ITV Racing has a bumper selection of 10 races from three different racecourses for racing fans to enjoy on Saturday. Haydock is the home of the broadcast where the feature race is the Betfair Sprint Cup with action also coming from Ascot and Kempton. The latter of those has an all-weather card featuring Enable’s final appearance in Britain, so that’s another real highlight of a cracking day of action. There are some high quality horses competing and lots of great betting value to be found so let’s get stuck into the 10-race feast we have on offer.
1:45 Betfair Superior Mile Stakes
Top Rank to win – 6/1
The Betfair Superior Mile Stakes gets Saturday’s ITV Racing card off to a cracking start. This Group 3 contest takes place over a mile but will be more of a test of stamina than some of these are used to. That’s because the official going at Haydock is soft but early reports from the course suggest that it is heavy in places and Haydock is somewhere where things do often get very muddy.
Underfoot conditions mean we can pretty much rule out Dark Vision who is a good ground horse. It is also tough to make too much of a case for My Oberon. He is a beautifully bred horse who is improving as a three-year-old but hasn’t done much so far to justify his billing as the bookies’ favourite.
Top Rank is many people’s idea of the best value in the Superior Mile and for good reason. James Tate has done an excellent job with this tricky individual. Indeed, he only lost his unbeaten run over 1m last time out at York in a highly competitive handicap where things just didn’t quite pan out for him. Top Rank should relish the cut in the ground so his price of 6/1 is very tempting.
It may also be worth having a small stakes saver on Kinross each way at 10/1. Ralph Beckett’s charge has been unable to build on the promise he showed as a two-year-old but both of his runs this season were in Group 1s on ground that was firmer than ideal, so he is one to keep an eye on.
2:00 Unibet 3 Uniboosts A Day Sirenia Stakes
Mighty Gurkha – 5/1
Whilst the horses at Haydock are having to cope with very testing conditions, trainers of some high class horses have decided to send their charges to Kempton for a run on the all-weather. That’s the call taken by Andrew Balding and King Power Racing for Mystery Smiles.
The colt plugged on admirably in the Gimcrack Stakes at York last time out and has been made the favourite as he drops back down in grade. Connections of Mehmas are hopeful that he will do what his half-brother, Method, did by getting the better of Mighty Gurkha but the second favourite has every chance of getting his career back on track at 5/1.
Mighty Gurkha was last seen in the Prix de Cabourg at Deauville where he was extremely sluggish getting out of the stalls and couldn’t recover. That’s not the first time he has had issues in the stalls but when he gets things right he looks a potentially very smart colt indeed. He’s had the misfortune of running into a couple of very good ones in his career so far but won his debut well on the all-weather and can get the better of Mystery Smiles who has had all of his runs so far on turf.
2:15 Best Odds On The Betfair Exchange Handicap
Favorite Moon to win – 15/8
With just five confirmed runners for this 1m6f handicap, punters look to have a fairly straightforward choice between the top two in the market, Favorite Moon and Arthurian Fable. The two actually met last time out in the Melrose Handicap at York where Arthurian Fable did well to stay on for second place despite being given a tricky outside draw.
In contrast, Favorite Moon was the big disappointment of the race and there were few excuses offered up afterwards as the 100/30 favourite didn’t give his running and ended up way down the field in 11th. Those who take that recent meeting as the key piece of form would have no question about taking on Favorite Moon with Arthurian Fable but it may well be worth forgiving William Haggas’ colt for that strange display.
It was his first run at York and several well fancied horses find the Knavesmire doesn’t suit them for whatever reason. Moreover, Favorite Moon was able to see off the challenge of Subjectivist on soft ground at Haydock in July and that horse has gone on to win a Group 3 by a very tidy 15 lengths. Favorite Moon has questions to answer but Haydock could just bring the best out of him once again and at 15/8 he is the one for us.
2:35 Unibet September Stakes
Enable to win – 2/9
Racing fans are to be allowed back in small numbers and strictly controlled circumstances at the St Leger meeting next week. What a shame that none will be allowed into Kempton Park on Saturday though to bid farewell to the brilliant mare Enable. John Gosden’s absolute superstar waves farewell to British racing with a run in the September Stakes before heading off to France for one more crack at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
This year’s Arc is shaping up to be one of the best races on the Flat for some time and Enable is already getting plenty of support in the ante post betting. Whether she’ll get as much support for this Group 3 contest at a best price of 2/9 remains to be seen. She is several rungs on the ladder above her rivals on Saturday and should win comfortably, of that there is no doubt at all.
Of course, many just cannot bring themselves to back a horse at such short odds. Those looking for an each way angle should consider giving one more chance to Tinandali (25/1) with David O’Meara still working out the best way to improve the gelding he received from Dermot Weld at the start of the year.
