Just a couple of weeks after Newmarket hosted the first Classics of the Flat season the ITV Racing cameras return to Headquarters for more high-class action on Saturday. This time though Newmarket is providing the filler for the day’s racing with Newbury’s Al Shaqab Lockinge – Ladies Day cast in the role of anchor.
The Lockinge itself is the star attraction with Baaeed, one of the highest-rated horses in the world, warm order to earn another win. It’s far from the only race to get excited about on Saturday though and we’ve been through each of the live ITV races in this week’s Saturday Racing Tips.
1:35 BetVictor Carnarvon Stakes
Aidan O’Brien is one of the most studied trainers on the Flat. Among all the ideas about O’Brien-trained horses and when is the best time to back them, the idea that they come on well for their first run of the season is perhaps the most well-trodden track for punters. That trend alone could see a lot of money come for Cadamosto the closer we get to the race but there is more than one reason to like the look of the 6/1 shot.
Cadamosto looked a potentially high-class horse in the early summer of 2021 but his juvenile season tapered out somewhat. Having looked in need of his first run of the season, he did well to finish third in a Listed race at Navan in April and is ready to kick on. Cadamosto has an excellent sprint pedigree and is ready to take a big step forward with victory at Newbury.
1:50 Denbury Homes Fairway Stakes
The market for the opening race of the day suggests that we could have a very exciting contest ahead. Ottoman Fleet is the bookies’ favourite as many are convinced the Charlie Appleby gelding will gain compensation for his narrow defeat on debut. However, he faces a very tough challenge up against Post Impressionist for Wiliam Haggas and Groundbreaker for Andrew Balding.
Of the two main challengers, it’s Groundbreaker who makes the most appeal at odds of 4/1. Unlike the two ahead of him in the betting, Groundbreaker got some valuable experience under his belt as a two year old, experience which he drew upon to win his first run of the season. For all that this is a big step up on class from that race at Doncaster, Bangkok made the step up from the same race in 2019 and Groundbreaker looks to have the ability to do likewise.
2:10 Al Rayyan Stakes
Group 3, 1m4f
York’s Dante Festival has taken the attention of most horse racing fans during the week. A large number of high-class horses entertained the big crowds on the Knavesmire but it can be a fiddly track which certain horses struggle with. Eshaada certainly didn’t suit York and after flopping in the Yorkshire Oaks last year it’s no surprise that connections decided against running her this week, instead choosing to send her to Newbury for the Al Rayyan Stakes for which she is the 7/2 favourite.
Eshaada proved she is capable of winning among exalted company when she claimed the British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes at Ascot in October. No doubt the cut in the ground helped her that day but she shouldn’t have a problem with the good ground at Newbury and can make her class tell.
2:25 TRU7 Handicap
Class 2, 6f
Saturday’s racing includes several exciting races for three-year-olds with progressive horses everywhere you look. Haymaker is certainly one to add to that list. Not only does Haymaker clearly have a great deal of natural ability but he is a versatile horse. After impressing when winning his first try over seven furlongs earlier this month at Newmarket, Haymaker reverts to six furlongs on Saturday having shown promise over sprint trips as a juvenile.
Happy as Hughie Morrison was with Haymaker’s win during the Guineas meeting, the way he travelled freely and tired towards the end of the race suggested that six furlongs might be the best trip for him for now. A mark of 81 surely underestimates Haymaker’s current ability and with improvement likely he looks a very good bet at odds of 7/2.
2:45 BetVictor London Gold Cup Handicap
Class 2, 1m2f
Connections of horses who are not from the very top echelons of Flat racing often dream of their charge winning one of the big Saturday handicaps of the season. The BetVictor London Gold Cup is one such target that connections of three year olds highlight but ambitions of the winning connections often get shifted to even bigger races.
Many recent winners of this contest have proven to be very smart indeed and Mr Big Stuff could be the next cab off the rank in that regard. The mount of Hollie Hoyle is towards the bottom of the weights but could be much better than his current handicap mark of 81 suggests. The way Mr Big Stuff attacked his race on his first attempt over 1m2f really caught the eye at Nottingham. A bit too keen in the early stages, a lack of fitness compared to the winner ultimately told but a similar performance and just a little bit of improvement could see Mr Big Stuff earn a big win at a generous looking 11/2.
3:00 Birketts LLP Handicap
Class 2, 7f
Charlie Appleby and James Doyle have already had a remarkable season with wins in both of the Guineas. That pair have many targets for the rest of the season which are, with all due respect, far greater than the Birketts LLP Handicap but winning this race with Quintillus would provide a deep sense of satisfaction for them both.
Quintillus has never been straightforward. His unpredictable attitude has cost him on occasions and the decision was taken midway through last season to geld him. That brought about some improvement and he ended his three year old campaign with victory at Newmarket. A less than impressive run at Meydan in February is nothing to worry about as it came on the back of a six-month break. A return to Newmarket should bring improvement in Quintillus who will be hard to beat if at his best.
3:20 Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes
Group 1, 1m
Even among the incredibly high standard of horses trained by William Haggas, Baaeed is something very special indeed. His run of six wins from six starts last season culminated in Group 1 success in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes where Mother Earth was one of the nine horses in behind him. The Aidan O’Brien four year old was a 33/1 shot that day and she’s as big as 6/1 to reverse the form, with Baaeed as short as 4/9 in places to maintain his winning streak.
Mother Earth will likely have a slight fitness edge over Baaeed given she won at the Curragh in March while Alcohol Free (14/1) has also had the benefit of a warm-up run before this important Group 1. They’ll need more than fitness to get the better of a horse rated as one of the very best in the world though and it would be a major surprise were Baaeed not to kick off his four year old campaign with a win.