What are the best bets in Saturday's TV races?
Having put up winners at 11/2 16/1 and 4/1 here last Saturday, it could be worth taking note of our racing expert’s thought’s on today’s televised action.
14:40 Ascot – Albert Bartlett Handicap, 7f
John Gosden’s Von Blucher has been put in as an early 9/2 favourite and he’ll be the choice of many punters after bouncing back to form last time when just held in an equally competitive 7f handicap at Newbury. However, he looked there in need of a return to 1m, finishing best of all after a sluggish start, and he has now let favourite backers down five times in eight starts.
He’s swerved at the odds therefore in favour of the Newbury third, CHARLES MOLSON, who was just a nose away and is better off at today’s weights when you take his promising rider Mitch Godwin’s 7lb claim into account. The five-year-old had hinted at a return to top form when finishing fifth in a big-field handicap at Goodwood previously and, while he’s hardly a prolific winner (2-26), his next moment in the sun can’t be too far away. Given that he was a a close second (of 16) on his last to this track and with his stable in form (three winners from just seven runners in the last fortnight), that could well be today, though an each-way bet is advised at Paddy Power’s 16/1.
15:00 Haydock – 32Red Mile (Registered As The Superior Mile Stakes (Group 3), 1m
An open Group 3 with very little between the main protagonists on the ratings. Custom Cut just about comes out on top and this consistent sort should again run his race, while Convey should be suited by the return to a mile after staying on to be beaten just a neck in a Goodwood Group 3 only last weekend. Mitchum Swagger is another to have advertised his claims recently when not quite getting to the winner over a too sharp 7f on his all-weather debut at Chelmsford. He’s a tricky ride, though, and has to be delivered as late as possible.
Let’s take a chance on William Haggas having HATHAL fit enough for his return to action after a 351-day layoff, with 6/1 up for grabs at bet365. Judging by some fancy entries later in the season, he must have been pleasing his trainer at home and he did win first-time-out last season. He finished off 2015 in style too by winning a Listed contest at Newbury in good style, despite the 7f trip and not because of it. The return to a mile is what he needs and he’ll again have the services of Frankie Dettori, who has a 1-3 strike rate on the stable runners. Any rain that falls won’t harm his chances either as he handles cut.
15:10 Ascot – Appletiser Stakes (Heritage Handicap), 1m4f
Punters have enjoyed a good run in these Heritage Handicaps with several well-backed favourites obliging, and it could be a case of same again here as likely market leader DAL HARRAILD is quite potentially up to Group standard. Granted he only scrambled home in a Goodwood handicap last, but he had to overcome traffic problems to score and the upshot is that he’s only gone up 4lb. That still leaves him with top weight to carry with some promising/in-form beneath him, but his class can shine through and his stable continues in irresistible form. Take bet365’s 7/2.
Of the rest, Marcus Tregoning’s Dance The Dream is going the right the way and is at the right end of the handicap. She could reward each-way support at 14/1 with the same firm.
15:30 Haydock – 32Red Casino Handicap, 1m6f
Yet another ultra competitive handicap to fathom and we also have to factor in the distinct possibility of the forecast rain getting in and changing the going from the current good. Ebor runner-up Shrewd certainly won’t be inconvenienced and while he’s up another 2lb to a career-high mark, he’s never been better. He’s preferred to likely favourite Magic Circle, who is coming back in trip having looked stronger the further he went when winning over 2m last time, and York second Shakopee, who is stepping up from 1m4f and has his stamina to prove.
But bookmakers have all three well covered and I’d rather back one each-way at a price, with Karl Burke’s INTENSE TANGO making most appeal at Hills‘ 14/1. She has been in the form of her life since Clifford Lee came in for the ride, with the highly promising apprentice guiding her to victory at Musselburgh two starts back before narrowly failing to follow up in a decent Nottingham handicap last time. Both those runs were over this trip and she still looks feasibly weighted on a mark of 90, with Lee taking a valuable 7lb off her back. All her best flat form has been on good ground or better, admittedly, but she handled cut over hurdles, winning twice in that sphere.
15:45 Kempton – totescoop6 September Stakes (Group 3), 1m4f
Sir Michael Stoute’s Arab Spring is taking a big drop in class having finished out with the washing in last month’s King George won by Postponed and he’s already proven at this level, having won last season’s John Porter over this trip. He deserves to be favourite, but best odds of 13/8 don’t exactly get the pulse racing and especially as he’s making his all-weather debut.
