What are the best bets at Newmarket and Market Rasen on Saturday?
What a cracking day’s racing on the box! We have the Royal Lodge, Cheveley Park, Middle Park and Cambridgeshire one after the other, while jumps fans get to watch a couple of nice handicaps at Market Rasen. Here’s my take on the action.
14:20 Newmarket – Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes (Group 2), 1m
Aidan O’Brien has whittled his team down to two and Douglas Macarther appears to be the number one hope on jockey bookings, with Ryan Moore in the plate. His maiden win hasn’t really worked out, though, with the second and fourth being beaten since, and he was well beaten into third when sent off at odds-on on his next start. I’m inclined to take him on at just 3/1 and I’m hardly rushing to back Godolphin’s Best Of Days at 9/4 either as while he was impressive when landing his maiden on the all-weather last time, the bare form doesn’t amount to much.
Mark Johnston’s MONTATAIRE is the most experienced runner in the field having had seven starts, winning four of those, and like many of the stable juveniles he is thriving on his racing. A comfortable winner over 7f on the July Course here back in July, he looked even better when stepped up to a mile at Salisbury on his latest start when making all to win by five lengths. Granted he enjoyed an uncontested lead in front at the Wiltshire track and this is tougher, but he could prove hard to catch if Joe Fanning can again dictate his own pace and bet365’s 5/1 looks fair. He could be a back to lay in-running proposition if that’s your thing.
14:35 Market Rasen – 188bet.co.uk Prelude Handicap Hurdle (Listed), 2m 148y
Dan Skelton’s RED TORNADO looks the one to beat in this Listed hurdle after winning five on the bounce, including another Listed contest over course and distance last time on similar ground. Still only four, he may well be still improving and in that case an 8lb rise might not stop him going in again, especially as most of that is taken care of by Bridget Andrews 5lb claim. Last year’s winner Clonacool has likely been trained with a repeat in mind and is just 3lb higher this afternoon, but I’d still rather be on the Skelton runner and 11/4 (Paddy Power) doesn’t look a bad price given his progressive profile.
14:55 Newmarket – Connolly’s Red Mills Cheveley Park Stakes (Fillies’ Group 1), 6f
This Group 1 revolves around Lady Aurelia and whether she can reproduce the brilliant form she showed when landing the Queen Mary in ridiculously easy fashion. She was less impressive when taking her unbeaten run to three in a Deauville Group 1 last time, though to be fair she was always in command and her trainer Wesley Ward has been sounding bullish this week about her chances back against her own sex. Even so she’s no betting proposition at just 4/5 (Paddy Power) and Lowther winner QUEEN KINDLY is sure to throw down a challenge. She’s 3lb worse off with the York runner-up Roly Poly, but her devastating turn of foot will make it difficult for her more stoutly bred rival to reverse the placings and her trainer Richard Fahey clearly thinks he has something special on his hands, describing her as the filly of his lifetime. The 10/3 on offer at Hills is just big enough to tempt me in.
15:10 Market Rasen – 188Bet Prelude Handicap Chase (Listed)
This is more like it, a 12-runner handicap chase with some bookies going 5/1 the field. There are no less than six last-time-out winners amongst them and the handicapper may not have caught up with the likes of Father Edward and Wadswick Court, both scorers at Cartmel last month, while Vintage Vinnie, who enjoyed a confidence-booster over hurdles last time, is on a good mark for his return to fences. The worry with him, though, is that all four of his wins (one a point-to-point) have come first time out and it remains to be seen whether he can build on his latest success.
He has gone from the front in the past and that’s another concern as several of these either made all or were ridden prominently when scoring of late. If similar tactics are deployed here, we could see several horses taking each other on for the lead and they could set the race up for a horse ridden more patiently.
That horse might be the Emma Lavelle-trained and Aidan Coleman-ridden FOX APPEAL, who is nicely treated on some old form, being 8lb lower than when fourth in the 2014 version of this race, and showed something like his true colours when runner-up in a decent handicap at Newbury when last seen out in the spring. I’m not too concerned by his absence since as the stable runners often go well fresh and he’s likely been trained with this valuable prize in mind. Best going right-handed and on good ground (tick and tick), he’ll more then do for me at Ladbrokes’ 6/1.
