The Coral Sprint Trophy Handicap is among Saturday’s top contests and Seymour Biz believes that a grey can make hay, in this valuable sprint.
As the flat season stutters on towards the end we have two very good meetings to look at this weekend, at York and Newmarket. Looking forward we have Champions weekend at Ascot and the Racing Post Trophy meeting at Doncaster later in the month, that’s about it before the jumps get going in earnest in early November. But this weekends racing is an opportunity for the 2-year-olds to strut their stuff. At York we have a listed race, the Rockingham, and that looks a good betting race so I have highlighted that below, along with two excellent handicaps. At Newmarket is the second leg of the Autumn double, the Cesarawitch, which is preceeded by three 2-year-old trials, the Zetland, the Autumn and the Dewhurst Stakes. For these John Gosden sends two of his stars for two of the races and Andre Fabre sends one of his over from France for the other. So respectively the fancies for these races are; Waldstern, Persian King and Too Darn Hot. However to look for value in Saturday’s TV offerings I have chosen three races from York and the Cesarawitch for this weeks Lucky Fifteen and here are my thoughts.
The first race on a very good card at York is the Download The Coral App Handicap at 2.05. Uae Prince is the bookmakers’ choice for this 10 furlong handicap, and Roger Varian is hoping for a good run from his gelding. He has put in some fair efforts but is yet to get off the mark this season, his fourth place in the Cambridgeshire was a good run considering the distance was a little sharp for him. Saeed Bin Saroor has Great Order in the lineup, this full horse has not been seen since a run on the all-weather at Chelmsford in April. He was a dual winner as a three-year-old but has had his problems and has not lived up to that early promise, he is probably best watched here. Aquarium has shown some good form during the season winning twice in July. Mark Johnson’s three-year-old had previously won on the all-weather, but I think the going will be against him here. Lower in the handicap is Finniston Farm, a winner last time out at Haydock, however that was over 12 furlongs and I don’t think the drop back in trip will suit, added to that he has gone up 3lb in the weights. Richard Fahey has his course and distance winner, Exhort, at bottom weight so he must have a chance. But he was behind Mountain Angel last time out and Roger Varian’s charge looks my idea of the winner. His second place behind Buzz, when he was only beaten in the last stride, was an excellent run. He had several of these declared here behind him that day, and fully deserves to add to his tally.
At 2.40 is the coral.co.uk Rockingham Stakes, a Listed race for 2-year-olds. This is a really tricky race to read and that is reflected in the betting. Currently at the head of the market is John Gosden’s Marharba Milliar, a dual winner in the summer, he was beaten when stepping up in class on the all-weather. This race is a further step up and he would have to be pretty special to take it. Ralph Beckett has a strong hand here with Dave Dexter and Junius Brutus, the former has won twice in September on soft and heavy so the going may be against him. I think Junius Brutus is the stronger of the pair given the better going he will find at the Knavesmire, his trainer said he was unsuited by the ground at Ayr last time. If he can find the form he showed when winning at Ripon on good going he should go well. Sunsprite from Richard Hughes’s stable is a triple winner this year and is another who will appreciate the good going, he was unable to maintain his advantage on good/soft at Ripon last time, he will not want any rain. But one I particularly like the look of is Tom Dascombe’s, Jonah Jones. He romped home at Haydock on his penultimate start, winning by 4 lengths. He was not disgraced on his latest run at Doncaster in Listed company in a race won by Sagarius, the ground did not suit him that day and once headed his jockey took it easy on him. He is well bred, costing 60,000gns as a yearling and has the ability to take this.
The Coral Sprint Trophy Handicap is at 3.15 and has some star 6 furlong performers trying for this big prize. At the head of the betting is David O’Meara’s Al Qahwa, who was favourite last time out when running second to Snazzy Jazzy at Ayr in the Silver Cup. I do not think either of these will get the ground they require to put in a good run. I really fancied Gunmetal for the Ayr Gold Cup last month but the ground was against him and to make matters worse he was struck into on his left hind heel. If he has overcome that injury and takes his chance here he must in the mix. His stablemate, Baron Bolt, deadheated for first that day and Flying Pursuit was 4 lengths back in third, he has three pounds extra to carry here and the gelding won’t get the cut in the ground he needs. There were several of today’s contenders behind him that day including Teruntum Star who won this last year, he has one pound less to carry this year. His trainer, Kevin Ryan, had him aimed at Ayr but would be happy to take this again as a consolation. Spring Loaded has found it hard going since winning at Ascot in July, and he again finds himself at the top of the handicap, it would be a great weight carrying victory where he to take this. Major Jumbo was said to have stopped quickly in the Ayr race, but he is a course and distance winner so may put up better show. At a big price I will mention Normandy Barriere who ran a good second at Doncaster last time despite hanging left, he had a few of these behind him that day. But, given the going I will side with Gunmetal once again to take this contest.
Moving south to HQ at 3.35 it’s the Dubai £500,000 Cesarewitch Stakes Heritage Handicap. Willie Mullins has some of the top contenders for this including the favourite Stratum, he probably justifies this after winning at Newbury in July. He was badly hampered next time out at York over a distance that really didn’t suit him, Whisky Sour, another Mullins horse, finished in front of him in sixth place that day. Another Mullins horse is well fancied and that is Low Sun, a winner at the Curragh in June he had a run at Bellewstown over a distance that didn’t suit him. He trailed in a poor sixth but that may have set him up for this. Vis-a-Vis is on a hat-trick for Neil Mulholland, his latest victory at Kempton was particularly eye-catching when beating Just In Time by almost three lengths. Just In Time has franked that form winning twice since at Goodwood and Doncaster, he has a 4lb penalty for that last win which may anchor him. Aiden O’Brien has Southern France in the lineup and his horses are always respected even if he has not had the all conquering year of 2017. Southern France was a good third in the St Leger, beaten 7 lengths, and if able reproduce that form will go close. At a big price Stars Over The Sea can run a good race at a big price. Although Ian Williams’s 7-year -old is at the top of the handicap with a 4lb penalty he has been running well this year, not least when winning over the course and distance last time out. He may well give Vis-A-Vis a good race.
Saturday Lucky 15
2.05 York. Mountain Angel
2.40 York. Jonah Jones
3.15 York. Gunmetal
3.40 Newmarket. Vis-A-Vis
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