Every week we bring you tips of the weeks best horse racing. The tips run every Saturday – hence the name – and cover every race that’s televised on live TV in the UK. Normally there are six or seven races shown on ITV4, although this can vary slightly throughout the year. Tips are added each Friday afternoon.
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ITV Racing Tips for 23rd October 2021 (Cheltenham, Newbury & Doncaster)
This weekend sees the finale of the Flat racing season with the Vertem Futurity Trophy meeting at Doncaster. The big race itself is supported by the Doncaster Stakes with both giving racing fans a glimpse into the future as some of the best two-year-olds around will be competing. Newbury also has a couple of quality races on the level being shown but, for many, the pick of the action comes from Cheltenham’s first meeting of the new National Hunt season with five live races on ITV Racing.
Whether you prefer Flat or jumps racing or are a big fan of both, there is a lot to get your teeth stuck into with this week’s Saturday Racing Tips. With a massive 10 races from the three tracks we think this is a weekend for sitting in front of the TV and bagging some winners! We’ve gone through the runners and riders for all 10 to pick out our best bets below.
1:45 NHS Vaccinating Heroes Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle
Class 3, 2m½f
The two-day meeting at Cheltenham that ends on Saturday is known as the Showcase Meeting. The name highlights the idea that this is a chance for horses to showcase their chances of winning the bigger races to come over the season ahead. The expectation is that Samarrive will do exactly that for the Paul Nicholls team by winning the first ITV Racing race of the day at solid looking odds of 11/4.
The obvious challenge for Samarrive is that he has to try and prove that he is a cut above the competition in this handicap hurdle off a mark of 132. On the basis of his bare form, there is no way he should be that high in the ratings already but visually his run was very taking. Samarrive is an exciting four-year-old who could contest some high class races this season and he should get the better of his rivals on Saturday.
2:00 Virgin Bet Horris Hill Stakes
Group 3, 7f
Light Infantry is a very interesting entry in the Horris Hill Stakes. Although he won as he liked on debut, despite showing signs of greenness, the suggestion at the time was that David Simcock would find another novice for him to run in. The fact that he is running in a Group 3 against the impressive Noble Truth suggests that his work at home has continued to be of a very high standard.
Noble Truth is clearly the one to beat as he is a Listed winner and finished second in a Group 1 on heavy ground at Longchamp last time out. However, 3/1 just looks a very good price about Light Infantry who will relish the step up in trip and has a pedigree that suggests heavy ground won’t be much of a problem, if any.
2:20 888Sport What’s Your Thinking Handicap Chase
Class 2, 3m1f
It may have ended in disappointment with the way things panned out in the Grand National but last season was wonderful for Cloth Cap and everybody connected to him. The nine-year-old delighted his owner Trevor Hemmings with two wins including the Ladbrokes Trophy and after the popular Hemmings passed away recently it would be a really heart-warming story were Cloth Cap to bounce back with a win at Cheltenham, the local course for his trainer, Jonjo O’Neill.
Clearly, Cloth Cap’s run up the handicap ratings and into Graded company is last year’s news. He has it all to do off a mark of 156 and top weight but Frodon won this race off 11st 12lb last year and if Cloth Cap runs to form then he can do likewise. If you’re not keen on backing Cloth Cap to win at a best price of 13/2, consider an each way play on Cool Mix at big odds of 14/1. This is a decent horse who will be aimed at the big staying handicaps for the remainder of the season and should go close here.
2:35 Virgin Bet St Simon Stakes
Group 3, 1m4f
The St Simons Stakes usually includes some very good three-year-olds who are being tested in open company. Half of the last 10 renewals have gone the way of three-year-olds and it’s another, Siskany, who is warm order for this year’s race and one that we cannot really oppose at the current odds.
