ITV Racing has seven cracking races for racing fans and punters on Saturday. Four races come from Newmarket which is hosting the second day of the Dubai Future Champions Festival. And the calibre of racing is every bit as high as you’d expect from such a prestigious meeting. York plays the supporting role with a couple of competitive handicaps and the Listed Rockingham Stakes. With so much racing to enjoy let’s get stuck straight into the action with this week’s Saturday Racing Tips.
1:45 Godolphin Flying Zetland Stakes
Group 3, 1m2f
The Zetland Stakes is a very strong way to start the ITV Racing action on Saturday. This is a race which has produced some very good horses over both the middle and longer distances in the past. Those horses included Kew Gardens who won this in 2017 before winning the following season’s St Leger.
If any of the eight horses in the field are to kick on and have success at the top level it is surely going to be Kyprios. The Aidan O’Brien-trained colt has made just one start to date but a lot of people got excited about his prospects after his win at Galway. He will have to raise his game from that to win a Group 3 in his second start, especially as he showed signs of greenness that day, but he should find the step up in trip is right up his alley. O’Brien’s two year olds also tend to improve on their second start so this year’s renewal of the Zetland Stakes looks to be Kyprios’s to lose.
2:00 coral.co.uk Rockingham Stakes
ITV Racing’s first trip to York on Saturday is to take in the Rockingham Stakes, a Listed race which usually attracts a good field. There are some very nice two year olds in the field for this year’s renewal but it is going to take a strong performance from any of them to get the better of the bookies’ favourite, Legal Attack.
Simon and Ed Crisford have had a good first season as co-trainers and the father and son team believed they had a smart horse on their hands before Legal Attack made his debut at Newmarket at the end of August. He had to pick up well to come from the back of the field that day but did so very well indeed. Legal Attack was then sent to France for the Group 3 Prix Eclipse where he took his form up a level despite making a slow start and being unable to stick with the runaway winner. Even a slight step forward should see him hold off the likes of Light Refrain and Ben Macdui who rate as the main dangers.
2:20 Emirates Autumn Stakes
Group 3, 1m
The Autumn Stakes has been won by some very fine runners in the past including Ghaiyyath in 2017 and Military March 12 months ago. You get the feeling that we may be about to see a very good performance this year as well given the quality of the field assembled for the Group 3 race.
On paper, the main battle will be between Van Gogh (10/3) and Dhahabi (11/2). The former was one of the best maidens in racing having finished second in a Group 2 run at Leopardstown before easily winning a maiden last time out; the latter was the second most expensive yearling in 2019. They could well go on to have several meetings at the top level as three year olds but Charlie Appleby has already said that we won’t see the best out of Dhahabi until next year so for now the bookies look to have called this correctly by making Van Gogh the favourite.
The top two in the betting aren’t going to have it all their own way with so many progressive horses in the field. The likes of Maximal, One Ruler and Latest Generation are all dangers but Van Gogh sets the standard and is the one the others all have to beat.
2:35 Coral Beaten By A Length Free Bet Handicap
Class 2, 1m2½f
Ilaraab has had a tremendous season for William Haggas and his team. The three year old has won each of his last four starts, including the last two in handicap company, but there is still a feeling that the handicapped is yet to get to grips with him. Perhaps it is the way he gets a bit lonely once he hits the front but his wins tend to be by only narrow margins so he remains well treated off a mark of 95 for the Coral Beaten By A Length Free Bet Handicap.
The only issues with Ilaraab is his price. Odds of 11/4 represents a short price for a 13 runner handicap which does look to be competitive on paper. Indeed, it may pay to have an option from much lower down in the betting with Fox Power appealing at a nice price of 33/1. Richard Hannon’s four year old has only been seen twice this season so will arrive at York nice and fresh. He lacks a little in out-and-out class compared to the favourite but has a real heart and can fight his way to at least a place.
2:55 Darley Dewhurst Stakes
Group 1, 7f
We are approaching the end of one of the strangest Flat racing seasons of all time. By this stage of a normal season we usually know who the real stars of the two year old division are. But things are less clear this season, to say the least. The Dewhurst Stakes has been the making of some real stars over the years. It has been won by Frankel, Churchill and Pinatubo and it could be the stage for Thunder Moon to really separate himself from the crowd.
Joseph O’Brien’s colt began his career in a strong maiden at the Curragh. He always looked the best horse in that race but it was still something of a surprise that he was supplemented for the Group 1 National Stakes, let alone that he would win it in such style. He was in serious trouble with a wall of horses ahead in front of him but as soon as the gap opened up he was asked for his effort by Declan McDonogh. Thunder Moon picked up quickly to slam his rivals and add another Group 1 success to his CV.
A repeat of that sort of performance should be good enough for another Group 1 win on Thunder Moon’s first trip over the Irish Sea. He will face some very talented rivals with the main challengers expected to be Chindit, Cadillac and Alkumait. But Thunder Moon is the most likely superstar from this group and the most likely winner.
3:10 Coral Sprint Trophy Handicap
Class 2, 6f
The final race from York covered by ITV Racing is another tricky-looking handicap, this time over the sprint trip of six furlongs. The £75,000 prize fund and the fact that time is running out for the season has seen a full complement of 22 horses entered for the Coral Sprint Trophy Handicap and the betting shows this to be ultra-competitive.
There are some decent prices available about some very good horses in the field. Mr Lupton is appealing at odds of 10/1 and Kynren is sure to give punters a run for their money at 12/1. The pick at the odds though is Aplomb who can be backed at 16/1. William Haggas’s four year old found it tough over the summer but he was always going to have a chance with his handicap mark falling and he took it last time out at Ripon. The hope is that the penny will have dropped for him and that he can score off a mark of 93. This four pounds lower than for last year’s renewal when things did not quite go to plan.
3:35 Together For Racing International Cesarewitch Handicap
Class 2, 2m2f
The Cesarewitch Handicap isn’t just the big handicap of the Future Champions Festival but it’s one of the biggest long distance handicaps of the year. With the course expected to be soft underfoot, the 2m2f trip of this valuable race will be as demanding a test of stamina as ever so punters must look for horses with a proven engine. Equally important is to spot horses who have shown an ability to battle as a full complement of 34 will head to the start for this £200,000 race.
Punters have not found it easy to call the winner of the Cesarewitch in recent years. The best approach from a betting perspective, therefore, is to have a couple of horses against the field at tempting prices for each way bets.
Just Hubert is the first horse who stands out for each way support at odds of 20/1. The four year old has had a busy season in which he took a little while to get going but a couple of strong recent performances have seen him climb back up the handicap ratings. A lack of stamina has never been a problem for Just Hubert, it’s always been a lack of pace that’s let him down. Stamina will trump pace on Saturday so he has every chance.
Another horse to consider at fairly big odds is Indianapolis at a chunky price of 25/1. He is another who has been busy this season so he shouldn’t be spooked by the large field here. James Given’s five year old has a knack of switching off in races as he is travelling before coming to life in the latter stages. So, if given a good ride by Frankie Dettori, he could be right in the mix late on.