Weekends before a big festival don’t always provide the best racing but Saturday’s action is primed to be the perfect warm-up for the Dante Festival which gets underway at York next week. Newbury and Newmarket provide the bulk of the action covered by ITV Racing while there are two trips to Ripon for a pair of cracking handicaps.
All in all, there is a lot to like about this week’s Saturday racing cards. As ever, there are plenty of chances to beat the bookies and we’ve picked out the best in our Saturday Racing Tips below.
1:45 Denford Stakes
This week’s ITV Racing starts with a Listed race for two year olds which has been won by some very promising juveniles in years gone by. The horses in the field for this year’s edition could develop to become very good middle-distance competitors in the years to come.
Bayside Boy is one of those who will surely get better the further he goes. That is the impression he gave when picking up without the need of a whip to win on his debut. He has lots of room for improvement as he learns his job more and more and if David Egan can wind him up at the right time, Bayside Boy can make it two wins from two at odds of 13/8.
2:00 MansionBet Bet £10 Get £20 Fillies’ Handicap
Class 2, 1m6f
Can stepping up in trip to 1m6f be the key to unlocking Eileendover’s obvious potential? That is what Pam Sly and her team are hoping for ahead of her run in this Class 2 handicap. She came to the Flat on the back of showing some real signs of class in bumpers but for one reason or another has been unable to take that form to the level. Eileendover hasn’t disgraced herself though and has probably run to a level greater than her official rating of 92.
Midrarr could be the main danger to Eileendover after her win in a handicap on the all-weather at Wolverhampton earlier in the week. At that time, William Haggas sounded cautious about Midrarr’s chances of taking up her engagement at Newmarket. If she does indeed line up, she’ll have a chance of completing a hat-trick at 10/3 but she’s been hit by a five-pound hike for Tuesday’s win which means preference narrowly goes to Eileendover at odds of 9/2.
2:20: BetVictor Geoffrey Freer Stakes
Group 3, 1m5½f
If Eileendover does indeed win at Newmarket then you can expect a shortening of Golden Pass’s price at Newbury. Hugo Palmer’s four year old began the season as an 88-rated handicapper but has since made rapid improvement with a win and a narrow second place to her name in Listed races, finishing well ahead of Eileendover on both occasions. Those Listed runs suggested she could be even better with a step up in trip and Palmer has ignored potential runs to give her a decent rest ahead of her first attempt over this trip.
The fact that Golden Pass is the second favourite and yet is available at a price of 6/1 shows how well-fancied Hukum is at the head of the betting. A general 10/11 shot, the Owen Burrows-trained four year old very much sets the standard. However, he is forced to carry a penalty for a Group 3 win at York last time out and has to give another three pounds to Golden Pass due to the fillies’ allowance. Last year’s winner is the right favourite but Golden Pass may just be able to pull off a surprise in this one.
2:35 MansionBet Beaten By A Head Grey Horse Handicap
Class 4, 6f
George Bowen is a difficult horse to get a handle on. The nine year old has been through horrible runs of form which make you think that connections will be considering retiring him only to snap back to the levels previously seen of him. He is very much in the midst of one of those poor runs at the moment. His handicap mark is already back down to 82 after it was raised to 86 following a strong finish for second place at Thirsk at the end of June. That is a tempting mark on this drop down in class for a horse who will give whatever he has and should give each way backers a run for their money at odds of 10/1.
2:55 BetVictor Handicap
Class 3, 7f
Aratus is the bookies’ favourite to win on his handicap debut. That is quite a big burden to bear as he steps out of novice company but he is good enough to justify his price of 9/4. He was last seen in July when winning a race that completely fell apart as his closest competitors faded badly. It was a run worth taking in isolation though. He quickened away readily and Adam Kirby was even able to allow him to coast home in the closing stages and still win by seven and a half lengths.
Aratus showed that he has no problem scrapping it out when needed. His second and final run as a juvenile saw him break his duck after a battle on the all-weather track at Kempton, a run that will stand him in good stead for his time in handicap company.
3:10 William Hill Silver Trophy Handicap
Class 2, 6f
The first trip to Ripon for ITV Racing is to take in the Silver Trophy Handicap. This is the consolation race for the feature race a little later and features a full complement of 20 runners. Although connections of those in the race will be upset to miss out on the chance to win the big one, this is a decent consolation and there is every chance that the winning prize of £10,000 will make its way to connections of Bossipop.
On first glance, there isn’t a lot to like about Bossipop’s recent form. However, he loves running at Ripon and the way that this course brings the best out of him could be vital. While many of the runners will be hampered by the undulating nature of the course, Bossipop will get on with his job. Given that he’ll start from the sort of high draw that is favoured at Ripon, Bossipop can run his way back to form and get a return for each way backers at a nice price of 14/1.
3:30 BetVictor Hungerford Stakes
Group 2, 7f
The Hungerford Stakes is the feature race of the week and this looks like an excellent renewal. This Group 2 race has been won with some excellent performances in recent years. The competitive nature of the field assembled suggests that it is going to require another very good win and the challenge from a punting perspective is working out which of these talented but fairly unpredictable horses will rise to the occasion.
The betting is headed by one of several Godolphin and Shadwell Estate runners in the field, Al Suhail. There is no doubting his quality but you’d have to be brave to take the odds of 9/4 about a horse who can frustrate with his attitude even if he did behave better last time out having been gelded. Sacred (8/1) and Dreamloper (10/1) are interesting options for those looking for an each way price but the best bet looks to be Danyah at 5/1.
Danyah’s price reflects the fact that he is stepping out of handicaps but what he may lack in proven class he makes up for with his attitude. Owen Burrows was delighted with the way he won a hot seven-furlong handicap at Ascot last time despite being drawn on the wrong side of the track and he can battle his way to another career-best win at a generous price.
3:45 William Hill Great St Wilfrid Handicap
Class 2, 6f
One of the big handicaps of the summer sees out this week’s ITV Racing action. The crowds at Ripon will mostly have turned up for the Great St Wilfrid Handicap. Anticipation is particularly high among the Tim Easterby team who return with Staxton looking to win this prestigious six-furlong handicap for the second year in a row. He very much has a chance at a track that he loves but the draw hasn’t been as kind this year and the 6/1 generally available is too short to be really appealing.
It’s the bang in-form Soul Seeker who is the most appealing with odds of 9/1 available about David O’Meara’s charge as he goes in search of a hat-trick inside the last month. The most recent of those wins came in a unique race at York in which the sprinters were partnered by jump jockeys. Tom Scudamore is a wonderful jockey who is only getting better but he would admit that he had little input in a race in which they all went off very quickly. Sean Kirrane is at a completely different time in his career but he is much more attuned to the pace of these big sprints and providing he keeps a handle on Soul Seeker in the early stages, the five-pound claimer can earn a huge win.