Saturday’s ITV Racing comes from Ayr and Newbury with some excellent contests at both tracks. At Ayr it is the Gold Cup which takes top billing. The 25 runner handicap is always an incredibly competitive race that offers tempting each way options aplenty and is supported by some other strong races including the Silver Cup. Newbury’s highlights include an engrossing handicap of its own over 1m2f as well as the Mill Reef Stakes featuring some highly promising two year old sprinters.
1:40 Dubai International Airport World Trophy Stakes
Saturday’s racing action opens up with a fascinating-looking Group 3 sprint over the minimum trip of five furlongs. It is a shame that Moss Gill has been declared a non-runner but that doesn’t make the puzzle much less complicated for punters. Equilateral sits atop the betting probably fairly as the five year old is a dependable sprinter at this level even if he has never really shown himself to be top class. Then comes Tis Marvellous at 7/2 who, at six, showed that he is still a Group level horse when easing to victory in a conditions race at Leicester last time out.
The value, however, lies with Lazuli at odds of 4/1. Charlie Appleby’s three year old is still improving as a sprinter. He has had some highlights (winning the Listes Scurry Stakes with ease) and some lowlights (failing to hack the pace in the Group 3 Coral Charge), but remains very much on an upward curve. He will enjoy the good ground at Ayr and whilst this would rank as a very good win for him if he pulls it off, Lazuli has what it takes to earn it.
1:55 Jordan Electrics Doonside Cup Stakes
The big question ahead of the Doonside Cup is whether or not Addeybb will be good enough to deal with the penalty that he has to carry for the two Group 1 wins he picked up in Australia earlier this year. William Haggas’s six year old has been an excellent horse for connections and was somewhere near his best upon his return to Britain when finishing second to Lord North in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot. This Listed contest over 1m2f rates as a significant drop in class but he won’t have it all his own way as he gives up seven pounds to the field.
The bookies have Fox Chairman as the main threat to the favourite. He has run well enough this season to suggest that he will be able to push Addeybb close. The same can be said about Lord Glitters who has been competing among Group level opponents this season. Expect a fascinating tactical battle and a close finish but ultimately for Addeybb to prevail.
2:15 Dubai Duty Free Handicap
The Dubai Duty Free Handicap is the big race of the day at Newbury. This 1m2f contest features a fairly strong favourite in the shape of Ilaraab who is in excellent form and is chasing a four-timer. As well as the three year old is running, though, his mark has risen with every run and he may just find that 90 is a bit too high for him to go in again. That is almost exactly what happened to second favourite Tenbury Wells, who narrowly fell short of a four-timer of his own last time out when beaten by a head at Sandown.
While a fair chunk of the betting action will be focused around the top two in the betting, there is value to be found on Starcat at 6/1. His trainer, Hughie Morrison, believes that Starcat can climb to compete over a higher level than this and is starting to show glimpses of why those at the yard have had that confidence. Backing improving horses is always a good idea in this sort of race and Starcat is well priced to earn the win.
2:30 QTS Ayr Silver Cup Handicap
The Ayr Silver Cup is a chance for those horses who didn’t make the cut for the Gold Cup to compete in a big field handicap on Saturday. Like the feature, 25 runners will go to post for this and, a little strangely, there is a clear favourite in the shape of King’s Lynn. The lightly raced three year old did run well in defeat to Starman last time out and could go on to have a good career for Andew Balding and the Queen but it is surely too early on for him to be so well fancied for a race as competitive as the Silver Cup.
This is a perfect race for each way betting and there are several tempting options in that regard. Cases can be made for Muscika (20/1) and Lord Oberon (25/1) but the best value can be found on Magical Spirit at 25/1. The Kevin Ryan trained four year old is highly experienced and has shown a real aptitude for a battle. Despite having so many runs he could well have his best days still ahead of him; he made a good return to the track following wind surgery in July so he has every chance of at least a place on Saturday.
2:50 Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup Stakes
Hollie Doyle has had a lot of positive press lately. She became the first female rider to run five winners in a day a few weeks ago and has continued to impress with very good rides subsequently. Doyle’s fans could have more to cheer on Saturday as she is booked on the favourite for the Group 3 Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup Stakes, Extra Elusive.
The five year old heads into the race on the back of two Group 3 wins last month. He beat some good horses in both of those races and although he’ll be carrying a three pound penalty for those success he has what it takes to finish ahead of his three rivals at Newbury.
3:05 Scotty Brand Firth Of Clyde Fillies’ Stakes
We return to Ayr next for a Group 3 for two year old fillies. The Scotty Brand Firth Of Clyde Fillies’ Stakes is a fairly prestigious race which has featured some very good horses over the years and we may have another one in market leader Umm Kulthum. Richard Fahey was very happy with the way she competed in the Lowther Stakes last month, only finishing behind the promising pair of Miss Amulet and Sacred. Her third place finish was all the better given that she showed real signs of greenness so she should utilise that extra experience to get the better of her opponents on Saturday.
If you’re looking for one to take the favourite on, consider Lullaby Moon at odds of 12/1. She is primed for a good end to the season as she loves softer ground and although the ground at Ayr is officially good, there could be enough of a cut in it for her to build on the decent form she’s shown so far.
3:25 Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes
The final ITV race from Newbury on Saturday is the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes. This is usually a high quality sprint contest but this year’s edition looks to be particularly so. Fivethousandtoone and Rhythm Master have both caught the eye in their early careers already and deserve the support they’re getting in the betting. There is more value around a little further down though.
If you’re looking for an each way option then Cairn Gorm has a real chance of having an impact in the race whatever his odds of 18/1 suggest. The horse to back on the nose, however, is Bahrain Pride. Trained by Simon and Ed Crisford, Bahrain Pride has won on both of his outings so far giving the impression that he could reach the top of the sprinting division given a bit of luck. He should take another step forward on Saturday and may well land the biggest win of his short career to date at odds of 4/1.
3:40 Ayr Gold Cup Handicap
The Ayr Gold Cup is the big betting race of the weekend with punters everywhere looking for a horse to have against the field of 25. Despite being a six furlong sprint, tactics play a big role in deciding the winner of this race so it can pay to have a top quality jockey booked for the ride. That is certainly the case for Stone Of Destiny who is partnered with Oisin Murphy. Last year’s champion jockey will produced this battle hardened five year old at the right time so Stone Of Destiny has every chance of winning at 9/1.
Ray Dawson doesn’t have the same level of experience as Murphy but the apprentice has caught the eye for some excellent rides this season and has the extra bonus of being able to claim five pounds. That five pound difference could be just the ticket for Spanish City who bounced back to form under another good ride from Dawson last time out. If that is a sign of things to come over the remainder of the season then Roger Varian’s seven year old could be primed for some real success including claiming a valuable place in the Ayr Gold Cup.