After Siskany’s win in the Old Rowley Cup, Charlie Appleby called him a “progressive handicapper in the making and (he) could even be a Listed or Group 3 performer.” The market clearly agrees on his Group 3 debut as he is the 5/6 favourite at Newbury. He will have to contend with heavy ground and some hardened, quality performers such as Ilaraab and Morando. However, he should have no issues with the going and the 6lb weight for age allowance he gets should be enough for Siskany’s progression to continue unchecked.
2:55 Masterson Holdings Hurdle
Class 2, 2m½f
Tritonic is one of the big names out at Cheltenham on Saturday. For all that he was a disappointment when given a big build up in last season’s Triumph Hurdle, connections still harbour very high hopes about his chances of being a top quality hurdler. Adrian Heskin, who is back on board as Tritonic returns from a couple of runs on the Flat, will hope his mount can coast round before making the most of his pace to pull away from his rivals.
Connections of I Like To Move It would have been very happy with the heavy rain that fell on Cheltenham earlier this week. He has already got off the mark this season on good to soft ground and, with the long term goal being three mile chasing, he would enjoy soft ground. However, the drainage at Cheltenham is excellent so the going is set to be good on Saturday, giving Tritonic the perfect platform to utilise his pace and win at odds of 11/10 that we feel offer just enough value.
3:15 Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes
Group 1, 1m
The trainers of every horse in the field for the Vertem Futurity Trophy would dearly love to get the win on Saturday. This is a race that often goes the way of a top class runner while it is well worth noting the calibre of horses who have failed to win this Group 1. The likes of Roaring Lion, Circus Maximus and Saxon Warrior have all fallen short in recent years and it could well be that the horse who goes on to have the best career gets beaten once again this year.
Luxembourg is the clear favourite at a price of just 10/11 and Ballydoyle have pretty high hopes about his chances of success next year. However, he is making just his third appearance on Saturday and may lack the required hardiness to help ease Aidan O’Brien’s current poor run. In contrast, Royal Patronage has already proven himself to have real heart. He’s won his last three races at 3/1, 25/1 and 7/2, going up in class with each run. Last time he managed to win despite a change in tactics from his jockey Jason Hart, as things didn’t pan out in running and that partnership can end their season on the highest of highs with a Grade 1 win at 4/1.
3:30 888Sport Handicap Chase
Class 2, 2m
Sky Pirate is, like Cloth Cap and others at Cheltenham on Saturday, having to carry a big weight on his seasonal return. The top weight in this minimum distance chase has the class to get this field beaten were they to run off level weights but 11st 12lb could just be too much of a burden first time out. Of course, he has a chance, but for us, at the prices, we prefer a longer odds each way option.
Before Midnight is the horse that most will choose to take on the favourite but he too is returning after a lengthy break. Therefore, Hatcher could be the wise choice after a busy and successful summer jumps campaign. The ground is starting to turn a bit against Dan Skelton’s eight-year-old but he’ll get a decent surface at Cheltenham and this reliable type should be able to claim a place at least at a tempting 14/1.
3:50 Virgin Bet Doncaster Stakes
It’s not at the level of the Vertem Futurity Trophy but the field for the Doncaster Stakes always includes some potentially smart two-year-olds who will have much more to give in the coming years. In terms of experience, Flaming Rib sets the standard. He’s been busy since making his debut and heads to Doncaster having secured a hat-trick of wins. That run of form makes him the one to beat according to the bookies but he is short enough at 13/8 so it could be worth taking a bit of a chance on one of the horses with less experience who could make rapid improvement.
At a double-digit price of 10/1, Parisiac makes appeal for each way support. He went off without much backing at all on his debut in Nottingham but he got the job done in taking fashion at the massive odds of 33/1. Gianluca Sanna was perhaps the only person not surprised with the win as he rides Parisiac every day and they can resume their partnership on course with another big showing.
4:05 Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle
Class 2, 3m
Thoroughbred horses are incredible athletes but they can be precocious and fragile too. They are particularly prone to suffering with breathing issues so corrective wind surgery can have an impact on a horse that is close to transformative. Connections of Push The Tempo are hopeful that will be the case with the eight-year-old, who looked as good as ever when winning his first run of the season last month.
