to Epsom Derby fifth HUMPHREY BOGART, who is dropping in class having run in a Grade 1 at Belmont last time, when not beaten far by the winner Deauville, and he too should appreciate this longer trip. His trainer Richard Hannon was responsible for Census, the last three-year-old winner of this contest back in 2011. At 4/1 with Hills, he’s a shade of value to emulate that horse.
15:20 Newmarket – C J Murfitt Ltd Handicap, 6f
Plenty can be fancied in what is a wide open sprint handicap but Charlie Hills’ looks to have as good a chance as any and is a nice price at bet365’s 8/1. Highly tried (and perhaps overrated) after winning his maiden over track and trip last June, his handicap mark has now come back down to a more realistic level and he gave notice he was about to take advantage when a short head runner-up at Yarmouth last time. That effort can be upgraded as he got into a barging match with a loose horse and had to come round the pack to deliver his challenge, so a subsequent 1lb rise is more than fair. With his favoured fast ground assured and Silvestre De Sousa doing the steering, this is his big chance to shine. Mount Kiara, a recent course and distance winner off 5lb lower, and Udontdodou head the list of dangers.
15:40 Newbury – Betfred TV Ladies Day Handicap (Str), 7f
It’s tempting to forgive Von Blucher a below-par run at Ascot last time when a well-backed favourite as he had looked highly progressive when winning over a mile here previously. However, bookmakers are hardly giving him away at just 11/2 and we’re being asked to take the same price on Sir Michael Stoute’s Dollar Reward, who has gone up in the weights for finishing second the last twice and might need further besides.
I’d much rather take a chance on one at a double-figure price and I’ve landed on top weight CORNWALLVILLE, a 12/1 chance with BetVictor. A seven-time winner when trained in France, he has been campaigned largely over 6f since joining the North Yorkshire stable of David Loughnane, running his best race when beaten less than a length by the useful Intisaab in a Ayr handicap back in June. He looked in need of further on that occasion and at York last time (8th of 16 behind Kimberella), which is no surprise given he’s won over this trip and a mile twice previously. He might be an ideal type for the Ayr Gold Cup over 6f as they go so fast in that race, but today’s extra furlong certainly won’t do him any harm and I like the fact his trainer is in form and has snapped up the services of Adam Kirby, who is having his first ride for the stable. BetVictor’s 12/1 that it’s a winning one looks more than fair.
15:55 Ripon – William Hill Great St Wilfrid Stakes (Handicap), 6f
The draw has always been a big factor in this historic sprint handicap and recent results suggest middle to low is the place to be, with just one of the last ten winners exiting from a stall higher than 12 – the exception being Pepper Lane in 2011 in which year the first three all came from one of the highest four stalls. That horse was trained by David O’Meara, who repeated the trick with him 12 months later and also won the 2014 renewal with Out Do. He’s triple-handed this year but by far his best chance looks to be with INTISAAB, who hasn’t stopped improving this season and has run well in both previous course starts, including when scoring on good to soft ground over this trip in April. His full record in 6f handicaps on good to soft or faster going now reads 121212 (3-6) and he might have won the latest of those at York but for a poor draw. His jockey Shelley Birkett had to manoeuvre him across the track to get a good position and while she faces a similar dilemma here in stall 17, there is a chance that high numbers might come out in top (as happened five years ago) with plenty of pace on that side. Either way, he looks well worth chancing at the 9/1 on offer at bet365, who are paying out in five places.
Stewards’ Cup runner-up Orion’s Bow is an obvious danger and he will exit from stall nine, though he’s got plenty of weight after a further 3lb rise. Son Of Africa is back on an enticing mark and with his stable going great guns, he could well outrun his 20/1 bet365 price tag to reward each-way backers.
16:10 Newbury – Betfred Hungerford Stakes (Group 2) (Str), 7f
Convey returned to winning ways at Pontefract last time and in some style, though this is far tougher and he has a neck to find with HOME OF THE BRAVE on their running at Haydock in May, with the pair filling the first two places in that Group 3. Hugo Palmer’s charge has since finished a creditable second in a Group 2 at Goodwood, where his chance was compromised by not being allowed to adopt his usual front-running tactics, which meant he didn’t settle. Those tactics are likely to be reversed here and I fancy he can again take care of Convey as well as five other lower-rated rivals to reward backers at 6/4 (bet365).
All odds were correct at time of posting.