August continues to be a very busy time in the world of horse racing. Subject to the weather not being deemed too hot the ITV Racing cameras will be at three different courses on another bumper Saturday with action from Ripon, Newbury and Newmarket.
There is a great variety of races ahead with nine being televised in total, the majority of those coming from Newbury. We have Group level contests, valuable handicaps and even a race exclusively for grey horses! Variety is great for racing fans and also for punters as bookies can often miss one or two when they have some difficult races to price up. We’ve found some value options in this week’s Saturday Racing Tips as well as a few favourites who should oblige.
1:20 Download The BetVictor App Handicap
Class 4, 1m2f
Most of the best three-year-olds in British racing are already racing against their elders so it’s clear that the horses in the first ITV Racing contest of the day still have some maturing to do. That means there is plenty of room for improvement among these and the Juddmonte-owned Definite could well turn out to be the best of them in time.
Definite isn’t the quickest learner and still looked as though he needs to be sharpened up leaving the stalls when last seen a couple of weeks ago. That can be taught though and connections were surely happy at the way he responded to pressure. Hector Crouch certainly knows that this horse can be asked for much more. He’s the only jockey to have won on Definite and can make it two from two on board on Saturday at very solid looking odds of 11/4.
1:40 William Hill Ripon Hornblower Conditions Stakes
Class 2, 5f
Ripon’s big day begins with a 5f spring for two-year-olds. The sprinting division is wide open at the moment so connections of the five horses in the field will be hopeful that they can have some bigger days out in the coming years.
This is the sort of race that the bookies really don’t enjoy pricing up. That is good news for punters, especially when a horse appears to have been missed by the market in the way that Florida Filly seems to have been. Ian Jardine’s filly has bags of experience, relative to her rivals, and the return to 5f looks a wise move. She’s vulnerable to one improving out of nowhere but her form is the strongest and there’s no reason she can’t take a step forward herself, so her price of 9/2 might be considerably shorter come the off.
1:55 Denford Stakes
A rather disappointing field of only four horses and the presence of an odds-on favourite doesn’t make the Denford Stakes the most appealing betting heat of the day. Still, it will be worth paying close attention to the performance of Victory Dance to get some hints about just how far this talented juvenile might be able to go next season.
Victory Dance wasn’t able to make it two wins from two last time out but he did enough at Newmarket to suggest that he’ll get 1m no problem and that he handles undulations. That’s good news ahead of a potential Guineas bid next season. He just needs to show he has the class now. Victory Dance shouldn’t have any trouble starting a strong final part of the season well by winning this Listed race at 8/13.
2:10 Discover Newmarket Fillies’ Handicap
Class 2, 1m6f
Small fields have been a serious problem throughout the British Flat racing season and the problem will not be solved while we have firm in the going across almost the entire country. Still, there is always an opportunity in any race and Single could be ready to take hers in the Discover Newmarket Fillies’ Handicap.
Without the presence of a natural pace-setter in the field we could be in for a weak pace which effectively turns this race into a sprint. That won’t be a problem for the versatile Single. She’ll be happy enough going slowly for the early stages before the heat gets belatedly applied. Although the market isn’t fond of her chances, Single has come back to a bit of form lately and is better than her mark of 78 suggests so is more than tempting at big odds of 8/1.
2:30 BetVictor Geoffrey Freer Stakes
Group 3, 1m5½f
Once again we have a small field as just five horses will tackle the BetVictor Geoffrey Freer Stakes, another sign of how the firm ground around the country is playing havoc with August’s racing programme. Things only look set to get firmer over the next few days too. The well fancied Rebel’s Romance was among the late defections from this Group 3 that dates back to just after WWII. Some very good three-year-olds have beaten their elders in this race over that time and Zechariah could add to that list.
The Freddie and Martyne Meade inmate gets stacks of weight from his older rivals, one reason why the market is happy to forgive him a poor recent run at Newmarket. He was unlucky not to win the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot and a return to that sort of form would be enough to account for his rivals.
2:50 William Hill Great St Wilfrid Handicap
Class 2, 6f
The William Hill Great St Wilfrid Handicap has either been won by the favourite or an outsider in the last 10 renewals so naturally we’re plumping for a horse who is neither! The reasons for backing Summerghand, however, are plentiful and the odds look more than fair to us.
David O’Meara’s eight-year-old has been here and, nearly, done it before. He finished second in this race in 2019 when the going was soft. The good to firm ground he’ll find at Ripon on Saturday is more to his liking and a mark of 98 looks generous. Summerghand can be relied upon to give his all so it’s a matter of getting some luck in running. Get that and he could be difficult to stop at 5/1.
3:00 Play Pick 6 At BetVictor Handicap
Class 2, 7f
Fivethousandtoone is an important horse for owners King Power Racing. He’s named in honour of Leicester City (also owned by King Power) and odds on their remarkable Premier League title winning season of 2015-16. Andrew Balding has had some good days with Fivethousandtoone but his four-year-old season has been disappointing to date and it’s difficult to see him getting the better of Gisburn.
Gisburn’s connections were similarly frustrated with his campaign but were happy to be patient with the three-year-old, largely because of the flashes of brilliance he’s shown. He came very close to winning a nice prize at Goodwood at the end of last month when losing out by just a short head as a 33/1 outsider. He’s no outsider on Saturday. The 5/2 favourite hasn’t gone up in the weights for that recent good run and gets the good to firm ground he loves so is the one the others all have to beat.
3:18 Grey Horse Handicap
Class 4, 6f
As the name suggests, the Grey Horse Handicap is open only to greys, a rather unusual angle for a race. There is something special about greys though, so this race gets much more interest than you would expect of a Class 4 handicap on a day with many bigger pots and races of a higher calibre.
The race’s reputation for being a tricky one to get a handle on has changed in the last couple of years. Both of the last two renewals went the way of the bookies’ favourite and Mister Bluebird can keep the run going at a decent enough price of 2/1, odds that still look fair given the strength of his chance. Heather Main has done well to coax out improvement in Mister Bluebird from three to four and the 5lb that Harry Davies takes off his back is a major plus.
3:35 BetVictor Hungerford Stakes
Group 2, 7f
The BetVictor Hungerford Stakes makes it well worth hanging around for the final race of the day on ITV Racing. That’s certainly what Richard Hannon and all connections of Chindit are hoping for. It hasn’t always been easy to place this talented four-year-old. He spent much of the earlier part of the season chasing the potentially world-class Baaeed in vain in Group 1 company, saw off Mutasaabeq in a Group 2 before normal surface resumed as he finished nearly five lengths behind Baaeed in the Sussex Stakes.
Some of Chindit’s best performances have come over 7f and it is very interesting that he’s been dropped back after running exclusively over 1m this season. He’ll have the stamina to cope with what is forecasted to be a very strong pace and then the speed to finish fast enough to see off the challengers, so Chindit certainly looks well priced at 9/2.