We have a bumper Saturday of racing to enjoy this weekend. Our Saturday Racing Tips take in all of the live ITV races from four tracks. Each of Haydock, Goodwood and York provides multiple races for racing fans to get their teeth stuck into and somehow there is even time to head to the Curragh for the Irish 2,000 Guineas.
With so much to cover and so much betting value to unearth let’s get cracking with the best bets from the best of the weekend’s races.
1:25 Florida Handicap
Class 5, 1m4f
The televised action begins with this Class 5 handicap from Haydock. It isn’t the highest class race you will see this Saturday, but with 11 runners set to go to post, it promises to be a competitive affair. The 7/2 favourite at the time of writing is the Milton Harris-trained six year old Songo who won last time out in a similar standard of race. But with a field of this size we’re happy to take the favourite on at those odds.
Instead we are plumping for Tony Coyle’s five year old gelding, Wots The Wifi Code. He’s stepping up in distance here after a third, a second and a win over 1m2f, but he kept on well in each of those and we think the extra yards will do him the world of good. Available to back at 5/1, we think he offers better value than the favourite.
1:45 William Hill Harroways Handicap
Class 2, 7f
Goodwood is an excellent racecourse. Thousands of people make sure they head to the West Sussex venue every year for a day at the races but it isn’t always so accommodating for the horses. It’s an awkward track which has got the better of many top-class horses over the years and there is no doubt that some of the leading contenders for the William Hill Harroways Handicap will dislike the track.
Proven Goodwood form is in short supply among this field of three year olds and it could be having that form in the book that swings things the way of the Gosden runner Alotaibi. The colt is the only one in the field to have run at this course in the past and he only just missed out on victory when beaten into second by a neck in a handicap here in April. He won on debut at Newbury last August over this distance and we fancy him to do the business here against a less-than-impressive field.
2:00 Hell Nook Handicap
Class 2, 2m
The advent and subsequent improvement of all-weather racing have allowed trainers to keep their Flat horses going throughout the winter months. It’s not the only way for horses to remain active in the traditional Flat season close though. The Philip Kirby-trained Skycutter was kept busy this winter by going hurdling. Despite some decent runs in the jumps sphere, it was a return to the level in April that brought the best out of Skycutter as he won over 10f on soft ground at Ripon.
A mediocre performance last time out probably had more to do with running over an inadequately short trip than his newly raised handicap mark as there is plenty of improvement to come from this progressive looking four year old. A run over 2m will allow Skycutter to utilise his stamina reserves and should see him give each way punters a run for their money at a nice price of 25/1.
2:15 William Hill Festival Stakes
Three of the last four winners of the William Hill Festival Stakes were aged six or older and we could see another experienced horse do the business this time around. The nine year old Stormy Atlantic is an interesting option but just won’t get the ground as soft as he would like to make him tempting enough in the betting with a preference instead going to Victory Chime.
Ralph Beckett’s seven year old has never won off a break anything like this long but his record of running into a place when coming into races fresh is encouraging. Similarly, his record at Goodwood is strong with two wins from his four runs at the track. With just three pounds extra to carry compared to the rating of his last win (which was a 1m2f handicap at Goodwood) Victory Chime must be considered a good 7/1 shot.
2:35 Silver Bowl Handicap
Class 2, 1m
The Silver Bowl Handicap has produced a strong field once again. This is a valuable contest open to three year olds only which has been won by a combination of well-backed favourites and rank outsiders in recent years. Those who prefer to go down the former route will have to choose between Mighty Ulysses for John and Thady Gosden and Tranquil Night for Charlie Appleby but those looking for some each way value should consider Spirit Catcher at odds of 9/1.
Charlie Johnston has learned an awful lot since working with his dad Mark Johnston, including how to bring out genuine improvement in three year old milers. This has been a speciality of the Johnstons in recent years and will likely continue to be so now that they are co-training the yard’s horses. Spirit Catcher is exactly the sort of horse that should thrive under the Johnstons’ care. After two good runs as a juvenile, he won on his first outing as a three year old but was too keen next time out. If jockey Joe Fanning can get him to settle better this time around, he could be a live each way contender.