15:30 Newmarket – Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes (Group 1), 6f
Punters are faced with another short-priced favourite in Charlie Appleby’s BLUE POINT, who is a best-priced 11/8 with Betfair, and his credentials are hard to knock. He showed himself to be a top-class 6f juvenile when an explosive winner of the Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes last time and may well have improved past his nearest rival in the betting, Mehmas, who beat him at Goodwood previously when clearly better suited to that undulating track. The flatter, more galloping terrain at York showed the selection in a much better light and similarly Newmarket should play to his strengths too, so I’d expect him to reverse Goodwood form with Mehmas and land his biggest success to date.
But this is no two horse race and with the front pair taking a huge chunk out of the market there is scope for an each-way bet. We’re not short of contenders but it seems the layers are not giving enough respect to one horse in particular, the Mark Johnston-trained THE LAST LION, who is available at 25/1 with BetVictor. He has been on the go since winning the Brocklesby back in early April, but he’s thrived on his racing and his latest efforts, an easy Group 3 success followed by a close second to Ardad in a Group 2 despite losing an iron at the start, we’re his best yet. A thoroughly reliable and consistent performer, he should give backers a run for their money and it would be no surprise to see him hit the frame.
16:10 Newmarket – Betfred Cambridgeshire (Heritage Handicap), 1m1f
The Cambridgeshire has always had its fair share of specialists and last year’s winner Third Time Lucky, a general 10/1 favourite, should make a bold bid to retain his crown, although he’d be the first back-to-back winner since Prince Des Galles in 1970. Bronze Angel is another horse to have shown himself perfectly suited to the unique demands of this race, winning it twice (2012 & 2014), one of six horses to achieve that feat, but the handicapper isn’t showing him much respite at the age of seven and that comment also applies to 2013 winner Educate.
There are better treated runners in the field for sure and they include another course and distance winner, the James Fanshawe-trained KNIGHT OWL. He’s a six-year-old with 29 starts under his belt, but it usually pays to concentrate on those with higher mileage and definitely with plenty of handicap experience. He has that in spades and what’s really to like is that he has looked as good as ever in three runs this term and, indeed, posted a career-best when just failing to hold off Treasury Notes in a highly competitive handicap at Ripon last time. He’s running off the same mark this afternoon and is just 4lb higher than when scoring over track and trip in April, which took his record in handicaps in the Rowley Mile to 431. With regular pilot George Wood claiming 5lb off his back, he appears to have plenty going for him and he’ll be carrying the bulk of my each-way money at bet365’s 18/1 with five places up for grabs.
At the same time it’s hard to resist having a little each-way on Mick Appleby’s BANCNUANAHEIRANN at a massive 66/1 with BetVictor, who also go five places. He’s another course and distance winner – spot the theme – with his success coming in the 2013 Silver Cambridgeshire. Yes, that was three years ago but he looked as good as ever when winning back-to-back races at Chelmsford last autumn off higher marks and, having been campaigned at Meydan in the spring, he was beaten only a length into fourth on his return to action at Ascot in August. This race has long been his target according to his trainer, who reported him to be in “great form” in a recent Stable Tour and sent out Mithqaal to land Friday’s consolation race at 14/1.
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 (up to £50 per customer per race) on the next race shown live on Channel 4.
Newmarket 2.20, Montataire @ 5/1 bet365
Market Rasen 2.35, Red Tornado @ 3/1 BetVictor
Newmarket 2.55, Queen Kindly @ 10/3 Hills
Market Rasen 3.10, Fox Appeal @ 6/1 Ladbrokes
Newmarket 3.30, Blue Point @ 11/8 Betfair / The Last Lion each-way @ 25/1 BetVictor
Newmarket 4.10, Knight Owl each-way @ 18/1 bet365 (1/4 odds, 188.8.131.52.5) / Bancnuanaheirann each-way @ 66/1 BetVictor (1/4 odds, 184.108.40.206.5)