Getting that run under his belt is only going to be a positive for the 16/1 shot. Improvements in his breathing will also help as he continues to run and make steps up in trip and 3m no longer looks too much of an ask. Push The Tempo is not the best horse in the field but he could be the best prepared for this race even if an each way bet is the best play.
4:20 Virgin Bet Handicap
Class 2, 5f
The final race of the day is a 5f handicap which should come down to more than just raw speed. Doncaster has not missed the heavy rain seen in large parts of the country so it could be gruelling if there is early pace in the race.
The difficulty of conditions could mean that Raasel has a real advantage carrying bottom weight, despite the fact that he is 4lb out of the handicap. That does mean that he is competing at a higher level than he has before, but the way that Michael Appleby’s four-year-old has progressed with three wins in a row suggests he is ready. Raasel’s chances are further enhanced by the booking of Adam Farragher who claims 5lb, making things look much more manageable, so 6/1 is a very fair price.
- ITV Racing Tips for 16th October 2021 (Ascot)
- ITV Racing Tips for 9th October 2021 (Newmarket, & York)
- ITV Racing Tips for 2nd October 2021 (Newmarket, Ascot & Redcar)
- ITV Racing Tips for 25th September 2021 (Newmarket & Haydock)
- ITV Racing Tips for 18th September 2021 (Ayr & Newbury)
- ITV Racing Tips for 11th September 2021 (Doncaster, Chester & Leopardstown)
- ITV Racing Tips for 4th September 2021 (Haydock, Kempton & Ascot)
- ITV Racing Tips for 28 August 2021 (Goodwood, Beverley & Newmarket)
- ITV Racing Tips for 21st August 2021 (York & Sandown)
- ITV Racing Tips for 14 August 2021 (Newbury, Newmarket & Ripon)
Saturday Racing Highlights
The hope for many of the owners in racing is that their horse is able to progress up the handicap ratings so they get a run in one of the big Saturday handicaps that take place all year round. Big field handicaps play an important role on the best Saturday meetings on the flat and over jumps as do prestigious Graded and Group level races.
Saturday usually brings the best racing of the week but not all Saturdays are equal. There are some real highlights in the horse racing calendar which we have detailed for you below. There is huge variety in terms of what we see, with the most famous NH contest in the world, Saturday at Royal Ascot and a number of Classics. Saturday racing highlights also include certain trials days, as well as standalone contests that may not have quite the same global appeal as, say, the Grand National, but are really big fixtures in the UK none the less.
Major Saturday Meetings
As you can see from this table, there is a great variety of races and meetings on Saturday for racing fans and punters to get their teeth stuck into. What’s more, with big meetings taking place every single month of the year, the wait for exciting racing should never be too hard to bear!
|Festival Trials Day||Cheltenham||January|
|Clarence House Chase||Ascot||January|
|Ascot Chase Day||Ascot||February|
|The Grand National||Aintree||April|
|Scottish Grand National||Ayr||April|
|Jumps Finale||Sandown Park||April|
|The Derby||Epsom Downs||June|
|King George Weekend||Ascot||July|
|Sprint Cup||Haydock Park||September|
|Ayr Gold Cup||Ayr||September|
|British Champions Day||Ascot||October|
|Vertem Futurity Trophy||Doncaster||October|
|The November Meeting||Cheltenham||November|
|Fighting Fifth Hurdle||Newcastle||November|
|Tingle Creek Chase||Sandown Park||December|
Festival Trials Day, Cheltenham
The biggest and most prestigious NH festival in the world takes place Tuesday to Friday in March but Cheltenham Trials Day is a major stepping stone towards the big one. This really marks the countdown to the Festival and sees a cracking day of racing.