2:55 William Hill Best Odds Guaranteed Handicap
Class 2, 5f
Next up we have this five-furlong sprint handicap that is sure to separate the speedsters from the dawdlers. In a wide-open field of 14, it looks like a race in which at least five runners could challenge for victory. Although the favourite Alligator Alley has looked sharp in recent runs, including at this course, the five year old has had too many breaks and not enough consistency to justify odds of 9/2.
We think the 9/1 shot Sir Titus could be a contender here after a narrow defeat at Redcar last time out. But for us, the standout option appears to be second-favourite Look Out Louis, who is available to back at odds of 6/1. Trained by Julie Camacho and with Jason Hunt in the saddle, the six year old won over this distance in a Class 2 race at Chester last time out and wasn’t far off winning at Newmarket in April. At that price, we think he represents enough value to tempt us in.
3:10 Sandy Lane Stakes
Group 2, 6f
Back we go to Haydock for the next race for this Group 2 six-furlong affair. After five wins on the bounce, punters could be forgiven for piling into the favourite, El Caballo. But it should be noted that the colt has had two significant breaks from the track since May last year and this would be a step-up in class. He’s got a chance, of course, but at odds of just 5/2, we’re happy to look further down the card.
There’s potential each way value to be found in the Clive Cox-trained duo of Wings Of War (12/1) and Caturra (10/1), but it is the Hugo Palmer runner, Flaming Rob, who ticks the right boxes for us in this one. He only switched to Palmer’s yard in April, and he bombed on his debut for his new trainer at Newbury soon after, but that was after a long break and he simply didn’t look ready to compete. A few weeks later, though, he looked a different animal when doing the business at Chester over five furlongs. With a quartet of wins on the spin last season (at Doncaster, Chester, York and Thirsk), we think he’s on the way to rediscovering his consistency and we’ll be backing him here at 7/1.
3:20 Tatteralls Irish 2,000 Guineas
Group 1, 1m
Early though it may be in the Flat racing season but it has already become abundantly clear that Ballydoyle and Godolphin have an incredible amount of strength in depth when it comes to their three year olds. The 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket was a case in point. Although Native Trail was unable to justify favouritism Charlie Appleby was still able to celebrate victory as Coroebus stormed home to victory.
Native Trail gets another attempt at a top-level win at the Curragh on Saturday. Failing to win when a 5/4 favourite is never a good look but Native Trail didn’t lose much in defeat at Newmarket as Coroebus’ performance was extra special. The Oasis Dream colt probably would have won most Guineas with the calibre of his run at the end of April and given he already has winning course form at the Curragh he will be very tough to stop in the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas.
3:30 William Hill Bronte Cup Fillies’ Stakes
Group 3, 1m6f
Believe In Love kicked off last season with a disappointing run in May before turning things around next time out to win the Group 3 Stanerra Stakes at Leopardstown. This time around, the Roger Varian trained five-year-old was thrown into deeper waters as she began her season in a Group 3. Once again, things did not quite go to plan in her seasonal opener but, once again, she can bounce straight back with a win.
In fairness to Believe In Love, she was better on her first start of this season than last. She did look as though she needed the run though and the market is right to expect improvement at York. The 5/2 favourite won’t have things all her own way during the 1m6f William Hill Bronte Cup Fillies’ Stakes but she is a lovely traveller who can finish strongly to pick up this decent pot.
3:45 Temple Stakes
Group 2, 5f
Winter Power played a starring role in what was a tremendous last season for Tim Easterby. He will travel with his star filly from North Yorkshire to Haydock with high hopes that the new campaign will get off to a winning start. According to Easterby, Winter Power has wintered well and looks an even more powerful four year old than she did last year.
This is a good first test for Winter Power before even bigger five-furlong sprints around the corner. The likes of Twilight Calls and Khaadem will keep the favourite honest but they’re not of the level of competition that she’ll face at Royal Ascot. A worthy favourite, Winter Power should reward favourite backers in the last ITV race of the day at odds of 11/8.