Our racing expert gives his verdict on the televised action.
1:45 Newbury 1m2f Dubai Duty Free Handicap (Class 2) (3yo+ 0-105)
With my long range fancy Adamant being scratched yesterday (keep him in your Tracker), it’s a case of back to the drawing board and the one that appeals most of the remaining 15 runners is John Gosden’s STYLEHUNTER. He’s hardly a dark horse given his progressive profile and powerful connections – he will have the services of Frankie Dettori – but is clearly on the upgrade and while this is tougher than the class 3 handicap he won at Goodwood (1m1f) last time, he’s 3lb well-in under his 5lb penalty. He’s been working well at home since – went well with lead according to the Newmarket gallop report in this week’s Weekender – and 13/2 with Ladbrokes is not to be sniffed at either. He’s a 12/1 with the same firm for next month’s Cambridgeshire and looks a likely type for that Newmarket contest.
2:00 Ayr 1m William Hill Supporting The Fight Against Parkinson’s Handicap (Class 2) (3yo+ 0-105)
This is wide open and it could be worth looking past those at the head of the market for some value, which comes in the shape of Charlie Hills’ PORTH SWTAN at bet365’s 10/1. As a winner of his three of his four starts this season, including the last twice, it’s fair to say he’s a progressive three-year-old with more scope than most of these. What makes him really interesting as a betting proposition is Hills’ positive comments in this week’s Weekender column, in which he said he can still be effective off his revised mark (90) and has improved again following some good work last week. He also believes that the soft ground will suit and has chosen this race for him rather than the 1m2f handicap, as that trip might stretch him in the testing conditions.
2:20 Newbury 1m3f Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup Stakes (Group 3) (Formerly The Arc Trial) (Class 1) (3yo+)
I’m loathe to desert Sir Michael Stoute’s Mirage Dancer as he did me a big turn when winning a Goodwood Group 3 when last seen out and the son of Frankel is just the sort of improving older horse that his master trainer excels with. However, today’s forecast cut in the ground has to be a worry as he’s been winning on faster and has met with defeat the only two times he has encountered a slow surface. At the current 13/8, he looks plenty skinny enough.
Last year’s winner Desert Encounter is a fair alternative but it could be worth taking a chance on the fitness of William Haggas’ YOUNG RASCAL on his first run back since a below-par seventh in the Epsom Derby. He was a single-figure price for that Classic having won his two previous starts, including when beating subsequent Derby runner-up Dee Ex Bee in the Group 3 Chester Vase, and that performance gives him a major form shout. His absence can be seen as a positive as he is a fresh horse and given his penchant for soft ground, he could be in for a profitable autumn. Getting the weight-for-age allowance of 6lb from the favourite, he has to be worth an interest at Ladbrokes’ 9/2 (100/30 in places at the time of writing).
2:40 Ayr 6f William Hill Ayr Silver Cup Handicap (Class 2) (3yo+)
This consolation is ridiculously competitive and rather than ramble on about the main protagonists I’ll cut straight to my idea of the winner, the Joseph Tuite-trained KIMIFIVE. I’ve been following the three-year-old’s progress all season and was lucky to be on him for both his wins at Windsor during the summer. I had a bigger bet on him when he was returned to that track for a valuable series final in August and while I picked up some place money, it should have been more as he was held up at the back and had to wait behind a wall of horses before delivering his challenge. On another day he might have won and while he could only finish sixth on his most recent outing, he had to be switched a couple of times and is probably better on a flatter track like this one.
The soft ground won’t bother him either as while he has done his winning on a faster surface, his best juvenile form was on ground with plenty of cut in it and it was riding ‘good to soft’ when he was beaten a neck at Newmarket in July. A further positive and the clincher for the bet is the form of his stable with Tuite sending out three winners from just 11 runners in the last fortnight. He has booked Eddie Greatrex to ride and his job has been made easier by being drawn in stall 15, which is away from either wing (not the place to be based on recent runnings). All of which makes him a cracking each-way bet at bet365’s 20/1 with five places up for grabs.
