It has been a very wet and wild week across Britain and Ireland. Inclement weather is part and parcel of horse racing but it’s not often that you find the ground at racecourses at this time of year quite as soft as it is currently. The going will have a major impact on the racing across the ITV coverage this weekend whether it’s in the highly competitive handicaps being covered or the Group level racing including the Irish 2,000 Guineas.
Fingers crossed everything goes ahead as planned and if it does there will be a great choice of racing to enjoy and some very good value sprinkled throughout the day. We’ve gone through each of the live races to make our Saturday Racing tips below.
1:40 MansionBet Watch And Bet Handicap
Class 2, 1m6f
It’s to Goodwood that the ITV Racing cameras head for their first race of the day and it may well be that the first is as easy for punters as backing the favourite. Prince Alex ended his three-year-old campaign with an eye-catching spell of five straight wins. That fine sequence, and his unbeaten record in handicaps, came to an end at Salisbury at the start of May but connections were happy enough with his first run of the campaign. The handicapper saw enough in his fourth place finish to keep Prince Alex’s handicap mark of 86 unchanged and that does look an underestimation of his ability so back the favourite in the day’s opener at the very fair odds of 15/8.
1:55 Casumo Horse Racing And Sports Betting Handicap
Class 3, 7f
One of the things that many punters look for before placing their bets is for any horse who was a beaten favourite last time out. Horses who have excuses for failing to justify their billing as favourites are often well backed next time out and that is the case with Lincoln Park who is 9/1 for this 7f handicap.
Tom Dascombe’s five-year-old has run three times already this season and while he placed 11 of 14 last time out when the 9/2 joint favourite, he was just too keen and had nothing to give by the time the race really got going. There’s a change in jockey from Richard Kingscote to Jane Elliott and if she can keep Lincoln Park from being overexuberant in the early stages he can bounce back with a win at a nice price.
2:10 MansionBet Beaten By A Head Festival Stakes (Listed)
Class 1, 1m2f
Just the five go to post here which is disappointing but the ground is likely to be too soft for some who might have come. Even so, we have a really competitive contest in store with only 20/1 Winter Reprise deemed out of it by the oddsmakers. There is virtually nothing in it between the other four, with the favourite, Al Zaraqaan priced at odds of 9/4, and the other three runners spread between 11/4 and 9/2,
This is a tough one to call and the talented Al Zaraqaan has every chance under Jim Crowley but at the odds marginal preference is for the seemingly least fancied of the contenders, Majestic Dawn at 9/2. This Irish five year old has been a consistent performer and it is hard to argue with a level stakes return of £46.25 during his career! A previous winner on going ranging from good, all the way to heavy, this one will find things just fine at Goodwood and we back him for an instant return to the winner’s enclosure here on his seasonal return.
2:25 Download The Casumo App Today Handicap
Class 2, 2m
The betting is highly competitive at the top of the market for this stayers’ handicap which takes place over 2m. Green Book and Postileo are joint favourites with many books, with Future Investment just a little further behind. It would be quite a surprise were the winner not to come from that top trio with preference going to Green Book at 4/1 getting a rare win on the Flat for Venetia Williams.
Williams is best known as a jumps trainer and she has run Green Book over hurdles in the past. Although he didn’t disgrace himself by any means over obstacles he looked a much better horse on the level when beating Postileo last time out and the handicapper doesn’t look to have had enough of a say to close the 4¾ length difference between the two.
2:40 William Hill Bronte Cup Fillies’ Stakes
Group 3, 1m6f
Many of the stars of last season have already had their first outing of the new campaign but racing fans have had to remain patient for the first sighting of Believe In Love. Roger Varian was delighted with the progression that she made as a three-year-old last year and there should be more to come from her as a more experienced, potentially even stronger four-year-old.
Having won five of her last six starts last season, Believe In Love is understandably warm in the market. Although she could only finish third when sent off as the favourite for the Group 2 Park Hill Stakes, that race developed into a bit of a sprint which did not really suit. Believe In Love should be good enough to justify her position at the head of the betting in the Bronte Cup though, as 1m6f on good to soft ground is just about perfect for her.
