For many racing fans the start of October means the start of the jumps season proper. Exciting as this time of year is, there is still time for some quality Flat racing. This includes some great-looking cards at Newmarket, Ascot and Redcar on Saturday.
With everything from races for the most promising two year olds to big-field, valuable handicaps to enjoy, there’s a lot to cover in this week’s Saturday Racing Tips.
1:31 British EBF Premier Fillies’ Handicap
Class 2, 1m2f
This is a great way to open the day’s racing at Newmarket. There’s a decent prize of £50,000 on offer and the 13 fillies to have stood their ground should make for a competitive race. Each of the top five in the betting won on their latest outing and of that group it is I’ll Be There who appears to have been most fairly treated by the handicapper.
A rise of six pounds is steep enough but I’ll Be There’s win at Sandown came on her handicap debut and there is a feeling that mark is some way from her ceiling. She won’t mind should heavy rain change the going from good but she will probably need a big run from the front given her run style. If she gives her best and things go to plan in running, I’ll Be There can run a very big race at odds of 5/1.
1:51 Oakman Inns Rous Stakes
The Oakman Inns Rous Stakes opens the second day of Ascot’s penultimate Flat meeting for this season. As with many Listed races, the field is full of horses with plenty of ability but who struggle for consistency. That makes this an intriguing one but also a difficult one to predict. The unpredictability of the weather is another challenge but some extra cut in the ground from the forecast rain on Friday night should help the chances of King’s Lynn.
One of a few horses making their first run for King Charles at Ascot this weekend, King’s Lynn should improve from his outing at Royal Ascot. He can go well on most types of ground, shouldn’t be too far off the pace and is always going to be a danger dropping back in grade. At odds of 5/1, King’s Lynn can get the better of bookies’ favourite Manaccan.
2:06 £150,000 Tattersalls October Auction Stakes
Class 2, 6f
As prizes for two year olds go, they don’t get much better than the £150,000 Tattersalls October Auction Stakes. A typically big field of 29 will do battle over six furlongs at Newmarket and this is a race that has gone the way of 5/4 favourites to 14/1 shots in its seven-year history.
This year’s renewal is certainly wide open with any number of potential winners but you’d have to think that the market has called it correctly with Amichi available at a best price of 3/1. After playing up terribly on debut, a gelding operation instantly brought rewards for Amichi. A big, powerful horse, he was excellent in wins at Kempton and Newmarket and can pick up his hat-trick on Saturday.
2:25 Peroni Nastro Azzurro Cumberland Lodge Stakes
Group 3, 1m4f
It is difficult for hold-up horses to win sprints at Ascot but it’s a very different story over the middle distances. Those who can be held towards the rear, travelling nicely while saving something in reserve for a fast finish, are generally favoured for a race like the Peroni Nastro Azzurro Cumberland Lodge Stakes. That is good news for connections of bookies’ favourite Cresta.
Despite showing a desire to get to the front, Cresta was successfully held back by Richard Kingscote during his Listed win at Windsor last time out. If David Probert is equally successful in tempering the three year old’s early ambitions then he can take the step up to Group 3 level in his stride at odds of 5/1.
2:42 Royal Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes
Group 1, 1m
Dermot Weld will be keeping a very close eye on the skies above Newmarket on Friday and Saturday. Homeless Songs had her usual spark robbed from her because of the soft ground at Leopardstown in the Matron Stakes last time out so any deterioration in the ground at Newmarket will be cause for concern.
Saffron Beach fell just short of victory in that big race at Leopardstown but she showed, once again, that she is not troubled by softer ground so it’s no surprise she is the 11/8 favourite for the Royal Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes. Saffron Beach won this race 12 months ago on good ground and can do so again even with considerable amounts of rain.
3:00 John Guest Racing Bengough Stakes
Group 3, 6f
Vadream snapped a run of short-priced winners of the John Guest Racing Bengough Stakes last year and the way this year’s edition is shaping up you wouldn’t bet against another longer-priced winner. It’s a very competitive renewal with Rohaan a rather tentative favourite at odds of 3/1 and a pleasing field size of 14 for punters to choose from.
Plumping for a 12/1 winner might be stretching things a little but Gale Force Maya certainly makes each way appeal. Michael Dods won’t want too much rain to fall at Ascot but a slight cut shouldn’t be a problem for his six year old. She has developed into a real expert over six furlongs, making life straightforward for her jockeys. Paul Mulrennan will be left in no doubt that she gets stronger the closer she gets to the line and if he times her finishing kick well a place is well within Gale Force Maya’s grasp.
3:21 William Hill Two Year Old Trophy
ITV Racing’s sole trip to Redcar is a blinder. The William Hill Two Year Old Trophy has been won by some excellent horses in recent years and it’s clear that Cold Case is the form pick for 2022. He arrives on the back of a very good win at Doncaster last time up and should have little trouble with the extra half a furlong. He may, however, have some trouble in the shape of Maylandsea.
Michael Bell’s charge does not have the same eye-catching form but there has almost always been something very positive to take from her runs. She is taking quite the drop-down in class from Group 1 to Listed level and may well take advantage at a generous looking price of 6/1.
3:36 Peroni Nastro Azzurro Challenge Cup
Class 2, 7f
What an end to the season Fresh is having for James Fanshawe and Clipper Logistics. Connections understand this horse’s strengths very well now he has reached the age of five and fortunately they match up perfectly with seven furlongs at Ascot. Victory at this track in July against 20 rivals secured a prize of just over £77,000 before he pipped 15 rivals to win north of £40,000 at the start of September. Can he land the hat-trick and the biggest prize of the lot with the Peroni Nastro Azzurro Challenge Cup?
The fact that Fresh arrives, fittingly, on the back of a short break bodes well for his chances. As does a rather paltry five-pound raise in the weights for his two recent victories. The market was never going to miss his chances but 6/1 seems fair enough about a horse in this sort of form so keep things simple with this big handicap and back Fresh to win.