It is also a great day to keep your racing notebook handy. In 2019, for example, Frodon, Paisley Park and Siruh Du Lac all delivered the goods on Trials Day before doubling up on the third day of the Festival a couple of months later. The card is full of interesting contests but the JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial, the Ballymore Classic Novices’ Hurdle, the Cleeve Hurdle and the feature, the Cotswold Chase, are the main highlights.
Clarence House Chase, Ascot
As well as its huge flat meeting later in the year, Ascot hosts some top notch NH racing at the start of the year and Clarence House Chase Day is certainly a brilliant Saturday of jumps horseracing. The feature is the 2m1f Grade 1 that lends its name to the day and is a great indication of who to look out for in the Champion Chase at Cheltenham. Seven horses have doubled up, including Sprinter Sacre and Altior.
Of course, the rest of the day’s card doesn’t quite live up to that, but the Mares’ Hurdle, a relatively recent addition and a Grade 2, and the Grade 3 Holloway’s Handicap Hurdle are the main supporting cast.
Ascot Chase Day, Ascot
The Ascot Chase is the last of three Grade 1 jumps contests held at the Berkshire course each year. Won by Kauto Star and twice by Cue Card, this is a really classy affair, with winners of this also often taking big prizes at Cheltenham the following month.
As well as the eponymous race, this Saturday, typically in mid-February, hosts a number of other really interesting races as well. The Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase, a Grade 2 run over three miles, is a key contest for those hoping to thrive in the RSA Chase at Cheltenham. Also, look out for the Swinley Chase, a handicap that is always a great betting heat.
Winter Derby, Lingfield
The Winter Derby is one of the highlights of the year at Lingfield in Surrey. A Group 3, it is run on Lingfield’s all-weather surface and is one of the biggest winter contests for racing fans who like their action on the flat. Run over 1m2f, it was established in 1998 and is one of a very limited number of Group class races not to take place on turf.
Frankie Dettori has won the day’s feature race a record four times and he also has a win in the day’s other major race, the Hever Sprint Stakes. The Italian won that aboard No Time in 2004.
The Grand National, Aintree
The Grand National is the biggest race in all of British horseracing. It is the one race of the year that does more than any other to draw the attention of fans outside of racing to the sport. It is the feature race of the Grand National Festival at Aintree and comes on the final of the three days, always a Saturday.
It isn’t just about the big one though and other big races of the day include three Grade 1s – the Mersey Novices’ Hurdle, the Maghull Novices’ Chase and the Ryanair Stayers Hurdle. It’s the marathon four mile two and a half furlong Grand National that draws the fans to the Merseyside track and sees millions tune from around the world though.
Scottish Grand National, Ayr
The Grand National at Aintree isn’t the only prestigious, long distance handicap of the year that takes place on a Saturday. The Scottish Grand National at Ayr follows its equivalent on Merseyside by just a few weeks. Several horses who ran at Aintree also contest the Scottish Grand National but the legendary Red Rum is the only horse to complete the double.
The Scottish Grand National features around 30 horses, all of which have to slog it around the 4 mile 1 furlong circuit (or as far as they can go before falling or being pulled up). It is always a fascinating watch and a race full of each way opportunities for punters.
Jumps Finale, Sandown Park
By the time April rolls around spring is very much in the air, which means racing fans are starting to turn their attention from jumps to the flat. The two-day Jumps Finale meeting at Sandown is a great way to celebrate the National Hunt season with some very big races taking place on Saturday including the Celebration Chase, the Gold Cup and the Select Hurdle.
Big name trainers like to send some of their top string to Sandown for one last hurrah before taking a break over the summer, but the Jumps Finale is also a chance for some improving sorts to lay down a marker for next season.
2,000 Guineas, Newmarket
The build-up to and early stages of the new Flat racing season always revolve around Newmarket in May for the first Classics of the season. The 2,000 Guineas is that first Classic, featuring a selection of the best three-year-old colts in training. Run over 1 mile, this historic race has been won by some of the best horses of all time since its inauguration all the way back in 1809.
