Ascot, Haydock and Newmarket are the places to be, this weekend. If the rain holds off, then a great day of action lies in store. Seymour Biz picks out 4 horses for your Lucky 15 bet and includes a Charlie Fellowes inmate, running at Haydock, that has already tasted success on the Merseyside course. Find all previous UK racing previews in his weekly column: Saturday Horse Racing Tips.
Saturday sees the return of the Shergar Cup to Ascot and as a spectacle it makes a fine sight. But as a betting medium it is a pure waste of time, you may as well pick your favourite number and follow that all afternoon. So I have chosen to ignore it as the television cameras are also at Haydock and Newmarket where we have some real racing going on. The main race of the day at Haydock is the Rose of Lancaster Sakes which is being televised, this is flanked by some fine handicap action, which unfortunately is not. But with most bookmakers if you bet online you are able to watch the races on your device. At Newmarket the Sweet Solara Stakes is the highlight of a fine card but is the only race on ITV4. Again some fine handicaps are ignored by celestial television, so with that in mind as people like to see where there money is going here are my thoughts on the TV races along with a fine handicap at Haydock.
Start at Haydock Park with the 1.55, the Vulcan Village Handicap over a mile, a race which is not on TV. Top weight here is Roger Fell’s 8-year-old Club Wexford who has shown some fine form in the north this season but he was behind Humble Gratitude at Chester last time and seems to have too much weight here. Similarly Humble Gratitude has a 7lbs penalty for that win and that may hold him back. King’s Pavilion finally got his head in front last time at Beverly beating Markazi, I would expect him to confirm those placings but this is a much classier contest. Young Fire looks interesting for David O’Meara, this French import ran a good second at Longchamp in May but may be best watched here. Helovaplan is a pretty consistent sort and he was a decent second at Beverley but he’s stepping up in class and has never won at this level. Tom Dascombe’s Mickey won here at Haydock last time and he does appear on the upgrade but I’m not sure if he gets a mile. The one I like is near the bottom of the handicap and that is Charlie Fellowes’ Mayfair Spirit. He is another stepping up in class but is getting wight from most of the other contenders, added to that he looks like he enjoys racing at Haydock having won twice here this season over the same distance. Still only a 3-year-old but he is improving with each run and may have the ability to take this.
The British Stallion Studs EBF Dick Hern Stakes is at 2.30 and it has produced an exciting field. William Haggas sends his unbeaten filly, Miss O’Connor. She didn’t run at 2 or 3 but won going away at Gowan Park this year then romped home by 11 lengths at Nottingham last week, that was a very impressive performance. Ralph Beckett’s Feliciana De Vega is also unbeaten, winning twice last year including a victory on the all-weather at Deauville but this is her first run of the year and she is best watched. John Gosden runs Mulchy who won at Ascot in May but has found Listed company a little hot since. David O’Meara’s Agincourt was only beaten just over a length in a Listed race at Pontefract last time and won at York earlier in the season. She has not been out of the frame this year but may have to settle for a place again. Ardiente ran a fair third in her comeback race last month and will have come on for that for trainer Ed Vaughan. But it’s Miss O’Connor for me to continue her winning ways.
At 3.05 the Rose Of Lancaster Stakes has only attracted a small field but there is some class among the contenders. Wissahickon was a star on the all-weather during the winter winning Listed and Group races at Lingfield, but he had his colours lowered by Matterhorn when odds-on in the Easter Classic. He also has fine turf form with wins last year at Newmarket and York and the combination of Gosden and Dettori has proved this year to be pretty formidable. William Haggas’s Addeyebb won the Wolferton at Royal Ascot handsomely but was then well beaten by Elarqam at York, I know he has moved up in class but I can’t help feeling he is essentially a handicapper. As to the 3-year-olds here, Pontus trained by James Fanshawe won two low class races in May but has been unable to raise his game when tried at Listed and Group level. A better prospect is Andrew Balding’s Raise You, who after winning his maiden in April went on to win in Listed company at Newmarket in May. His latest run at Chantilly in early June was too bad to be true and I feel there was something amiss as the colt has had a 70 day break. If he can rediscover his spring form he will go close but it’s Gosden and Dettori for me.
Moving to Newmarket,at 3.45 is the German-thoroughbred.com Sweet Solara Stakes which always attracts a promising crop of 2-year-old fillies. Soffika won impressively at Pontefract in June for Sir Michael Stoute after missing the break. She soon got the hang of things and went away over the last 100 yards. Ultra Violet from Ed Vaughan’s is another who won her maiden impressively, that was at Newmarket in June where she romped home by 8 lengths. Mark Johnson’s West End Girl won at Haydock on her debut then went to Sandown where she was hampered and finished fifth. Second in that race was Light Blush trained by Charlie Appleby who had won previously here at Newmarket. They ran into a good horse that day at Sandown in Walk In Marrakesh. Romsey was also in that race but found herself short of room and finished fourth. Richard Fahey has Diamond Sparkles in the mix who was a winner at Thirsk in July and she can make the frame. But that Sandown race last month seems to have the answers to this contest and I will take the runner-up there to go one better and take this.
Saturday Lucky 15
1.55 Haydock. Mayfair Spirit
2.30 Haydock. Miss O’Connor
3.05 Haydock. Wissahickon
3.45 Newmarket. Light Blush