Our racing expert marks your card for Saturday's racing.
Jumps fans will be looking forward to the two big handicaps at Market Rasen and these come under scrutiny here along with the rest of the Channel 4-televised action from Newbury and Newmarket – so a whopping eight races covered!
14:15 Market Rasen – Betfred TV Summer Handicap Hurdle (Listed), 2m148y
A typically open renewal and plenty of winning form to go on. Moabit has rattled off a quick four-timer and Paul Nicholls’ charge has been chalked up as favourite at around the 4/1 mark. However, he’s been going off at short prices (1/12 last time) to beat inferior opposition and this is going to be far tougher off a 10lb higher mark than his last handicap success.
I’m inclined to take him on and Richard Newland’s HASSLE makes most appeal of his 14 rivals. A 97-rated horse on the flat, he has taken to jumps well and made it 2-2 since going hurdling for his current stable at Uttoxeter just 11 days ago. That was just a novice but the runner-up Miss Crick was attempting a hat-trick and gives the form a solid look. His young rider Charlie Hammond, who can claim his full 10lb allowance today, said afterwards that he’d be better in a more strongly run race and that is pretty much assured. Off his low weight and representing last year’s winning stable, he should give us a good run for our money at Paddy Power’s 13/2.
14:30 Newbury – Bathwick Tyres EBF Breeders’ Series Fillies’ Handicap (Str), 1m
An intriguing fillies handicap with three last-time-out winners amongst them. A couple of those, Golden Stunner and Singyoursong, are going for hat-tricks and dispute favouritism with Goodwood maiden winner Alyday, who represents Sir Michael Stoute. However, all three are up in class and I’d much rather back Richard Hannon’s SHWAIMSA at bigger odds (7/1 BetVictor). She ran her best race since winning on her Haydock debut last September when third at Ascot eight days ago and she runs off the same mark here. Her trainer was very complimentary about her in a recent Stable Tour, saying he liked her a lot and that she had been working well (prior to the Ascot run), so I doubt we’ve seen the best of her yet.
14:45 Market Rasen – Betfred Summer Plate Handicap Chase (Listed), 2m5f89y
Bookmakers are betting 6/1 the field for this 16-runner handicap chase, so we’re assured of a good price if we can land on the winner. The class act amongst them is David Pipe’s Ballynagour, a former Cheltenham Festival winner and runner-up in the Grade 1 Betfred Bowl at Aintree, who ran his best race for a while when second in the Summer Cup at Uttoxeter last time.
He won’t be far away despite top weight, but the concession of 22lb to the ex-French CERNUNNOS might be just beyond him. Tom George’s charge got off the mark in Britain at Leicester in January and was then unlucky to bump into a couple of very well handicapped rivals on his next two starts, finishing second on both occasions. He hasn’t run since pulling up in a hot handicap at the Aintree Grand National meeting, but he’s likely been freshened up for this valuable prize, which his owner JP McManus always likes to have a crack at, and is reunited with Barry Geraghty, who will have sweated down to do his lowest riding weight (10st 4lb) in the last 12 months. Best going right-handed over this trip and on goodish ground, the six-year-old has plenty in his favour and not least his price of 10/1 (Boylesports).
15:00 Newbury – bet365 Stakes (Listed) (Registered As The Steventon Stakes), 1m2f6y
Charlie Appleby’s Scottish has been put in as a best-priced 6/4 favourite and it’s easy to see why as he showed progressive form last season for David Simcock after winning his maiden over track and trip, and made an encouraging debut for his current stable when third behind Time Test in the Group 3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes back in May. This is a drop in grade then and given he has a Group 1 entry for later in the season, it’ll be disappointing if he can’t take advantage.
He certainly makes more appeal than GM Hopkins, who may find the trip stretching his stamina, and Ascot Gold Cup winner Trip To Paris, who is better over further. Improving handicapper Spark Plug has to be considered but if there is a fly in the ointment it could be Paul Cole’s BERKSHIRE. He’s yet to recapture his brilliant two-year-old form in two runs this season, but that he went off as favourite at Deauville last time suggests he’d been showing something at home, and connections are now reaching for first-time blinkers. If they have the desired effect, he could reward each-way support at bet365’s 14/1 (1/4 odds) with his stable going well.
