Hot on the heels of last weekend’s spectacular racing menu, we have another feast of flat events to get stuck into this Saturday as the ITV crew heads to Ascot, Newmarket, and Redcar. Five of the eight races on offer are rated at Listed class or above, headlined by the Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes from HQ.
Redcar chips in with one of its seasonal highlights in the William Hill Two Tear Old Trophy, whilst the four-race salvo from Ascot includes the Group 3 double act of the Cumberland Lodge Stakes and the Bengough Stakes. Eight races on offer means eight winners to find, and as usual, here we run through each cracking contest in this week’s Saturday Racing Tips.
1:30 British EBF Premier Fillies’ Handicap
Class 2, 1m2f
Usually spotted in the silks of Balllydoyle, Ryan Moore is an eyecatching jockey booking for Charlie Appleby and Godolphin in the opener aboard market leader Whispering Words (9/4). A winner over a mile at this track two starts back, she then went down only narrowly at Kempton last time out and boasts solid claims now stepping up to 1m2f for the first time.
Red Danielle (7/1) and Totnes (7/1) are consistent sorts and viable alternatives to the jolly, but at a double-figure price, the best bet in the race as far as we see things is an each-way punt on Ralph Beckett’s Lady Boba (12/1). Never out of the places in three starts to date, she split a couple of rivals now rated 90 and 102, two starts back at Chelmsford, making her current rating of 82 look pretty attractive. Having won over 1m4f at Ffos Las on her most recent start, this distance should hold no fears, and she can at least hit the frame for a trainer who often does very well with his fillies.
1:50 Blue Eagle Rous Stakes
Listed class sprint action kicks off the Ascot TV card. Karl Burke’s Korker (4/1) is towards the head of the betting, having scorched clear at Beverley last time out, but steps back up in class here and could manage only seventh in the 2022 edition of this. Nymphadora (11/2) is another arriving in form, having been run down close home by Thunderbear in a Group 3 at Newbury on her most recent outing. She will likely make a bold bid from the front, but we suspect this may be all about the favourite.
Kevin Ryan’s Emaraaty Ana (2/1) was a good deal better than these rivals when at his peak, having landed the Group 1 Haydock Sprint Cup in September 2021. Now seven years of age, he’s not quite the force of old but has run well to finish placed in Listed class 6f events on his two most recent starts, when only caught in the final 100 yards.
As such, this drop in trip looks like a shrewd move. Second over 5½f in the Grade 1 Breeders Cup Turf Sprint back in November, his most recent outing over the minimum trip saw him finish second in the 2022 Sprint Cup. A repeat of either of those efforts should make him tough to beat and 9/4 looks solid value all in all.
2:05 £150,000 Tattersalls October Auction Stakes
Class 2, 6f
With £150,000 up for grabs, 22 juvenile sprinters have been attracted to this 6f event. Midnite Runner (12/1) and Woodhay Wonder (9/2) make the shortlist, having won last time out, whilst – at a huge price – the nicely bred Caradonna (200/1) is surely better than when failing to handle the soft ground on her debut last time out.
However, the most sensible option is to side with the favourite Zoulu Chief (Evs). That’s a short price in such a big field, but the Heather Main runner is around 9lb well in on official ratings under these conditions, is already a three-time winner at the trip and handles good to firm well. An impressive winner last time out at York, the second that day has since gone on to score in Group 3 company, whilst the third landed a valuable sales contest at Doncaster. Anything close to a repeat of that York form should be more than good enough.
2:25 Jim Barry Cumberland Lodge Stakes
Group 3, 1m4f
Back to Ascot, we move up in class and trip for this next event. Plenty arrive here with decent claims on paper, including Al Qareem (9/2), who bounced right back to form to master Bluestocking in a Listed event at Chester, and Israr (7/2), who bettered Adayar in Group 2 company on his most recent turf outing. However, the drying ground would look to be against Al Qareem, whilst it’s difficult to know what Israr achieved in beating an Adayar who looked a shadow of his former self.
L’Astronome (16/1) and Fortino (25/1) make some each-way appeal, but for us, the William Haggas-trained Al Aasy (5/4) looks like the class act in the field. He is a four-time winner at Group 3 level, a Listed class winner over track and trip, and is in form having won two of his last three starts. In addition, he ran a cracker to go down by a diminishing ½l at Leopardstown last time out, and can return to winning ways under Jim Crowley.