Besides, he’s not even the top rated runner with that honour going to Godolphin’s Sky Hunter, though he is best watched on his first start for 305 days and with his stable still under a cloud. This might be a good opportunity then for the sole three-year-old runner and Harry Dunlop-trained ROBIN OF NAVAN to make an immediate impact on his return to these shores, having been trained in France for the past year and to great success. He won four times in all from seven Gallic starts, including a Group 1 at Saint-Cloud (1m2f) last November, for which he escapes a penalty due to the race conditions. He’s no stranger to this surface either as he made his debut here when with Dunlop initially and the in-form trainer can’t have any concerns about him staying this longer trip as he still has him in the St Leger. His booking of Silvestre De Sousa seals the bet at BetVictor’s 5/1.
16:00 Haydock – 32Red Be Friendly Handicap, 5f
A wide open sprint handicap but I spent less time searching for the winner than any previous races covered as DUTCH MASTERPIECE jumped off the page as a horse I’ve been waiting to reappear. I put him up as a bet for a race at the Shergar Cup meeting only for him to be declared a non-runner on the day. I’m not sure why but the reason for backing him here is the same as before, in that he’s a well handicapped horse on a mark 1lb lower than his last winning one and ran far better than his finishing position would suggest last time, having made a slow start and encountering trouble in-running.
I perhaps like him even more today as he’s reunited with George Baker, who was on board for his last win, and he has a course and distance victory to his name. When you factor in the fact his stable is in tremendous form with eight winners in the last fortnight – indeed, the last three runners have all won – he is simply crying out to be backed at bet365’s 11/1. But with luck in running sure to play a big part in a field of 17, an each-way bet is the way to go. Gay Kelleway’s Lightscameraaction and 2013 winner Congressional head the danger list.
16:15 Kempton – totepool London Mile Handicap (Series Final), 1m
John Gosden’s DOMMERSEN had a head to spare over William Haggas’ Afjaan when scoring over track and trip 17 days ago and the pair of progressive three-year-olds may again fight out the finish. Despite the narrow margin of victory, I reckon the winner can confirm the form as there was a lot to like about the manner in which he made up ground when reaching the cutaway, having not had the best of starts. Although he stays 1m2f, this test looked right up his street and given he’s had just six starts, it’s not unreasonable to think he has more improvement in him. Furthermore, the stable is in cracking form with the last 15 runners producing six winners and only one of those has finished outside the first three (came fourth). With an inside draw in stall one to boot, he looks a very worthy favourite at Hills’ 3/1.
16:30 Haydock – 32Red Sprint Cup Stakes (Group 1), 6f
Will Limato, the current 9/4 favourite, take his place in the field? That’s the question we have to ask and it all depends on the weather as he’s a fast-ground horse and the forecast is not encouraging in that respect. I wouldn’t blame any punters for waiting until much nearer the time when will know for certain before investing. But even if he does take his place, I’d be loathe to take such stingy odds and especially as this race may come a bit for him after his fine second in the Nunthorpe just 15 days ago. His trainer Henry Candy has expressed his own concerns about that timescale based on the fact he has run flat in the past when returning within three weeks. Admittedly, that is based on a couple of runs at the beginning of last season when Candy was unsure over whether he’d trained on, but it’s still a worry nonetheless.
A drop of rain would be ideal for the three-year-old filly Quiet Reflection as she’s a different beast when able to get her toe in, while Stewards’ Cup winner Dancing Star is another to consider and seems pretty versatile when it comes to the ground. However, I’m going to pin my heart to THE TIN MAN after he returned to winning form in a Group 3 at Newbury last time without Tom Queally having to get get too serious in the saddle. He was disappointing in the Group 1 Golden Jubilee before that, but he had endured a troubled preparation and he is from a family that improve with age. Described by his trainer James Fanshawe as a “very exciting horse” after the Newbury run, I’ve a feeling we’ve yet to see the best of him and the stable has been ticking along nicely in recent weeks. A return to Ascot in October for the Champions Sprint, in which he finished fourth behind Muhaarar in 2015, beckons and he’s already as short as 8/1 (the same price as Limato) for that, so he looks value at the same price with Coral to land this contest.
Fancy some free bets? Back a winner at 4/1 or bigger in any of the above Channel 4-televised races with bet365 and they will give you a free bet to the same stake on the next race shown live on Channel 4.
All odds were correct at time of posting.