The absence of fans at huge meetings such as Royal Ascot and Glorious Goodwood has been strange for all competitors but it is perhaps most keenly felt on a weekend such as this. The summer sun would usually attract thousands of fans to Saturday’s cards at Ascot, Haydock and Newmarket but the only way to watch the action unfold is on TV.
Thankfully, ITV Racing are providing terrestrial coverage of the pick of the racing so there is no need to miss out. To make the most of the competitive races ahead, we’ve picked our way through all the live races to pick out our best Saturday racing tips.
1:50 ITV Home Of Terrestrial Racing Handicap Stakes
Woven each way – 14/1
ITV has recently signed a new deal to continue its broadcasting of British racing and they are celebrating that fact with the title of the first race on ITV 4 this weekend. The ITV Home Of Terrestrial Racing Handicap Stakes is a six furlong sprint which looks to include a couple of horses who will enjoy setting a stiff early pace.
Connections of Woven will certainly be hoping that one or two go out very fast at Ascot. You see the best from this four year old when he’s set a stiff test over this trip which is what he got in the Silver Wokingham Handicap at Royal Ascot in June. He was never going to win from his draw out wide but came on well for pressure that day and another big run is expected so the 14/1 available about his chances looks more than tempting for an each way bet.
2:05 Dick Hern Stakes
Festive Star to win – 11/2
Attention turns to Haydock next for the Dick Hern Stakes, a Listed race run over a distance of a mile. The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Veracious is the favourite with the bookies having done much of her racing at a higher level than this. As well as being comfortable at this level, Veracious also makes her return to the track having had wind surgery which connections hope will bring the best out of her.
Veracious has every chance of landing some fairly big prizes over the remainder of the summer but is she a little short in the Dick Hern Stakes betting at 10/11? She may well be given the presence of Festive Star at 11/2. This progressive three year old looks set to take another big step forward for the father/son training partnership of Simon and Ed Crisford and can build on her impressive most recent win with a Listed level success.
2:25 Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Celebration Handicap Stakes
Shelir to win – 7/2
The Shergar Cup is not taking place at Ascot this season but there is a nod to that unique meeting in the shape of the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Celebration Handicap Stakes. This one mile handicap looks to be a difficult one to call from a betting perspective as few of the 10 declared horses could be described as rock solid.
The closeness of this contest is reflected in the betting but the bookies are clear that Shelir is deserving of his place as one of the favourites. The four year old has battled away without setting the world alight this season for his new connections but there is a feeling that David O’Meara is starting to get a tune out of him. His handicap mark has dropped to the point where he should be competitive and 7/2 looks a decent price about his chances of winning.
2:40 Rose of Lancaster Stakes
Global Giant to win – 11/10
The heatwave sweeping Britain has caused a number of trainers to think twice about their plans for the weekend. Some horses who featured prominently in the ante post betting for the Rose of Lancaster Stakes have been pulled from the race for fears over the ground coming up too firm on Saturday afternoon which should ensure that bookies’ favourite, Global Giant, rewards favourite backers.
The five year old arrived at John Gosden’s yard at the end of 2019 and wasted no time getting off the mark with a very good win on the all-weather track at Wolverhampton. He then had no luck and was perhaps a little short of race practice on his first turf run of the season but took full advantage of a clear run next time out to win a Listed race over 1m2f on good ground at Newbury in July. Remaining at that trip on ground which could be even further bodes well for Global Giant who is the right favourite at 11/10 to pick up a Group 3 win.
3:00 Dubai Duty Free Millennium Millionaire Handicap Stakes
Kaloor to win – 5/1
There are likely to be a couple of non-runners on the day at Ascot as the ground proves too firm for some. James Fanshawe is one of those trainers who will have a big decision to make on Saturday as Sleeping Lion is a serious player in the Dubai Duty Free Millennium Millionaire Handicap Stakes but has never really enjoyed running on ground without a bit of give in it.
If he does turn up, Sleeping Lion will attract support at 6/1 but with conditions against him, this could be time for Kaloor to get the first win for his new yard. The four year old has steadily improved since coming under the stewardship of David Menuisier and could well have won last time out in a 1m6f handicap at Sandown were it not for the interference he had to deal with that day. The step up to two miles could bring even more out of this son of Nathaniel and he also won’t have issues with the ground so back Kaloor to win at 5/1.
3:20 German Thoroughbred Sweet Solera Stakes
Dubai Fountain to win – 4/1
The Sweet Solera Stakes is one of those two year old races that it really pays to take close attention of. This year’s edition could be particularly fruitful as there are some very promising fillies in the betting who could well kick on to have success at a higher level that this Group 3.
Time will tell which of these goes on to have the most successful career but at the current prices it is tough to ignore the appeal of Dubai Fountain who is a 4/1 shot for Mark Johnston and Silvestre De Sousa. Defeat in her last start was an irritation rather than a setback as the nature of her run in second in a well-run Listed race at Sandown served only to confirm her promise. She’ll have no problem with the good to firm ground at Newmarket and is well priced to return to winning ways.
3:35 Thames Hospice Handicap Stakes
Omnivega to win – 9/2
We have a competitive handicap for older horses run over a mile and a half to end Saturday’s ITV Racing coverage. Those who show patience and perseverance to stick with all of the coverage could well be rewarded with the bet of the day as Omnivega is very appealing at 9/2.
David Simcock’s four year old has not had things easy in his career so far and is lightly raced for his age. That suggests there is scope for improvement and is performances for far this year back that up. Omnivega kicked the year off with a double on the all-weather and the shutdown of racing happily didn’t affect his flow as he returned to the track in July with another win, also on the all-weather. That most recent win came when he stepped up in class so he should take another step up on Saturday in his stride, especially off a generous looking mark of 90.