The Flat racing season is coming to an end but there are still some very good weekends to enjoy before attention turns 100% to the jumps. Newmarket and Ascot provide the bulk of the entertainment on Saturday with some competitive racing to light up what looks as though it is going to be a very wet, very grey day. There’s also a trip to Redcar for the Two Year Old Trophy and we have picked out the best betting odds from all eight live ITV Racing contests.
1:45 British EBF Premier Fillies’ Handicap
Class 2, 1m2f
When Achelois tailed off having looked ready to land a hat-trick at York in August, there were some who felt that the handicapper finally had the progressive three year old in his grip. The Andrew Balding yard are quietly confident that is not the case. Achelois did everything right until the closing stages and it looked as though it was the firm ground that did for her chances of winning rather than her handicap mark of 92.
Raised just a single pound for finishing third and back on the sort of soft ground that she won on at Goodwood in July, Achelois can show that she is still on an upward curve at Newmarket. This won’t be easy and there are some good each way bets lurking in the field for this £25,000 race including Alpine Mistral at 25/1 and The Flying Ginger at 14/1 but it’s bookies’ favourite Achelois who should see this out.
2:05 Oakman Group Rous Stakes
The heavy rain across Britain is going to do for the chances of many horses this weekend. Hurricane Ivor, the early bookies’ favourite for the Rous Stakes could be one of those who falls foul of conditions. He’s had only two disappointing runs this season, both of which came on soft ground which does not bode well for the William Haggas-trained charge.
Dakota Gold could be the horse best suited to some cut in the ground for this minimum distance sprint. Indeed, the experienced campaigner showed that fast ground is not to his liking last time out having been outclassed in Group 1 company at York. Expect Dakota Gold to battle away gamely at Ascot and potentially go all the way and win at odds of 5/1.
2:20 £150,000 Tattersalls October Auction Stakes
Class 2, 6f
A field of 30 two year olds are slated to contest this valuable sales race, weather and ground permitting. That size of field combined with the inherent unpredictability of juvenile races where horses can improve significantly from previous runs would suggest that punters should be on the lookout for an upset. The first six renewals of the race have provided just one winning favourite but 20 of the field are available at 20/1 or greater and it would be a major surprise were any of them to win.
It would not be a surprise were the clear favourite to win. Fearby has run well at a higher level than this but his third in a low-quality renewal of the Mill Reef Stakes won’t exactly fill punters with confidence. A better option could be Tatsumaki at 6/1. He looked a bit keen on debut over seven furlongs but settled much better when dropped back to six furlongs the next time out. Tasumaki was able to win both of those races and has scope to grow and improve.
2:40 ABF/BGC Cumberland Lodge Stakes
Group 3, 1m4f
The Cumberland Lodge Stakes provides Hukum with a chance for redemption having been beaten when a long odds-on favourite in the September Stakes last time out. In hindsight, there was no reason for Hukum to be such a short price given he was carrying a three-pound penalty and the likelihood that 1m4f on the Newcastle all-weather would be a bit too sharp.
It won’t be as sharp over the same trip at Ascot but it could pay to take Hukum on again. This is a good race that includes the improving Quickthorn at a tempting price of 7/2. The four year old came close to a huge payday for connections when second in the Ebor and back up that positive run with victory in a conditions race last time. The soft ground is a positive as he looks to win over course and distance for the second time this season having won the Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes at Royal Ascot.
2:55 Kingdom Of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes
Group 1, 1m
Luck plays a part in the career of every racehorse no matter how good or hardy they are. Mother Earth is a case in point. The three year old is supremely talented and has a huge heart and yet things have not always panned out for her this season. If her luck does level out over the coming weeks and months then the filly could be about to have some tremendous success.
Even before the sad news that Santa Barbara’s injury proved fatal, Ballydoyle had changed plans to send Mother Earth to America. Her engagements Stateside could well include the Breeders’ Cup and Mother Earth can leave for America on the back of a big win in the Sun Chariot Stakes. The wonderful Snow Lantern will take a lot of beating but the 1,000 Guineas winner should be up to the task and is certainly a fair price at odds of 3/1.
3:15 John Guest Racing Bengough Stakes
Group 3, 6f
Marcelo Bielsa is a football manager who likes to do things his own way. The horse named in his honour did likewise in the Ayr Gold Cup last month. While the rest of the field raced in one of two groups either on the far side or the middle, Bielsa went out on his own by the stands’ rail. That proved to be a stroke of genius as he won with plenty in hand like he had been threatening to do for some time.
The next test for Bielsa is to win at a higher level and he has that chance in the Group 3 Bengough Stakes on Saturday. He is up against other hardy horses who have made the step up out of handicaps such as Glen Shiel and Summerghand as well some improving younger horses. Bielsa still has higher heights to scale even at the age of six and it’s clear that Kevin Ryan has found the key to getting the best out of him so back Bielsa to win at odds of 13/2.
3:35 William Hill Two Year Old Trophy
The news that Gisburn will not be running in the Two Year Old Trophy has opened things up considerably. As is often the case with this race, there is a whole lot of talent in the field but few – if any – of the horses can be relied upon to give their running.
Vintage Clouds and Chipotle sit top of the betting both having shown glimpses of real quality earlier in the season but they have tailed off lately. If either of them gets their act together they could go on to win but it could pay to go for a speculative option at a bigger price with Roman Dragon tempting at 8/1. He looked to take a step backwards last time out but he should be able to draw a line through that on more suitable ground and lay down a serious challenge for this Listed race.
3:50 Equine Productions “The Fall” Challenge Cup
Class 2, 7f
The live ITV Racing action ends with one of the biggest betting races of the day. A full field of 18 runners has made it past the final declaration stage and many of them have a realistic chance of winning. Escobar is very much among that number despite his lengthy run without a win. It’s been another busy season for the seven year old with no fewer than 11 races in Britain after an unsuccessful three-race spell in Dubai.
He’s been unable to win any of them but his official rating has only fluctuated by four pounds, showing the consistency of his performances over that lengthy spell. That run could finally come to an end on Saturday in a race that looks like a cracking chance for him. Even if he does come up just short, 10/1 is a good enough price to back Escobar each way and collect the place money.