We have something for everyone in a feast of live Saturday afternoon racing entertainment. With the flat season drawing to a close, Doncaster stages the final domestic Group 1 of the season in the shape of the always informative Futurity Stakes, whilst Newbury chips in with the Group 3 double act of the Horris Hill Stakes and St Simon Stakes. Fans of the National Hunt game are also well-catered for, with four events on offer from Cheltenham. Here, we pick our best bets in each of the nine contests on offer, in this week’s Saturday Racing Tips.
12:55 BetVictor Horris Hill Stakes
Group 3, 7f
The juveniles kick off the action at Newbury in this 7f affair. With the ground currently described as heavy, this could turn into a bit of a slog, which makes picking a winner tricky, as most of the runners are by speedy rather than stamina-packed sires. Richar Hannon’s Blue Lemons (10/3) heads the betting on the back of a solid third over a mile last time out when run down close home. The step down in trip looks like a positive, but that may be negated by the likely conditions.
Son Of Man’s (9/2) seventh to Alyanaabi reads well, with that horse filling the runners-up spot behind City Of Troy in the Dewhurst last time out, but he is another who may not appreciate the gruelling conditions. The best bet in the race for us is an each-way punt on last-time-out winner Telemark (10/1).
Simon & Ed Crisford won the 2022 edition of this with Knight and have another likely sort on their hands here. By 2000 Guineas champ Night Of Thunder, this strapping sort ploughed through the mud without an issue over this trip last time out at Yarmouth. This is tougher, but the ability to handle underfoot conditions counts for plenty, and he can at least hit the frame.
1:15 Epic Value At William Hill Handicap Chase
Class 2, 2m
The unexposed Haddex Des Obeaux (3/1) heads the betting in the opening jumps event as he bids to land the hat-trick for Gary Moore. Last sighted routing a decent field at Warwick, he is an intriguing contender for a yard which tends to do well with its French recruits. Red Rookie (11/2) has long been held in high regard by Emma Lavelle and can go well, whilst Guy (15/2) has race fitness on his side and is another for the shortlist for the in-form Nigel Twiston-Davies operation.
However, the one who looks to be overpriced here is the topweight Notlongtillmay (10/1). This Laura Morgan star was last spotted finishing second in the Turner’s Novices Chase, with the ill-fated Mighty Potter and talented Appreciate It amongst those in behind. That’s high-class form, and encouragement can be drawn from the fact that he was fit enough to win first time out last season. He has a big weight to carry here but, at a double-figure price, looks solid value to hit the frame.
1:30 BetVictor St Simon Stakes
Group 3, 1m4f
The admirable seven-year-old Hamish (6/4) heads both the ratings and the betting in the second Group event of the day. Three from three this season, he boasts obvious claims. On the downside, he was beaten at odds of 8/11 in another heavy ground edition of this race 12 months ago, and there are a couple of intriguing sorts lurking amongst the opposition.
Following a spell in the doldrums, Al Qareem (5/1) arrives at the top of his game and merits the utmost respect, but narrow preference is for the Irish raider White Birch (5/1). Hailing from the yard of John Joseph Murphy, this son of Ulysses finished third in no less a race than the Epsom Derby earlier in the campaign, won the Group 3 Ballysax Stakes on his most recent start on heavy ground, and rebounded from a flop in the Irish Derby with a decent effort at Leopardstown last time out. The last two three-year-olds to win this, Young Rascal and Best Solution, had previously finished seventh and eighth in the Derby, and it looks worth backing White Birch to continue this trend.
1:50 Masterson Holdings Hurdle
Class 2, 2m½f
The young hurdlers are up next at Cheltenham, with the Paul Nicholls-trained Blueking D’Oroux (6/4) the one the market has latched onto. Promising in France, he then bombed out on his first two starts for the yard, only to return a revitalised performer in the spring – winning at Ascot and finishing a good second at the Aintree Festival. He seems sure to go well, but we just prefer the claims of his main market rival.
Spirit D’Aunou (15/8) is yet to run a bad race for Gary Moore, having finished a narrow second on debut before embarking on a four-race winning streak, culminating in an eased-down success at Chepstow. Headed in the right direction, he goes on ground ranging from good to heavy, so shouldn’t mind what the weather does in the lead-up to the race and can come out on top.
2:10 Kameko Futurity Trophy
Group 1, 1m
We look to have a cracking edition of the big Group 1 of the day, this year named in honour of the 2019 winner who went on to land the 2000 Guineas. Kameko is just one of a raft of previous winners who have subsequently tasted Classic success, and it would be no surprise should a superstar emerge from this year’s lineup. Dancing Gemini (5/1) and God’s Window (8/1) are nicely bred sorts who won last time out, but both need to step up to challenge the two at the head of the market.