The 2,000 Guineas always takes place on a Saturday in May and is followed by the fillies’ equivalent, the 1,000 Guineas, the next day. The day’s racing also includes the Palace House Stakes (a Group 3 sprint) and the Dahlia Fillies’ States (a Group 2 held over 1 mile 2 furlongs).
Lockinge Day, Newbury
The Lockinge is one of the major highlights at Newbury, a Group 1 of around a mile that includes the likes of Brigadier Gerard, Cape Cross and Frankel on the roll of honour. Held in mid-May, this is the clear highlight of the day and is the course’s only top level race on the calendar.
The Group 3 Aston Park Stakes is another one to watch out for on the day though, the one and a half mile race won back to back in 2018 and 2019 by Crystal Ocean. With a nice mix of other contests, including a couple of listed races, this is definitely a great Saturday to make a trip to Newbury.
The Derby, Epsom
The Derby is the second colts’ Classic of the season. Like the 2,000 Guineas, the Derby is open only to three-year-olds but is a markedly different race. For a start, the Derby takes place over 1½ miles so is a significantly tougher test of stamina. Then there are the severe undulations at Epsom that make life all the more challenging for the horses. Having the speed and early season fitness for the 2000 Guineas and then following that up with the stamina to win the Derby is the mark of an absolute star.
The Derby is arguably the most prestigious flat race in the entire world. It is certainly a contest that all owners, trainers and breeders want to have on their CV so it often sees international entries. Each of the jockeys competing in the Derby dream of winning it but they’re also enthused by some of the other races on the June card at Epsom including the Princess Elizabeth Stakes, the Diomed Stakes and the fillies’ Classic, the Oaks, which takes place the following day.
Royal Ascot, Ascot
There is no Flat racing meeting quite like Royal Ascot. It is Britain’s most valuable meeting by far, with over £7 million of prize money given out across its five days. The final day falls on Saturday and is massively popular with the racegoing public and those who prefer to watch on from the comfort of their own homes.
The organisers at Ascot like will often make changes to the schedule of the five days but they always ensure that there are several top class races to bring the curtain down on Saturday. The Diamond Jubilee Stakes, Coronation Stakes and Wokingham Handicap have all played key roles on the final day of Royal Ascot in recent years but whatever the exact lineup, it is always a cracker.
Northumberland Plate, Newcastle
When Newcastle Racecourse decided to rip up its flat turf course and replace it with an all-weather layout there were more than a handful of dissenting voices. It is fair to say the decision has proven to be a wise one though as Newcastle now hosts a string of excellent all-weather contests whilst important historical races such as the Northumberland Plate have been given a new lease of life.
The Northumberland Plate is one of the richest 2 mile handicaps in Flat racing. It is always a hugely entertaining race and the betting is incredibly competitive. That has remained the case with the race taking place on the new Tapeta surface, even if it wasn’t one of those races threatened by unsuitable ground, taking place as it does in either late June or early July.
Eclipse Stakes, Sandown Park
Sandown Park hosts some top class Flat and National Hunt racing. When it comes to the summer months there is no bigger race at Sandown than the Eclipse Stakes (also known as the Coral-Eclipse). Named after one of racing’s early superstars from the 18th century, the Eclipse is a prestigious Group 1 race that takes place over the exact distance of 1 mile 1 furlong and 209 yards. It always hosts a high class field and is supported by a good card including the Coral Charge, Coral Distaff and some valuable handicaps.
Mill Reef, Brigadier Gerard, Sadler’s Wells and Sea The Stars are just some of the equine legends to have landed the Eclipse in its long history. With a handsome purse up for grabs a top class field is guaranteed so this really is an excellent Saturday of racing.
