The Sprint Cup at Haydock is the big feature race of this week’s ITV Racing. The valuable Group 1 race sets the standard in terms of the calibre of racing but with Starman installed as a worthy odds on favourite, there are races that appeal more from a betting perspective.
Punters are spoilt for choice when it comes to betting value. There are strong, competitive races throughout the day and we’ve picked out the best of that value throughout the live ITV offering in this week’s Saturday Racing Tips.
1:45 Betfair Double Daily Rewards Superior Mile Stakes
Group 3, 1m
When Maydanny won the Golden Mile Handicap at Goodwood at the end of July, his trainer Mark Johnston suggested that he would soon be back in Pattern company. Connections decided to run him in the Clipper Logistics Handicap next time out, perhaps because they couldn’t find a suitable Group level race. It appears that they’ve found one in the Superior Mile Stakes.
Maydanny is below both Lord Glitters and My Oberon in the betting for the first ITV Racing contest of the weekend. That is fair enough given the quality of those two horses but this could scarcely be a better chance for Maydanny to win a Group 3. He’s got the fast ground that he thrives on and can get out in front of this small field. Can that make up for the nine pounds he has to give up to Lord Glitters on official ratings? At odds of 7/2, it is well worth finding out.
2:05 Unibet 3 Uniboosts A Day Sirenia Stakes
Group 3, 6f
We head to Kempton next for a good Group 3 race for two year olds. As is often the case, deciding which juveniles you can trust to give their running is half the battle for punters in this year’s renewal of the Sirenia Stakes. In that regard, the bold placement of Nymphadora by her connections could pay dividends.
After showing promise when finishing sixth of 12 runners on her debut at Newmarket, Nymphadora has been consistently thrown in at the deep end. She’s not been able to win since getting off the mark in a Listed contest at York but lost no respect running against some of the best two year olds around in Group level races at Ascot, Goodwood and York. The hope is that those runs have taught her more than winning easier races would have and connections look to have placed her well in the Sirenia Stakes where she is a good price at odds of 9/2.
2:20 “My Odds Boost” On Betfair Handicap
Class 2, 1m6f
Hindsight is not something afforded to racing punters but looking back it should have been easier to spot that Valley Forge was overpriced to win on his handicap debut last time out. Andrew Balding’s colt went off at 10/1 in the Melrose despite fitting the profile of the winner of the race one year earlier, also from the Balding stable.
It was a lack of experience that spooked punters at York but there are no such concerns this time around. Valley Forge is the bookies’ favourite for his second handicap start and there is no reason to think he can’t win again. A seven-pound raise in the weights is nothing to be sniffed at but the class of Valley Forge is such that he can run at a higher level than this so he can be victorious again at odds of 2/1.
2:40 Unibet September Stakes
Group 3, 1m4f
The September Stakes is a bit of a sleeper race. It comes at a pretty quiet time of the season and takes place on the all-weather at Kempton while there are good turf cards at Haydock and Ascot on the same day. Having said that, it has proven to be a must-watch race over the years. Even since the race switched to the Polytrack in 2006 it has continued to attract quality fields. The likes of Enable (twice), Jack Hobbs and Arab Spring have all won at short odds in recent years and we have another very strong favourite in the shape of Hukum for the 2021 renewal.
Like those recent well-backed winners of this Group 3, Hukum has bigger engagements on the horizon. Connections are yet to finalise the plans for him but a run in the Breeders’ Cup Turf is just one of the options being considered. For all that the other four horses in the field have plenty of quality, Hukum is going to be as difficult to beat as his odds of 5/6 suggest.
2:55 Betfair Exchange Old Borough Cup Handicap
Class 2, 1m6f
Maydanny, our pick for the first ITV race of the day from Haydock, has graduated out of handicap company having won under some penal weights. Several horses have done something similar this season, using their class to win despite carrying top weight and the market is pretty keen on the chances of Global Storm doing likewise in the Old Borough Cup. He will likely need to be better than ever to beat the other 11 runners but rarely has he shown his very best on ground this firm so his mark of 104 just looks to be too much.
Island Brave is another who will have to be at his very best to win but the reliable seven year old doesn’t need to win to earn a decent return for each way backers at odds of 12/1. Heather Main’s charge is a very good stayer who won’t mind a strong pace on this step down in trip from two miles. While his results aren’t much to write home about, Island Brave has been unlucky on more than one occasion and things can turn his way at Haydock on the fast ground that he loves.
3:10 Lavazza Stakes
Class 2, 1m4f
The Lavazza Stakes is another one of those races on Saturday’s card where each way betting looks the way to go. It’s a competitive handicap for three year olds which usually goes the way of a progressive sort. Predicting which of these younger horses is going to kick on is not easy which is why the last five years have seen two winning favourites among winners at 8/1, 12/1 and 16/1.
For all that Wahraan looks the sort to improve beyond this level for Sir Michael Stoute, he’s a little short at the top of the betting at 11/4. State Of Bliss may not have the favourite’s out and out class but he has taken significant steps forward this season and is much more generously priced at 14/1. It didn’t work out for him in his first run at this level at York last time out but he didn’t get the run of the race and can continue to progress with a place well within his capabilities.
3:30 Betfair Sprint Cup Stakes
Group 1, 6f
The highly valuable Sprint Cup Stakes is the feature race of the weekend in Britain. After the retirement of Battaash, this is another chance for a horse to stamp their dominance on the sprinting division and Starman is the one most likely to do that.
Ed Walker said recently that this is a bit of a bonus for his four year old as the ground is rarely as fast as he wants it at Haydock. He has twice come unstuck on soft ground over the last 12 months but back on a firmer footing, he’s been backed into 5/6 favouritism. It’s highly unlikely that Starman will have another crack at Champions Day next month and he may be sent overseas for the conclusion of his season. Confidence levels are high that he will be able to see out his British season in style as he has winning form over many of his competitors at Haydock and he can add another Group 1 triumph to his CV after capturing the July Cup at York.
3:45 Careys Foundation Supporting The Lighthouse Club
Class 2, 7f
ITV Racing’s coverage ends with arguably the most difficult race of the day for punters to work out. This is a very competitive handicap with horses throughout the 20-pound spread in the official ratings capable of winning the £29,000 available for connections. The same is true of the odds and it may be that the underdog of the lot, Orbaan, provides the best value.
David O’Meara’s six year old had some initial success having come over from France. As happy as his new yard were with his start in Britain, his good form took his handicap mark to a high of 104. This is the right time that he has run off a mark less than 100 in Britain and having shown some positive signs this season, he could take advantage and run into a place at odds of 14/1.