The ITV Racing team have been busy this week bringing racing fans the best of the action from the popular Chester Boodles Meeting. It’s a bit of a change of gear on Saturday as some jumps racing is sprinkled in with the action on the level in a varied and very interesting card.
From the top end, we have trials for the Derby and the Oaks to enjoy and a Grade 3 handicap hurdle. Elsewhere there are competitive handicaps and informative races that provide some real betting value. We’ve gone through each of the nine races set to be broadcast by ITV in our Saturday Racing Tips and hopefully we’ve picked out a few winners.
1:55 tote+ Exclusively At tote.co.uk British EBF Fillies’ Handicap
Class 2, 1m
There could be a very interesting battle between a promising three year old and a four year old who still has plenty of room for improvement in the opening race of the day at Ascot. Lights On threatened to be a smart horse last year but you always got the feeling that the penny never really dropped. Winning her first run as a four year old suggests that there is a lot more to come. Add to that Sir Michael Stoute’s ability to get the best out of four and five year olds and it comes as little surprise that Lights On is the favourite for this handicap.
The big question is whether or not she will be able to carry second top-weight to win. Three year old Conservatoire could be a better option from lower down the weights providing she has wintered well at the William Haggas yard. She is another who took a little while to get to grips with the game but ended the season well and can use this as a stepping stone to better things at odds of 9/2.
2:15 Novibet Oaks Trial Fillies’ Stakes
The first fillies’ Classic of the season is already in the rearview mirror and after something of a surprise in the 1000 Guineas, it is time for attention to be turned towards Epsom. This Listed race is unlikely to contain the winner of the Oaks with the Saturday’s favourite, Technique, the shortest horse in the field for Epsom at a general price of 20/1.
Technique came second at Epsom last time out but the horse who beat her, Wirko, disappointed next time out at Chester and it may be that Technique suffers the same fate. A better option could be Save A Forest who has run four times since December. She’s won two of those races including in her turf debut when last seen at Windsor and she is well priced to take another big step forwards at 9/1.
2:30 tote+ Pays More At tote.co.uk Buckhounds Stakes
The Buckhounds Stakes is an important early-season race for all age middle-distance performers. Connections of Albaflora are hopeful that she can have a very good season after showing real signs of promise as a three year old and her run in this Listed contest will come down to how well she has wintered and what sort of condition Ralph Beckett has her in.
Beaten only by Berkshire Rocco on her final start of last year, Albaflora had her momentum cut by the end of the campaign. It is true that she wasn’t always consistent over the course of the season but when she got it right, as when finishing second in the Musidora Stakes at York, she looked a potential Group winner and she is taken to make a strong start to life as a four year old at a very fair price of 5/1.
2:50 Novibet Derby Trial Stakes
A decent field size of seven is assembled for this Derby Trial which has been used by some very good horses in recent years including English King last year (finished fifth in the Derby) and Anthony Van Dyck who won here before going on to Derby glory. Of those in this year’s field, Adayar is the real live Derby hope at odds of 12/1 for the Epsom Classic and he looks the right favourite at Lingfield at 6/5.
There were comparisons with the great Golden Horn when he won the same maiden as that horse at Nottingham in October. Those comparisons looked a little generous when finishing second in a Group 3 race at Sandown last month but he had his excuses, including losing a shoe, and he kept on well having got away slowly. Ante post punters will be watching Adayar’s performance keenly and he may well shorten in the Derby betting with a good win at Lingfield.
3:10 Pertemps Network Swinton Handicap Hurdle
Grade 3, 1m7½f
On first viewing, this is a competitive renewal of this Grade 3 handicap hurdle but dig a little deeper and it quickly becomes clear that it isn’t a particularly strong edition. You would certainly need to be very keen about any of the horses towards the top of the weights to take any of them onside. The market is favouring a couple of horses from much lower down the rating – Copperless and Defining Battle – but there are better options a little further down.
Nordic Combined, who comes into the race on the back of a win just one week earlier, is one who appeals at odds of 10/1. He was entitled to win last time out given the weights but did a good job to get the job done and can contend again on this step up in class. The other option to consider is Ballinsker at 9/1 for Evan Williams who has run well against some rivals who have gone on to better things.
3:25 Novibet Chartwell Fillies’ Stakes
Group 3, 7f
Clive Cox knows how to handle three year old horses. He has seen younger horses come on leaps and bounds from their first run of the season to their second and is hopeful that he’ll see a big improvement from Isabella Giles when she runs in the Chartwell Fillies’ Stakes.
She was some way below the best of her two year old form when making her seasonal reappearance last month at Newbury but she actually ran very well for the bulk of the race before an apparent lack of fitness cost her a chance of seriously challenging some very good fillies. There is some fairly heavy rain in the forecast early on Saturday morning and if it falls, Isabella Giles may well be cut into favouritism from the 9/2 currently available.
3:40 tote+ Victoria Cup
Class 2, 7f
The Victoria Cup is a famously difficult race to win. It takes a combination of grit and quality to get the job done and price is little indicator of a winner as just one of the last 10 editions went the way of the favourite. Four year old winners are by no means rare but it takes a certain amount of experience and hardiness on the part of younger horses for them to seriously compete.
At eight, Chiefofchiefs is not lacking for experience. Charlie Fellowes’ charge has run in more of this sort of big field handicap than most of his rivals on Saturday and, having had the benefit of a competitive warm-up race at Doncaster where he was luckless, Chiefofchiefs can battle his way to at least a place at odds of 12/1.
4:00 Download The Novibet App Handicap
Class 3, 7½f
The ITV Racing card ends with a bit of a strange race. This Class 3 handicap takes place just under a mile and has a modest prize fund so only four horses have remained in the running after final declarations. However, there is only three pounds between the top three in the ratings while the 6/1 outsider, Love Dreams, could be better than his price of 6/1 suggests.
Whereas Turn On The Charm and Eton College appear to have been priced on the best of their form from their three year old seasons, Love Dreams has very recent winning form. It would have been a disappointment had he not won having been sent off the favourite in a drop down in class last time out but it was a positive performance and one he can build on to cause an upset.
4:15 tote+ Exclusively At tote.co.uk Handicap
Class 3, 1m4f
This contest is a late addition to the Saturday roster at ITV and in truth it may be a race to not go too wild with the stakes. This really is wide open, with Group One Power the narrow favourite right now at 9/2, vying for that spot at the head of the market with Labeebb and Louganini, both of whom are priced at 11/2. With a further three runners on offer at single-digit odds and a number of lively chances priced at around 14/1, this really is a tough one to call.
All that said, the one for us is He’s A Keeper, currently on offer at a decent price of 8/1 which we will be taking each way given the nature of the race. Tom Dascombe’s four year old was busy over the winter on the all-weather and picked up a couple of decent wins. He returned from a break of 140 days at Wolverhampton a few weeks ago and landed a handicap in good style over this distance. Labeebb and the others towards the head of the market will give this grey a real test but we think he has what it takes to deliver the goods at this level.