2:50 Betfair Exchange Old Borough Cup Handicap
Rhythmic Intent to win – 7/1
Stuart Williams has found the going a bit tough lately. His yard has been struggling for winners which makes the recent form of Rhythmic Intent all the more impressive and not a little bit surprising. The four-year-old has won two of his four races this season and has good excuses for not winning the others (the first was his seasonal reappearance and the ground was too firm in the second).
Having travelled very smoothly last time out in a strong Class 3 handicap on soft ground as Newbury, he pulled away from the field with relative ease. Another performance of that calibre will surely prove enough to win the Old Borough Handicap at excellent value odds of 7/1.
That said, there are 17 runners in this race so it could be worth having an each way saver should the favourite not live up to his billing. That is where Brandon Castle comes in at 16/1. This dual purpose horse returns to the flat after some very good performances over hurdles recently. He’ll have no problem running from the front over this 1m6f trip and could just be good enough to do better than simply earning a place.
3:05 Lavazza Stakes
Zabeel Champion each way – 10/1
The ITV Racing action heads to Ascot next for a 1m4f handicap in which 11 horses will do battle. The going at Ascot won’t prove to be as challenging as at Haydock but it still may prove to be too soft for the well fancied Kipps.
Hughie Morrison’s three-year-old is very much improving and would be very tempting at 7/1 for this heritage handicap were it not for the fact that he just couldn’t give his best last time out on good to soft ground at York.
Zabeel Champion is another who didn’t show his best at York in his most recent outing but that was less to go with the ground and more to do with the fact that he tried to make all in driving rain. He is another who has progressed steadily through his three-year-old season and connections are hopeful that they have found a good race for him to bounce back here. Zabeel Champion has a very game attitude and will certainly be up for the fight, so should give each way punters a good run for their money at a nice price of 10/1.
3:25 Betfair Sprint Cup Stakes
Art Power to win – 7/1
The Sprint Cup Stakes is the feature race of the day in Britain and once again a high quality selection of sprinters have assembled at Haydock. Although speed is obviously important for a Group 1 sprint, stamina also comes into play for the Sprint Cup as the ground is invariably soft at this time of year at Haydock.
An ability to cope with conditions underfoot on Saturday will be key which is why last year’s winner, Hello Youmzain, is getting so much support at best odds of 7/2. Kevin Ryan’s four-year-old is not the bookies’ favourite though. That billing goes to Dream Of Dreams after his incredible win over 7f in the Hungerford Stakes at Newbury last time out.
The presence of the top two in the betting will ensure a high class and entertaining renewal of the Sprint Cup but the winner could just come from a little further down the betting. Art Power is the one who looks to have the best chance of causing an upset at 7/1. Three-year-olds have an excellent recent record in this race and the quality of his performances so far this season suggest that Art Power has what it takes to claim a first Group 1 at a very rewarding price.
3:40 Tweenhills Follow The Foals Handicap
Spanish City each way – 10/1
There is another tricky handicap for punters to unpick next up at Ascot. 11 horses have made it past final declarations for this 6f contest and although one or two may be pulled out should heavy rain fall in the area, that will still leave enough for a cracking finish and an entertaining betting heat.
It’s tough to come down too heavily in support of any of these but there are a couple who are tempting from an each way perspective. Perhaps the best option in this regard is Spanish City at current odds of 10/1. Roger Varian’s seven-year-old has lacked consistency this season but when he is near the top of this game he has what it takes to be really competitive in a race such as this, so a place is by no means out of the question.
4:00 Betfair Each Way Edge Be Friendly Handicap
Militia to win – 7/1
The Betfair Each Way Edge Be Friendly Handicap is the final live race of the day from Haydock. Much like the previous contest, this is a competitive sprint handicap perfect for each way betting even if many punters will be content to back one of the joint favourites, Danzeno and Wonderwork.
Militia is the most appealing each way option at 7/1. The five-year-old strengthened his reputation as a Musselburgh specialist when making the best of a messy finish last time out. That win was the latest in a string of good runs and the Paul Midgley yard have been in very solid form of late so Militia is primed to run well again.
4:15 Porsche Handicap
Tomfre each way – 14/1
We end this Saturday’s ITV Racing with a final handicap, this time run over 7f. Once again there are some well fancied horses towards the head of the market but the best value can be found elsewhere, possibly with Tomfre who can be backed at big looking odds of 14/1.
Ralph Beckett’s three-year-old has improved steadily during a season in which he has earned a lot of experience in tough handicaps. His chances will improve if the rain stays away but he has the right combination of a good engine and a battling spirit required to haul himself into contention no matter what. If he is there at the business end then a place is well within his capabilities whilst he could just have enough to sneak a win.