3:00 Join Casumo Today Silver Bowl Handicap
Class 2, 1m
The field of 10 horses for the Silver Bowl handicap has a competitive look to it. At the top of the weights for this contest for three-year-olds is Dark Lion who runs off a mark of 95 and many of those between him and bottom rated Seasett have a real chance of getting into this.
Nebulosa for Andrew Balding is a particularly interesting option at the 8/1 mark. He made steady progress last year, ending his juvenile campaign with his maiden win over 7f. Nebulosa was even more impressive on his reappearance at the start of this month, beating a decent opponent in Farasi Lane into second place on his handicap debut. He gave the impression of a horse who would be even better when stepped up to a mile and has the chance to prove that on Saturday. He has soft ground form so the heavy ground isn’t too much of a concern and 7/1 is a generous enough price for each way punters.
3:20 Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas
Group 1, 1m
The big race of the day comes from Ireland, with this wonderful Classic contest set to see some classy sorts go to post. Poetic Flare may be the winner of the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket but he has both Lucky Vega and Wembley ahead of him in the betting for the Irish equivalent. Lucky Vega is preferred by the market after running into third at Newmarket while Wembley is being quite well backed to improve after he could only finish 11th at the start of the month.
It is often said of younger horses trained by Aidan O’Brien that they make big improvements from their first to second run of the season. For all that he has a great record in the 2,000 Guineas where he prefers to send horses fresh, O’Brien’s horses in the field at the Curragh are expected to make big steps forward. However, it could be that Battleground is a better option for punters at 10/1 than the much shorter price of 4/1 available about Wembley.
Conditions should be much more in Battleground’s favour at the Curragh than they were at Newmarket. He enjoys cut underfoot so the heavy going is much preferable to the good to firm he encountered on his trip to Britain, while the flatter surface makes life easier for a horse who looks a great price either to win or each way.
3:35 Casumo Bet10Get10 Sandy Lane Stakes
Group 2, 6f
The betting for the Sandy Lane Stakes is headed by Dragon Symbol who was not seen as a juvenile but has had an incredible time of it since making his debut at Wolverhampton at the start of March with four straight wins. Although he is being backed to add to his tally this is a fairly steep step up in class against some high potential sprinters.
Isabella Giles is one of those who could be very good indeed. She has had excuses for disappointing runs in her first two starts of the season but has yet to show that she has kicked on and the drop down to 6f might not be in her best interests. Instead, consider backing The Lir Jet at 8/1. He has shown an improvement from last season even if it would be surprising had he not, given how tamely his juvenile season petered out. If, as his third in the Greenham Stakes suggests, he has trained on, The Lir Jet could yet be a top class sprinter and should claim at least a place in the Sandy Lane Stakes at 8/1.
3:50 williamhill.com Best Odds Guaranteed Handicap
Class 2, 5f
It’s possible to make a decent case for a number of the horses in the running for this handicap sprint. Copper Knight and Mondammej are vying for favouritism after they locked horns in another 5f handicap at York just over a week ago. Copper Knight won that day and he is the favourite to do so again but with the likes of Count D’orsay, Pendleton and Hurricane Ivor all in with a chance, the favourite’s price of 7/2 isn’t overly interesting.
Makanah is much more tempting at 10/1. The top weighted horse in the field, Makanah should benefit from getting the first run of the season under his belt earlier this month. He never got into that contest at Chester but few did and if he does come on for that effort, he has every chance of making a return to the levels with which he ended last season which would likely be too good for this competition. He’s run well in Listed company and has come down a couple of pounds for his last run so is very good price.
4:10 Casumo Best Odds Guaranteed Temple Stakes
Group 2, 5f
At a time when so many owners (and therefore breeders) are favouring sprinters, it is a surprise that the top level of the sprint division seems so devoid of big names. Connections of all the horses in the Temple Stakes will hope that this is the race that marks the start of something special. The problem with that hope is that the race is going to be run on challenging soft ground, the likes of which we are unlikely to see much more often in the big sprints over the remainder of the season. At least we hope the weather improves and we don’t!
That soft ground could just make all the difference on Saturday. Karl Burke will very much hope that is the case as Lady In France has run very well on heavy ground for him before and is taken to do so again at a price of 6/1 which is more than fair. She faded away when seen for the first time earlier this month and should strip fitter this time around so Lady In France could prove to be the best value of all.