The calibre of racing on the Flat has been consistently high for a number of weeks with classy meetings at Chester and York coming hot on the heels of the Guineas contests at Newmarket. The ITV Racing cameras return to headquarters on Saturday with some informative and competitive racing alongside the racing from Newbury which includes Palace Pier running in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes.
In total, seven races are set to be shown live and we’ve gone through them all to pick out the best bets in our Saturday Racing tips.
1:50 BetVictor Carnarvon Stakes
Tactical made a very promising start to life on course for his owner, the Queen, but he found himself caught up and then overtaken by his rivals in the latter part of his juvenile campaign. Therefore, all connected to him were delighted to see him return to winning ways on his first start as a three-year-old. He should have little trouble stepping up to Listed class and winning but may just have to wait for that run given he has shown little appetite for running on soft ground and the forecast suggests more rain at Newbury.
Happy Romance is one who doesn’t mind a bit of cut in the ground and she could step up and win this at a tempting price of 9/2. Her chances were somewhat overlooked when making her return to sprinting on the all-weather last time out and it could be that the same is happening in this Listed contest, especially as she gets 3lb from the colts.
2:05 Betway Fairway Stakes
Trainers can do all the work they like with their younger horses at home but there is no denying that sometimes they have to try them out in the heat of battle to see whether they have what it takes to get a certain trip. There was a degree of confidence about Fancy Man’s chances when stepped up to a mile and a half in the Chester Vase earlier this month but he just didn’t have the stamina to continue with his strong kick for home on his first attempt over the trip. The return to 1m2f in the Fairway Stakes should see this big, powerful colt earn another win at Listed level having done so as a juvenile.
2:25 Al Rayyan Stakes (Registered As The Aston Park Stakes)
Group 3, 1m4f
When Al Aasy disappointed in the Gordon Stakes last summer connections were not overly concerned. They believed they had a top class middle distance performer on their hands and that he would be better at his craft as a stronger, more experienced horse. His four-year-old campaign began in impressive style with a comfortable Group 3 win but things step up a level when he meets Logician in the Al Rayyan Stakes.
Logician’s connections are also happy to take on course disappointment in their stride as they came very close to losing him to peritonitis the winter after his St Leger win. John and Thady Gosden have high hopes that he will be able to rediscover his best even after finishing fourth of four in the Cumberland Lodge Stakes at the tail end of last season. That best is a top class middle distance performer and with plenty of time to get him right, the Gosdens should be celebrating at Newbury on Saturday where Logician looks a very good price at 7/4.
2:40 Betway King Charles II Stakes
Bellosa did not have a run as a two-year-old but she wasted no time by winning on her first start in April for Richard Kingscote. The question for punters is how much they should take from that run. On the one hand, the form has not worked out that well with Danni California the only one of the horses who challenged her that day to go on and put in a strong run subsequently. On the other hand, it may not matter what happened behind Bellosa as she made virtually all winning by a very impressive seven lengths despite running freely and showing signs of greenness.
This is a tough second assignment for Bellosa against rivals with lots more experience but she could just prove to be the best horse in the field by some distance. This will be a very insightful race whatever happens but for punters the advice is to look at what Bellosa did at Newmarket rather than those she beat and back her to win at 13/8.
3:00 BetVictor London Gold Cup Handicap
Class 2, 1m2f
This Class 2 handicap has gone the way of some horses who have subsequently proven their ability amongst Group company. Trainers of many of the 11-strong field will hope that they have a horse of the calibre of Defoe or Headman in their ranks and there is quite a buzz around Highland Rocker and Bay Bridge in particular.
One who may be slightly under the radar in terms of the odds and his handicap mark is King Frankel. He hasn’t set the world alight as yet but has gradually warmed to his task to the point where he was much too good for his rivals when losing his maiden tag last time out. While the longer trips may prove to be where he is most at home in the years ahead, King Frankel has enough speed to be seriously competitive in the London Gold Cup. A mark of 82 seems generous and with improvement to come from his first win, King Frankel is a solid each way option at odds of 10/1.
3:15 Heed Your Hunch At Betway Handicap
Class 2, 6f
Jumby was last seen at Newmarket in April when finishing third on his seasonal reappearance. A whole host of things went wrong for him including a slow start and being denied a clear run for home on a number of occasions. It looked a run that deserved to be upgraded but was it good enough for Eve Johnson Houghton’s charge to be backed into favouritism for this competitive three-year-old handicap?
There are certainly a couple of options a little lower down the betting who catch the eye for those looking to take this favourite on. The first is Seven Brothers who dug very deep to win at Doncaster despite looking like a horse in need of a first run of the season. He’ll strip fitter and having been diverted from York he has a very good chance at 7/1. Then there’s Bickerstaffe who makes each way appeal at 17/2. Karl Burke’s colt has run well in his two appearances so far this season and should be right in the mix come the closing stages of this sprint.
3:35 Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes
Group 1, 1m
The big race of the day is up next and as usual it should be a really fascinating contest. After the disappointment of the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot at the end of last season, Palace Pier returned to winning ways in his first appearance of his new campaign. Despite being only 80% fit according to John Gosden, he won a four-runner, Group 2 contest at Sandown in the style of a horse who has a very good season ahead of him. Certainly, this year’s renewal of the Lockinge Stakes revolves around the 8/13 favourite who should win this if, as expected, he is fitter than in March.
It has been suggested that this is not the strongest renewal of the Lockinge but there are still a number of horses with the ability to take advantage should Palace Pier have an off day. Lope Y Fernandez returned with a bang to score for the first time over 1m at Leopardstown last time, My Oberon came through a very well run renewal of the Earl Of Sefton Stakes while Top Rank was fitter and stronger than his rivals in the Doncaster Mile. Head even further down the betting and you can make a case for two older horses, Lord Glitters and Century Dream, if the rain turns the ground at Newbury soft. All that said, we will be backing the favourite here, even at a relatively short price.