15:15 Newmarket – Nexus Infrastructure Handicap, 1m
An open heat but Sir Michael Stoute’s GRAND INQUISITOR has been working his way back to form in three runs this season and wasn’t beaten far into second at over slightly further at Windsor last time on ground softer than ideal. Today’s conditions should be far more to his liking and the progressive four-year-old can reward backers at bet365’s 4/1.
Michael Bell’s Franklin D may give him most to do. He looked certain to score when going clear at Sandown last time only to be worn down close home and he is still feasibly treated if able to reproduce that effort.
15:35 Newbury – bet365 Hackwood Stakes (Group 3), 6f8y
The Tin Man was bitterly disappointing when carrying my money in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes run over a track and trip he’d won over previously and, while connections were inclined to blame the soft ground, that effort leaves him with something to prove here. That’s not to say he won’t bounce back this afternoon but I’d want bigger than the current 3/1 before supporting him again.
His main rival according to the betting is Charlie Appleby’s Charming Thought, who ran an encouraging fourth at Salisbury last time on his first run back since winning the Middle Park in 2014. He’s been given plenty of time to get over that and escapes a penalty for that Group 1 success, so he should be bang in the mix.
However, there are several three-year-olds in the line up capable of making their presence felt and IBN MALIK should go close to giving his trainer Charlie Hills a double following the success of stablemate Strath Burn 12 months ago. A decent juvenile, he showed the benefit of a breathing operation when landing the Free Handicap on his reappearance and then posted a solid fourth in the Jersey Stakes on his next start when ground conditions were slower than ideal. Given how well he travelled in that 7f race and that he was only headed in the final furlong, he should have no problem dropping back a furlong and his trainer reports him really well in himself and in good form at home. Take Hills’ 6/1.
The Clive Cox-trained PRICELESS, another three-year-old and one of two fillies in the race, has already placed at this level and beat all bar the smart Dancing Star in a hot handicap over course and distance last time. She could reward each-way support at bet365’s 25/1.
15:50 Newmarket – Newsells Park Stud Stakes (Fillies’ Listed) (Registered As The Aphrodite Stakes), 1m4f
Miss Marjurie is the top-rated filly on her Group 3 success at Haydock last season, but she’s yet to recapture that sort of form in two runs this term and preference is for Sir Michael Stoute’s SHALL WE, who is clear second best on the ratings and can be backed at a perfectly fair 9/2 (Ladbrokes). An easy winner at Salisbury on her penultimate start, she ran really well when fifth in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot, racing keenly in the lead and then keeping on well for pressure once headed. This represents a drop in class and there should be more to come from her after just four starts.
Taqaareed, a full sister of 2014 Oaks winner Taghrooda and an impressive maiden winn er when stepped up to this trip last time, is feared most.
16:10 Newbury – Weatherbys Super Sprint, 5f34y
A typically large field for the day’s feature at Newbury and you can make a case for plenty. Keith Dalgleish’s Clem Fandango is arguably the form pick on her second in Beverley’s Hilary Needler and third in Royal Ascot’s Queen Mary last time, albeit a long way behind the winner Lady Aurelia. Clearly blessed with plenty of speed and carrying a low weight here due to her cheap purchase price, she looks a worthy favourite at around the 9/2 mark.
However, given the competitive nature of the race I’m going to take a flyer on one at a big price, with Sylvester Kirk’s SIMMIE fancied to outrun her 20/1 price tag with bet365, who are paying out on four places at a quarter of the odds. She is proving a real bargain for connections having been purchased for £3k, which was more than covered by first prize in a turf maiden at Lingfield in June. She went on to finish fifth in the Queen Mary and that form leaves her two lengths to find on Clement Fandango. That’s entirely possible, though, as she came from a long way back and was not helped by being carried right under pressure. The combination of an extra furlong and heavy ground found her out at Newmarket last time, and the return to 5f and better ground is what she needs.
There’s more to like as her in-form trainer spoke highly of her in a recent Stable Tour, saying she will certainly win a nice race, and he had a nice two-year-old winner at the track on Friday. Plus, he should know what’s required to win this race having sent out Elhamri to score in 2006 and he has booked Jimmy Quinn, who will be riding at his lowest racing weight (8st) in the last 12 months. I’m hopeful the partnership can at least finish in the places.
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.