July Festival, Newmarket
The July Festival isn’t at the same level as Royal Ascot but it is still a very important fixture on the Flat racing calendar. It was originally a midweek fixture but has been moved later in the week so that it now ends on a Saturday. The highlight on Saturday for many is the July Cup, a Group 1 sprint which can often throw up a surprise result. Those who prefer the opportunities presented by big field handicaps are also well catered for, with the Bunbury Cup the standout in that regard.
King George Weekend, Ascot
Top level racing makes a quick return to Ascot after the Royal meeting with King George Weekend which is held every July. As the name suggests, the headline of the meeting is the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Run over a mile and a half, the Group 1 race is up there with the very best middle distance contests for older horses in Europe, on a par with the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in France.
The calibre of horses competing in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes is always of the highest level. Every winner of this race is one of the best horses around but there is a special place for horses like Enable and Galileo who were able to serve it up to their elders in the July of their three-year-old campaign.
Glorious Goodwood, Goodwood
Like Royal Ascot and the Newmarket July Festival, Glorious Goodwoood is one of the jewels in the crown of the Flat racing season. Set in the picturesque course in the Sussex Downs, Glorious Goodwood is a huge draw for racing fans and includes more than enough high class racing to keep punters busy throughout the five days of superb action which culminate on a Saturday.
The pick of the races on Glorious Goodwood’s Saturday is the Stewards’ Cup, a sprint handicap in which a large field of over 20 horses compete in a mad dash for the line over 6 furlongs. A true cavalry charge, not only is the Stewards’ Cup one of the racing spectacles of the year, it’s also one of the most active betting markets.
Ebor Handicap, York
For many racing fans, the Ebor Festival at York is better than any of the prestigious meetings taking place at Ascot, Goodwood or Newmarket. York Racecourse has a passionate group of fans who always make the trip to the Saturday of the Ebor Festival which includes its feature race, the Ebor Handicap.
For some trainers and owners, the entire season is targeted around the Ebor Handicap. There are few staying handicaps with as much prestige or as big a prize fund as this 1 mile 5 furlong 188 yard contest. With its scheduling in mid-August, the weather even sometimes plays ball, making for a truly brilliant Saturday of racing in North Yorkshire.
Sprint Cup, Haydock
Jumps racing fans know Haydock as a haven for mudlarks. The ground at Haydock quickly becomes incredibly demanding if the rain falls. That doesn’t only happen in the winter months though as the going can often be testing for the Sprint Cup which takes place at Haydock in September. For that reason, this Group 1 sprint can often be won by an outsider, even though top class sprinters regularly head to Haydock for a race that awards the best part of £150,000 to the winner.
Ayr Gold Cup, Ayr
The Ayr Gold Cup is another huge prize in the Flat racing season. It’s an incredibly competitive six furlong handicap which attracts a big field to Scotland for one of Ayr’s most important Saturdays. Competition for a place is such that only horses with a high handicap rating get in which ensures that there are several horses with a realistic chance of winning once the race gets underway.
As if it wasn’t already a tough enough puzzle for punters to piece together, there are always hard luck stories in running in this frantic race. It really is a contest that often demands bravery on behalf of the winning jockey to take advantage of a space as soon as it opens up, so experience and skill in the saddle are a must.
Cambridgeshire Handicap, Newmarket
By the time the Cambridgeshire Handicap comes around in late September the vast majority of the Flat racing season is behind us and thoughts are beginning to turn to the jumps. Oftentimes that means more inclement weather and softer ground, so horses who haven’t had much success over the summer months can often roar back to form. That is, of course, providing that they’ve done well enough to maintain an official rating high enough to get into this 1m1f race which takes place on the Rowley Mile at Newmarket.
British Champions Day, Ascot
The anticipation and excitement about certain horses at the start of the Flat racing season doesn’t always translate into success during it. Some horses simply fail to fire as expected whilst others improve seemingly out of nowhere to win massive races. So it is that the stars of British Champions Day at Ascot always include horses who had rather modest ambitions in the spring.
