Saturday brings some decent action, both over the jumps and on the flat. Seymour Biz provides his weekly Lucky 15 tips and includes one of John Quinn’s charges that likes to hit the ground running. Find all of Seymour Biz’s UK racing previews in his weekly column Saturday Horse Racing Tips.
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It’s the last hurrah for the jumps season with the Bet365 Gold Cup meeting at Sandown and what a cracking meeting it looks. I’m really looking forward to seeing Altior going for a hat-trick of wins in the Celebration Chase. He has Alan King’s Sceau Royal against him again. King’s charge led over the last in the Queen Mother but faded up the hill, perhaps a he can finish better at Sandown? Such a shame Cyrname is not in the lineup, it looks like he will go for the Oaksey Chase. The Gold Cup also has a top class field and promises to be an excellent race with Step Back out to retain his crown. ITV are covering two other meetings as well as Sandown, at Leicester there is a Listed race while Haydock has a top class seven furlong offering. With these meetings in mind here are my thoughts for the main betting races for this Saturday.
The first race on the card at Sandown is the bet365 Novices’ Championship Final Handicap at 1.50. Top weight is Paul Nicholls’s Getaway Trump, a winner a fortnight ago at Ayr. But it seems to ask a lot for him to win again carrying almost 12st. Dream Du Grand Val flopped here in the Imperial Cup on soft ground at the beginning of March after two wins at Kelso and Fontwell, he should go well on better going but he is high in the handicap. Alan King’s Harambe won easily at Market Rasen at the beginning of the month but this is a big step up in class for the 6-year-old. I would prefer the trainer’s lightly raced Scarlet Dragon, a winner at Huntingdon in January, but he was well beaten in a Class 1 on his last appearance in February. He looks a very interesting contender. Benny’s Bridge was a Market Rasen winner in March after finishing fifth in the Imperial Cup earlier in the month, he should get the going he prefers. But a trainer whose horses are enjoying great success at the moment is Dan Skelton and he has Humble Hero in the line-up. This 5-year-old has only had three runs this season and after being runner-up twice finally got his head in front at Newbury last month. He looks off a good handicap mark here and is my choice for this tricky contest.
The bet365 Gold Cup Handicap Chase is at 3.35 and last year’s hero, Step Back, returns to defend his title. But I’m afraid Mark Bradstock’s charge will struggle to carry 11lbs more to victory than he had last time. He has not run well this season and on his latest run in the Grand National, a race he was laid out for, he pulled up at the 24th fence. Rock The Kasbah was brought down when making his move at the 18th in that race and trainer, Phillip Hobbs, will be hoping for a better run here. Ballydine likes a bit of cut in the ground but found the going too heavy in the Midlands National at Uttoxeter last time. He should find the going more to his liking here, but the 9-year-old has not won this season and has flattered to deceive. Beware The Bear won the Ultima at Cheltenham but has lumps of weight to carry after that victory. Alan King’s Talkischeap has not had the going he wants since running third to Walt at Kempton in February. Prior to that he had won at Doncaster in January on good ground and he should find the going he wants here. At a decent price I will mention Rebecca Curtis’s Joe Farrell. He was fancied for the Grand National but after hitting the first was never going and was eventually pulled up at 23rd fence. He can have a say in the finish and claim a place.
The highlight of the Haydock meeting is the Old Boston Handicap run over seven furlongs. Wahash is well fancied for this contest. He is from Richard Hannon’s stable but seems to have had a poor start to this season only finishing ninth in the Lincoln. He was then only able to take third in a Class 2 at Bath. Kevin Burke has Lord Oberon in the lineup, he won on the last day of the flat at Doncaster capping a fine season but the going needs to be soft for him. He had several of these behind him that day and the best of those could be Shady McCoy. However, as he could well hit the frame as he did on many occasions last year, he has not won since 2017. Safe Voyage is having his first outing of the season and John Quinn’s 6-year-old goes well fresh having won first time out in the last two seasons. He is the one I like the look of here.
The television cameras are at Leicester for probably the only time this season and a small but classy field has been declared for the EBF Stallions King Richard III Stakes at 2.45. Eqtidaar had a fine win at Royal Ascot but was unable to follow up that victory, running poorly at Newmarket and Haydock, however he is the bookies choice here to regain his victorious ways. Laugh A Minute makes his seasonal debut for trainer Roger Varian, he had a fair season last year but may need this race to blow the cobwebs away. Donjuan Triumphant needs plenty of cut in the ground as he proved when winning at Haydock last November, I don’t think he will get it here on his first run of the season. The one I like is Cardsharp from Mark Johnson’s yard, after winning at 5 and 6 furlongs earlier in his career, he has been stepped up to 7 now and won on the all-weather at Lingfield last month. In his latest run he was badly hampered in a race won by Oh This Is Us and was unable to recover. He can gain some recompense here.
Saturday Lucky 15
1.50 Sandown. Humble Hero
3.35 Sandown. Talkischeap
2.05 Haydock. Safe Voyage
2.45 Leicester. Cardsharp