The bookies are already rubbing their hands, with Saturday’s curtain-raiser at Sandown being such a competitive handicap. Seymour Biz is backing Mick Easterby’s horse to land the spoils and at a decent price.
I can’t believe that we are moving into autumn and all the great summer meetings are behind us. Never mind we have the Leger, the Arc, the Breeders Cup and Champions Day to look forward to. Now there is some juice in the ground be prepared for some unusual results in the coming weeks, horses that have been running down the field on this fast ground we have had, will suddenly sprout wings and fly by the top of the ground specialists who will get bogged down after having had things all their own way this summer. The big meeting of the weekend is at Sandown with two good stakes races and two good handicaps. John Gosden, who is carrying all before him at the moment, runs Too Darn Hot in the Solario Stakes and the 2-year-old looks a real “hot” thing here. In the Atalanta Stakes later on the card, Sir Michael Stoute, has Veracious and the booking of Ryan Moore for this talented 3-year-old should be noted. The speedsters will be plying their trade in the Beverley Bullet, a race I always enjoy, great to see the cameras at this Yorkshire venue. Also good to see the TV people at Chester for a couple of races round the North-West’s answer to the Nurburgring. To try to find some value this week I have chosen the three handicaps on television and the Bullet, lets see if we can hit the target with these selections.
Let’s start at Chester with the 2.05, the Foxy Bingo Fur-Ever Friends Handicap, a 7 furlong trip that is once round the bowl that is the Roodee. Mark Johnson has Poets Society declared for this and he must have a good chance on his York form. He made all that day so making Johnson the most successful trainer of all time. Dettori gave the horse a brilliant ride that day but his chances will diminish without the assistance of the Italian. Shady McCoy has been unable to get his head in front this term but his close second to Via Serendipity last time shows a definite improvement in form, however I fear the handicapper may have hold of him. Another high in the weights is Mitchum Swagger but he hasn’t run since his great third in the Lincoln in March so I think he is best watched here. At the very top of the handicap is Oh This Is Us from Richard Hannon’s yard. He was a winner here last month in a Listed race so the bends hold no fears for him. He has been contesting Group races since including a good second to Plumatic at Salisbury and this drop back to handicap company should be noted. He can defy top weight and take this contest especially as he has shown he has been able to handle the course. Vale Of Kent ran a good fourth at Goodwood last week when trying to make all, those tactics will suit this track. Breanski is looking for his fourth win on the trot but this is a step up in class for him. Course specialist, Tom Dascombe, runs Mickey who was second here last time, he can be trusted to run a good race but I will stick with Hannon’s classy charge.
The William Hill Beverley Bullet Sprint Stakes is at 2.45 and as usual has attracted a high class field. Last years winner, Take Cover, is at the top of betting. He ran up three victories at the end of last year but has been unable to get his head in front this year and now as an eleven-year-old seem a bit long in the tooth for this. El Astronaute had a fine victory at York last time after running well all summer in handicap company however this is step up in class for John Quinn’s charge. Top weight is Judicial from Julie Camacho’s yard, who has had two wins this season including a course and distance win in June. It was due to that win he has the 5lb penalty putting him at the top of the weights, it may be too much for him. Final Venture was second to El Astronaute at York, he was co-favourite that day and only beaten a neck, trainer Paul Midgley will have him spot on for this. Elnadim Star from Kevin Ryan’s yard has had a good season with two wins, but I think the 3-year-old filly needs a a little more time to take her chance against these experienced sprinters. Richard Fahey has a pair of his best speedsters entered, Kimberella and Mr Lupton – I do favour the latter. Mr Lupton dwelt in the stalls in the Nunthorpe at York last week and that was his chance gone. He has had two fine victories at York this season and has now proved himself a very strong sprinter, if he gets a low draw and a good start he can take this valuable contest.
At Sandown the 1.50 is the 188Bet Extra Places Races Handicap over 5 furlongs. Clive Cox’s Kick On Kick On is the bookies favourite after his fine win at Windsor in July. That was his only outing this year but he was a dual winner as a two-year-old and has proved himself as a strong individual. The veteran Move In Time is declared for this, Paul Midgley’s 10-year-old form has been a bit in and out this season after his victory at Newmarket in May. He was second at Pontefract in July then ran a shocker at Redcar in August so I must discount it him. Course and distance winner Rio Ronaldo was a close up second here on his penultimate start but tends to miss the break so is best watched. Rapid Applause is on a hat-trick after fine victories at Beverley and Hamilton staying on strongly on both occasions, trainer Michael Easterby will have him spot on after a four month break and he is the selection in a very tricky contest. Sir Michael Stoute sends Procedure along, a beaten favourite at Brighton last time he was slowly into his stride and pulled hard so spoiling his chance, he cannot afford to do that here. Amanda Perrett has two entered for this, Open Wide and Count Otto, the best of the pair is Count Otto who won comfortably at Newmarket last time and can go well here. At a big price I must mention Haddaf who started the season so well but has gone off the boil a bit. His last two wins have come here at Sandown so he must have a liking for the track, he can go well at a big price.
The 3.35 at Sandown is the Best Odds Guaranteed At 188Bet Handicap over 10 furlongs. History Writer is the bookies’ choice for this handicap, trainer David Menuisier won this contest last year and is hoping his colt can repeat the feat. He is a course winner over a mile and is tackling this longer distance for the first time so I fear he is a bit suspect. One who is coming back in distance after racing over a mile and a half is Infrastructure from Martyn Meade’s stable. He ran poorly at Goodwood last time after winning at Salisbury previously beating Mekong. Red Force One is going for his fourth victory on the bounce but this is a massive step up in class for Tom Dascombe’s gelding, he would have to be a very good horse to bridge the divide. Communique proved himself an excellent horse with his wins at the height of the summer, he has been just out of the places in his last two runs but retains his ability. Almoreb is a course winner but Richard Hannon’s charge has run without much luck this season, his run last time at Newbury where he went off favourite could have set him up for this. Spark Plug has been plying his trade all season without much luck and top weight here is a big ask for him to get off the mark. Dubai Horizon from Saeed Bin Saroor’s stable won unchallenged at Ayr last time after stepping up in distance and a reproduction of that form should see him take this contest.
Saturday Lucky 15
2.05 Chester. Oh This Is Us
2.45 Beverley. Mr Lupton
1.50 Sandown. Rapid Applause
3.35 Sandown. Dubai Horizon
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