There’s some cracking handicaps to whet your appetite on Saturday, with many interesting runners in action. Seymour Biz casts his eye over some of the best and provides his weekly Lucky 15 picks. Find all of his UK racing previews in his weekly column: Saturday Horse Racing Tips.
It’s a busy Saturday at the races on television this weekend with the main meeting at Haydock Park backed up by supporting meetings at Goodwood and York, three of the greatest racecourses in the country. But I fail to understand why those who plan the fixtures have a meeting 20 miles away at Chester on the same day! Haydock puts up two Stakes races, the Sandy Lane and the Temple Stakes, where we can expect to see some classy animals such as Calyx, Battaash and Mabs Cross. These are backed up by a couple of cracking handicaps that look like they have some real value for the punter. Added to that are a pair of races at both York and Goodwood with both courses featuring handicaps which I will use to give us this week’s thrilling Lucky Fifteen. Hopefully these meetings will give us some ammunition for next week’s Derby meeting at Epsom where the cream of the crop are in action.
Starting with the first race on the card at Haydock, we have the Amex Ready Mixed Concrete Handicap at 2.15. Iain Jardine’s Nakeeta is saddled with top weight and this globe trotting gelding is a dual course winner albeit in 2015. He has never won over two miles and has only been tried over the distance once, that was in the Melbourne Cup where he ran 12th, I am not convinced that he gets this trip. My Reward won this race three years ago and won at Pontefract last June but has not run with any confidence since. He ran poorly on his reappearance at York last week and can be opposed. Mark Johnson’s Lucky Deal has run well in his races this year including a victory on the all-weather. His latest run in the mud-bath of the Chester Cup can be ignored, he can possibly put up a good run here. Pirate King is low enough in the handicap but the step up in trip and class may be too much for Harry Dunlop’s colt. The bookies choice is Mick Channon’s Eden Rose, a dual winner on the all-weather already this season, but I am not convinced about the filly’s turf form so I will side with Lucky Deal.
Next on the card at 2.50 is the Amix Silver Bowl Handicap, this mile contest has certainly attracted some classy three year olds. Top weight is Duke Of Hazzard from Paul Cole’s yard who won a Listed race at Deauville in October. He has since been beaten twice at Longchamp but by none other than the French Derby favourite Persian King. Although he is dropping to handicap company the weight he has to carry is a concern. Masaru has won both his starts this season the latest at Sandown but his lead was dwindling dramatically in the final strides and I am not convinced he gets a mile. Mark Johnson sends Oasis Prince back to Haydock after his fine victory there earlier in the month when he beat Loch Ness Monster by a head. I expect him to confirm that placing but this is a much tougher contest. Aweedram has made a successful start to his three year old career for trainer, Alan King, winning twice already at Newmarket and Ascot. King must consider he is ready for this step up in class but he meets some really smart three year olds here. One of which is Awe from William Haggas’s stable. He was a winner at two and had his first run this year at Ascot in the AGV Handicap going down by just half a length to Motafaawit, a top-rated miler. He had other engagements this weekend but Haggas has chosen this race as his primary mission and that should be noted.
Moving across the Pennines to York the William Hill Leading On Course Bookmaker Sprint Handicap is at 3.45. This is a really competitive race with the bookies choice being Leodis Dream who has rattled up a quick treble this year for trainer, David O’Meara. His latest victory was at Chester at the beginning of this month where he ran on well in the final furlong, but York is a totally different course. Copper Knight won here at the Dante Meeting but Tim Easterby’s top class gelding has leapt up the handicap for that success. An interesting contender who was in fourth place behind him that day is Eeh Bah Gum. He only went down by two lengths and is now 5lbs better off than he was that day, that should enable him to go very close. But the one I like is John Quinn’s El Astronaute who drops back to handicap company after producing some great displays in Group races. He was a course and distance winner last year and had Copper Knight well behind in a race he won over five and a half furlongs here last August. He looks a class above these rivals and can take the honours over his favourite trip.
Moving south to the Sussex Downs and Goodwood, we have the Betfair Each Way Edge Handicap at 2.30. Favourite here is Dubai Legacy who had a fine two year old career and carried on the good work by winning his first race this year on the all-weather at Newcastle earlier this month. Trainer Saeed Bin Suroor must feel he is able to handle this step up in class but he will be facing some top-rated individuals. One of which is Richard Hannon’s Beat Le Bon, a winner on the all -weather at Lingfield in March, he has run well in defeat at Newmarket and Newbury. Hannon also has Alhakmah entered who was a winner at Lingfield earlier this month after a string of seconds. One to watch is bottom weight Mr Diamond from Richard Fahey’s yard who after a reasonably successful two year old career came out for his first run at three and bolted up at Wetherby earlier this month, he is one to watch. But I will go for the class act in the race who is having his first run this year and that is Andrew Balding’s Flashcard. After a couple of victories at Salisbury Balding considered him good enough to go to the Curragh for a Group contest where he ran a fine second beaten half a length by Barbill who went on to win again in a Listed race. Flashcard is highly thought of by Balding who is hoping he can go on to bigger and better things.
Saturday Lucky 15
2.15 Haydock. Lucky Deal
2.50 Haydock. Awe
3.45 York. El Astronaute
2.30 Goodwood. Flashcard