The summer is always a very busy time in British horse racing and we have another typically packed day of racing on Saturday. With the action coming thick and fast it can be difficult to know where to concentrate so it’s handy that ITV Racing have helped by picking out the best races from Haydock, Beverley and Chester.
There are eight contests being televised so we have got plenty to go at this Saturday. With lots of chances to get the best of the bookies, we have gone through each of the live ITV races in this week’s Saturday Racing Tips.
1:45 Betfred Nifty Fifty Achilles Stakes
Roger Varian was very excited when Dragon Symbol turned up at his yard at the start of the year. The smart four-year-old has bags of ability so it was very disappointing that he was could finish no better than seventh of nine on his debut for his new yard at York earlier in the month. The market is ready to forgive Dragon Symbol and he is the clear favourite for this Listed opener to the day’s ITV Racing action but with doubts cast by that York run, it could be wise to leave the favourite unbacked and instead look for some each way value.
As far as we are concerned, the very best of that value is provided by Tabdeed who is available at very nice odds of 10/1. Victory for the seven-year-old over Dragon Symbol would be especially welcomed by Archie Watson as it was from his Lambourn yard that the favourite used to run. Moreover, Watson has only recently started training Tabdeed and the signs are positive that he is getting some improvement from the experienced campaigner. Hollie Doyle saw some serious improvement from her first to second ride on Tabdeed and their burgeoning partnership can yield even more at Haydock.
2:05 Hilary Needler Trophy Fillies’ Conditions Stakes
Class 2, 5f
The Hilary Needler Trophy Fillies’ Conditions Stakes has been won by some nice fillies in recent years and there’s another good group turning up for this year’s renewal. The top two horses in the market – Absolutelyflawless and Parr Five – both arrive having yet to taste defeat in their fledgling careers but it’s Distinguished Lady, who lost on her debut, that could be the one to side with at 3/1.
A 400,000gns purchase at the breeze-ups, Distinguished Lady now runs for the ambitious Amo Racing. She was a little too keen on her debut at Newmarket and the race was run too quickly for her to hold on out in front. She’ll have learned a lot from that run and if she settles better this time around, Distinguished Lady will have a great chance to earn her first win.
2:20 Betfred Double Delight Handicap
Class 2, 1m4f
If you are going to back the favourite for a handicap you’d want to be as sure as possible that the horse is going to run to form. Reliability is key and it is certainly fair to say that Forza Orta passes the reliability test. Kevin Ryan’s four-year-old has given a good account of himself in all three of his runs thus far this season and there is no reason to suggest that his levels will drop at Haydock.
An 8lb rise in the weights from the start of the season to the Betfred Double Delight Handicap looks more than fair. There is a good chance that a mark of 86 is some way from seriously handicapping Forza Orta’s chances and although he faces some strong opposition among his 12 rivals it’s the 7/2 favourite who they all have to beat.
2:40 bet365 Handicap
Class 3, 7½f
On first viewing you would think that I’m A Gambler is a very aptly named horse for anybody who backs him at 9/1 for the bet365 Handicap at Beverley. The three-year-old’s last win came over the sprint trip of 6f while his performance last time out was good enough to beat just one horse. However, he’s still learning at this level and there is a feeling at the Charlie and Mark Johnston yard that I’m A Gambler could be better stepped up in trip.
The warm, dry recent weather is big plus for I’m A Gambler who is best suited to firmer conditions. The good to firm ground at Beverley should allow him to use his impressive finishing speed to good effect, particularly if the race is run at a slower pace. He’s by no means the favourite but I’m A Gambler has a good shot at a place at a generous price.
2:55 Betfred Pinnacle Stakes
Group 3, 1m4f
There aren’t too many top level races that Sir Michael Stoute has failed to win in his long and storied career but he is yet to bag the Betfred Pinnacle Stakes. Sir Michael has arguably his best chance of breaking his duck in this Group 3 with Noon Star primed to run very well.
Noon Star is one of four horses at the head of the betting who are all sure to attract plenty of support. The bookies are finding it hard to put too much between Sea La Rosa, Climate, Lady Hayes and the 5/1 selection who has Richard Kingscote booked for the ride. Victory will require a very good training performance as Noon Star was never in the race at York last time out. Sir Michael has ample experience righting wrongs though and he wouldn’t enter her if he hadn’t sorted out that issue. He’s also a master at getting improvement out of four-year-olds so don’t be surprised if Noon Star takes some big steps forward this season starting at Haydock on Saturday.
3:15 bet365 Two Year Old Trophy Conditions Stakes
Class 2, 5f
The market was keen on Rogue Spirit as he made his debut at Beverley earlier in the month. Sent off a 5/2 favourite, he belied his lack of experience to grab the inside rail and take advantage of his good draw. Tom Clover’s charge is just one stall further from that inside rail for his second career run and yet he’s available at twice the price.
That change of price is a reflection of the greater level of competition that Rogue Spirit faces this time around. Connections are hopeful, if not expectant, that he will win races at a higher level than this though and he has an entry in the Super Sprint Stakes at Newbury in July. This is a nice step towards that valuable contest and there is no reason that Rogue Spirit cannot take it in his stride to make it two wins from two starts.
3:30 Betfred John Of Gaunt Stakes
Group 3, 7f
After winning last year’s renewal of the Betfred John Of Gaunt Stakes, Kinross returns to Haydock to defend. Ralph Beckett’s five-year-old is the bookies’ favourite but he’s had a bit of a strange time since his win 12 months ago. After winning next time out over 7f at Goodwood, Kinross earned results of 5-4-9, with each of those races coming over a different trip. Second favourite Sunray Major also comes into the race with some patchy recent form and his last three runs have all been over 1m.
In contrast to the top two in the betting, Happy Power is very much a 7f horse and at the odds he has to be the one for us here. All three of his races in 2022 have come over the trip including his return to form last month at Leicester where he was a winning favourite, albeit of a three-horse race. This is clearly a tougher task but he’s no stranger to this level having won four Class 1s in his career. Happy Power can improve on that record by winning at Haydock at odds of 9/2.
3:45 ICM Stellar Sports Handicap
Class 2, 7½f
Chester favourite Oh This Is Us is the horse to back in the final ITV race of the day, the sole visit by the cameras to this delightful and hugely popular venue. The veteran’s price of 11/2 reflects the fact that there is little in his recent form to suggest that he is at the peak of his powers. However, he has two wins and three places from his five starts at this track so he clearly loves it as much as the fans do, and he could well improve upon that from the bottom end of the weights.
A mark of 92 is the lowest that Oh This Is Us has run from since July 2016. In that time he has been competitive at a higher level than this handicap, including victory in the Group 3 Diomed Stakes at Epsom. For all that his incoming form is poor, this nine-year-old is not done yet so expect Oh This Is Us to run another big race on the Roodee.