2:45 William Hill Two-Year-Old Trophy
Another valuable event for the juveniles and another race in which one runner looks very well in on the ratings. The horse in question this time around is the Clive Cox-trained Dragon Leader (1/2), who has won three of four starts to date and has 11lbs and more in hand from these rivals on the ratings. He may go and win, but there isn’t much upside at that price, and for that reason we prefer an each-way punt.
In the absence of Kylian, Flaccianello (11/2) and Action Point (11/1) look like the most obvious alternatives, but at a bigger price, the one we like is Works Of Art (16/1) from the Andrew Balding operation. Having shown promise on debut, this Zoffany filly broke her duck at Kempton, before running well behind Great Generation and Jabaara in a Listed event at Chester. Those two rivals have since gone on to frank the form with solid efforts at Group 3 and Group 1 level, and Works Of Art seems likely to find this track more suitable than the Roodee. Looking like a filly headed in the right direction, she can hit the frame – at the least.
3:00 John Guest Racing Bengough Stakes
Group 3, 6f
We have a cracking edition of this Group 3 sprint event up next, with four of the 10 runners arriving on the back of a win. Commanche Falls (10/3) and Annaf (5/1) are counted amongst that quartet, with the former having bettered the latter in their two previous clashes this season. Both seem likely to be involved in the finish, whilst course and distance winner Dark Trooper (7/1) looks dangerous stepping out of handicap company.
Juan Les Pins (13/2) rarely runs a bad race and is another who shouldn’t be far away, but the one who may just have been a little overlooked in the betting is the William Haggas filly, Pink Crystal, available, for now at least, at the very juicy price of 12/1.
This daughter of Shamardal ran a cracker from an unfavourable position in this grade at York two starts back and built on that with an impressive win in Listed company last time out. We loved the manner in which she scythed through the field that day, and she represents solid each-way value at a double-figure price.
3:15 Virgin Bet Sun Chariot Stakes
Group 1, 1m
The fillies grab the limelight in the big Group 1 of the day. The French have a decent record in this event, and Andre Fabre sends Mqse De Sevigne (4/1) over for a shot at this year’s prize. The daughter of Siyouni arrives on an upward curve, having landed back-to-back Group 1 events at Deauville and rates a danger to all. However, her overall form would suggest the drying ground may be against – she is 0 from 6 on good to soft or better in her career to date.
Ed Walker’s Random Harvest (20/1) could prove dangerous at a very big price if allowed her own way in front whilst Meditate (15/2) should find the quickening conditions in her favour. However, the one they all have to beat is the mount of Frankie Dettori, Inspiral (Evs). This daughter of Frankel has admittedly blotted her copybook in the past when turned over at odds-on, but the current price looks acceptable for a four-time Group 1 winner, who handles quick ground, has won over course and distance, and arrives in tip-top form having landed the Jacques le Marois last time out.
3:35 Howden Challenge Cup
Class 2, 7f
Big field handicapping action closes out the TV action, as 18 do battle over the straight 7f. A whole host of likely contenders in here, including last year’s winner Escobar (16/1), who is fully 13lbs lower this time around. He can’t be dismissed entirely, but that declining mark is the result of a sequence of underwhelming efforts, and he seems to enjoy a little give in the ground these days. The hattrick-seeking Baradar (6/1) shades favouritism but may need a career-best performance from a 9lb higher mark than when successful over course and distance in July.
The remarkable Quinault (7/1) from the yard of Stuart Williams bids to bag an eighth win of the season as – try as he might – the handicapper just can’t quite keep up with him. He’s up another 5lb for his win over course and distance last time out, taking him up to 105, having begun the season on a mark of just 59, but may have even more up his sleeve. He makes the most appeal of those available at single-figure odds, but, with additional places on offer, we prefer an each-way punt on the Clive Cox runner, Ancestral Land.
This three-year-old looked to be a horse on the up earlier in the year, finishing fourth in the Craven before his form tailed off a little. However, it is still early days, and a mark of 94 is beginning to look reasonable for a horse rated at Group level by his shrewd trainer. On only his fourth start in a handicap, he looks worth backing to bounce back on his second start following a gelding operation. At 33/1 we certainly think it is worthwhile having a small involvement and a win would really be a fabulous end to the day’s punting.