2:55 Newbury 6f Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes (Group 2) (Class 1) (2yo)
I doubt there is a standout performer amongst the nine runners and the top five on the ratings are covered by just 1lb. Likely favourite Shine So Bright has run well in 6f Group 2s all three starts since winning a Nottingham maiden in June, but he might need a stiffer test to get his head back in front and slight preference is for his former stablemate TRUE MASON. Karl Burke’s son of Mayson finished third in a French Group 2 two starts back and filled the same spot in the Group 1 Prix Morny on his most recent outing, when bumping into a couple of star fillies. That gives him major form claims and while he’s yet to encounter a soft surface, his sire was at his best in such conditions. He’ll for me at bet365’s 4/1.
3:15 Ayr 6f William Hill Firth Of Clyde Stakes (Group 3) (For The Ayrshire Agricultural Challenge Cup) (Fillies) (Class 1) (2yo)
Bookmakers are struggling to find a favourite for this and some are going 11/2 the field. It’s fair to say pretty much any of the 12 runners can win and while others are more experienced and have stronger form claims, it’s hard to resist a little each-way on relative outsider SUMMER DAYDREAM at bet365’s 14/1. The daughter of Footstepsinthesand belied her inexperience when thrashing some fair fillies on her racecourse debut at Carlisle just ten days ago, simply gliding clear after hitting the front, and she looks very well bought for just 6,500euros as a yearling. This is a quick turnaround but a trip to Ayr for this race has always been the back of her trainer Keith Dalgleish’s mind, as revealed in a Stable Tour this week, and she may be able to upstage her more fancied rivals.
3:30 Newbury 5f (5f34y) Dubai International Airport World Trophy Stakes (Group 3) (Class 1) (3yo+)
I see that bookmakers have installed Charlie Hills’ Equilateral as favourite and that’s understandable as he’s got a more progressive profile than some of these and he’s always been highly regarded. However, it was just a three-runner affair that he won as an odds-on chance at Leicester 11 days ago and this is considerably tougher, while the suspicion is that he is best caught fresh.
He may well win but at the odds I’d much have a little on Richard Fahey’s MR LUPTON at Hills’ 9/1 as this looks just the sort of race he can win. He’s certainly right up there on official ratings – he’s 1lb lower than the top-rated Judicial, who gives him 3lb – and has had excuses for well beaten efforts the last twice – he found the Group 1 Nunthorpe too hot two starts back and then appeared to get caught out by the stiff track at Beverly last time, having worked his way into a decent position from his wide draw. His previous form, which includes a Listed success at York in July, gives him major claims and this level track and likely strong gallop could prove ideal, as he loves picking off horses late on. While it’s old form now, it’s also worth mentioning that he finished a neck second (of 22) in the Listed Super Sprint run here as a juvenile. His trainer’s booking of Gerald Mosse, who was successful on him last year, the only time he has taken the reigns, is the icing on the cake for me.
3:50 Ayr 6f William Hill Ayr Gold Cup (Heritage Handicap) (Class 2) (3yo+)
I’ve given this race the full works here, selecting a couple against the field in MUNTADAB and TOMMY TAYLOR.
Newbury 1.45, Stylehunter @ 13/2 Ladbrokes
Ayr 2.00, Porth Swtan @ 10/1 bet365
Newbury 2.20, Young Rascal @ 9/2 Ladbrokes
Ayr 2.40, Kimifive each-way @ 20/1 bet365 (1/4 odds, 188.8.131.52.5)
Newbury 2.55, True Mason @ 4/1 bet365
Ayr 3.15, Summer Daydream each-way @ 14/1 bet365 (1/4 odds, 1.2.3)
Newbury 3.30, Mr Lupton @ 9/1 Hills
Ayr 3.50, Muntadab @ 16/1 Ladbrokes / Tommy Taylor @ 20/1 Ladbrokes
All odds were correct at time of posting.