Going for Aidan O’Brien – who has a record-setting 11 wins in this race – is the Frankel colt Diego Velazquez (9/4). Costing the small matter of £2.4 million at the sales, connections will be relieved that he is in the process of delivering at the track. Having won well on debut, he stepped up to land a Group 2 event at the Curragh and looks like another hugely promising youngster for this yard. The one possible negative is that each of his wins has come on good ground, and he will face vastly different conditions here.
As such, the vote goes to the late supplementary entry Ancient Wisdom (11/8). Carrying the Royal Blue of Godolphin, this son of Dubawi is three from four in his career to date and, significantly, posted by far his best effort yet when sailing through the mud to run away with the Autumn Stakes. This demands more but, with conditions in his favour, he may well be up to the task.
2:25 Epic Jumps Season At William Hill Handicap Chase
Class 2, 3m1f
Fourteen go to post in this wide-open handicap affair, with a decent case to be made for a whole host of these. Last year’s winner Lord Accord (13/2) has come in for support during the week following a recent pipe opener at Warwick and makes obvious appeal off a mark only 1lb higher than in 2022. Nicky Henderson’s Quick Draw (13/2) and Twig (9/1) both won nicely last time out, with the former, in particular, looking open to further improvement.
All have claims, but in such a competitive heat, we prefer to take an each-way chance at a bigger price. The horse to get the vote is the Jonjo O’Neill-trained Yes Indeed (16/1). This one may have gone very close to winning last time out, but for a juddering error at the third last, but still ran on well to hit the line in second off today’s mark of 127. That run took his overall record to 51222 in chases over trips of 2m6f or further, suggesting that this sort of test is just what he needs.
2:45 William Hill Prospect Stakes
The last of the day’s events for the youngsters sees a promising field do battle over the 6f trip. Esquire (11/4) tops the market for David O’Meara, having run a cracker to go down by under a length at Listed level two weeks ago. The fact he was run down close home that day is a little off-putting in what is likely to be a thorough test at the trip, but there may well be more to come.
Moswaat (8/1) represents the Roger Varian yard and looked to relish give underfoot when powering home late at Yarmouth, whilst similar comments apply to Goodwood scorer Al Shabab Storm (6/1). However, the best piece of form in the race belongs to Ballymount Boy (3/1), who went down by just a length to the subsequent Middle Park Stakes winner Vandeek earlier in the season. That run came on soft ground, which augurs well for his chances, and he is taken to bounce back from his only poor run to date when making the trip over to France for the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere. Back on home soil and back down in trip, he should go close.
3:00 Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle
Class 2, 3m
The Cheltenham Festival may be six months away, but the qualifying events are already beginning in earnest, with a maximum field of 20 lining up in this one. With five wins in the space of his last six starts, the Paul Nicholls-trained Hugos New Horse (8/1) looks the strongest of the home team. However, he steps into the unknown over this trip. Overall, we suspect this prize may fall to one of a strong team of Irish raiders.
Gordon Elliott’s Ringdufferin (9/1) and We’llhavewan (17/2) from the yard of Willie Mullins rate major threats, but both like to get on with it in front and may face competition for the lead. As such, the vote goes to Noel Meade’s Bugs Moran (13/2), who thrives when given a strong pace to aim at. Fit and well following two runs since August, if able to return to the form of his power-packed effort when landing a competitive Fairyhouse event back in April, he may prove tough to repel coming up the hill.
3:20 William Hill Farewell Flat Handicap
Class 2, 5f
A fast and furious five-furlong contest rounds out the day’s action, with many of these arriving at the peak of their powers. Catterick Dash winner Vintage Clarets (5/1) bids to back up last week’s success and should go well off this 3lb higher mark, whilst Desperate Hero (7/1) showed a liking for heavy ground when getting on top at Nottingham and should get his ground here. Copper Knight (14/1) and Intrinsic Bond (8/1) are also worth a second look as the only course winners in the lineup.
However, on balance the one we like best is the Grant Tuer-trained filly, Glorious Angel (7/1). Also last spotted in the Catterick Dash, she gets a 2lb pull with Vintage Clarets having gone down by a rapidly diminishing short head. Moreover, this track ought to suit her much better than the tight turns of Catterick, whilst we also like the fact she has won over 6f in a race which will require the runners to thoroughly see out the trip.