British Champions Day was introduced in 2011 as a way to celebrate the success of the season and create another top class card. There are four Group 1 races during the day – the British Champions Sprint Stakes, British Champions Fillies’ and Mares’ Stakes, Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and Champion Stakes – and a Group 2, the British Champions Long Distance Cup; as well as the Balmoral Handicap to round the meeting off.
Vertem Futurity Trophy, Doncaster
The Vertem Futurity Trophy is the final Group 1 of the Flat racing season. Many racing fans may still call it the Racing Post Trophy, so long was it known by that moniker. Whatever you call it, it is a race for top class two-year-olds to show what they are capable of over 1 mile and has produced a number of top class winners over the years. No fewer than five winners of the Vertem Futurity Trophy have gone on to win the Derby, whilst 2019 winner, Kameko, followed up with victory in the 2,000 Guineas as well.
Kameko’s win also created history as it was the first Group 1 to be held on an all-weather track in Britain after the race was switched to Newcastle after the course at the usual host, Doncaster, was waterlogged. Abandonment of the final day of the Autumn Afternoon Meeting at Doncaster is rare but soft ground certainly is not at this time of year.
The November Meeting, Cheltenham
The November Meeting (formerly known as the Open Meeting) at Cheltenham is the first major meeting of the British jumps season. In many ways this is the start of the winter season of racing and in others it’s a precursor for the Cheltenham Festival.
There are some key differences between this and the Festival in March though. For one, the November Meeting takes place over the weekend from Friday to Sunday. Saturday’s card features many of the highlights of the November Meeting including the BetVictor Gold Cup, a 2½ mile, Grade 3 steeplechase.
Betfair Chase, Haydock
The Betfair Chase is the highlight of the racing calendar at Haydock and this November slog is the course’s only Grade 1. It has been won four times by Kauto Star, with Cue Card successful thrice. Run over more than three miles, it is the first Grade 1 of the NH season and has at times been part of a £1m scheme for any horse that could land it as well as enjoy success in other races.
The Betfair Million has changed format over the years and is now known as the Stayers’ Chase Triple Crown. This contest is the first leg, with success in the King George VI and Cheltenham Golden Cup needed for connections to scoop the million. Aside from this potentially lucrative chase, the Saturday’s racing action also includes the Betfair Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle, a Grade 3.
Fighting Fifth Hurdle, Newcastle
It isn’t just chasing that has its Triple Crown and the hurdling equivalent kicks off with the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle at the end of November or start of December. Kempton’s Christmas Hurdle and the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham complete the £1m set, the brilliant Buveur d’Air claiming the bonus in 2017/18 as part of a streak of five consecutive Triple Crown titles.
As well as the eponymous Grade 1, Newcastle’s biggest Saturday of racing also typically hosts six other races, with an early start before midday. There is a nice mix of hurdles and chase action, with novices, maidens and juvenile contests all taking place.
Ladbrokes Trophy, Newbury
The Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury is the feature race of the course’s Winter Festival. The event organisers at Newbury do a very good job of putting on an excellent day of festivities for the large numbers of fans who pour through the gates whilst the racing itself is well worth getting excited about.
At 3 mile 2 furlongs, the Ladbrokes Trophy is a proper test of stamina. The Grade 3 race has been won by some top class chasers over the years as they are tested out against other quality competitors. Punters and racing fans always have a keen eye on Newbury for the next Denman, Native River or Many Clouds.
Tingle Creek Chase, Sandown Park
December is a massive month for jumps racing thanks largely to a packed Christmas schedule. Before the King George VI Chase at Kempton it’s all eyes on Sandown Park for the Tingle Creek Chase.
This contest is run over the minimum distance for a steeplechase of 2 miles and is therefore often used by some of the leading hopes for the Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. Several horses have won both races including Altior and Sprinter Sacre but it has also been won by future Cheltenham Gold Cup horses, including the legendary Desert Orchid and Kauto Star.