A bit of sun and fun in the Med were just what the doctor ordered for EveryTip’s Seymour Biz, who is back and eager to take on the bookies again. The Cambridgeshire is one of the campaign’s key handicaps and last year’s runner-up is tipped to go one better, for Simon Crisford. Here are your Lucky 15 selections, for Saturday. Find all previous UK racing previews in his weekly column: Saturday Horse Racing Tips.
As the flat season meanders towards its autumnal end most of the watchable racing in October comes from across the sea. We have the Breeders Cup from the USA and the Prix De La Arc De Triomphe meeting from France to look forward to. Ascot will offer us Champions Day in the same month but I have never been particularly attracted to this meeting, it seems to be run about six to eight weeks too late. The going for it is inevitably on the soft side of good and this does not suit the top trainers most prestigious horses so they either do not enter them or they are unable to give of their best. This weekend we have two televised meetings at Haydock and Newmarket, the latter offers us three Group races which contribute greatly to the A.P.O’Brien benefit fund. In the last three runnings of these races he has managed six winners including a clean sweep last year and I expect his charges to perform well again this time around. There is a 9f handicap, the Cambridgeshire, for us to get our teeth into on the card and I have outlined that below. At Haydock Park they are televising two of the three handicaps over 5, 6 and 8 furlongs so those should give us some opportunities to find some value on their card. So here are my thoughts for Saturday and the choices for the Lucky 15.
The first televised race from Haydock is the 2.05, Download The App At Virgin Bet Handicap. The current favourite Is Barristan The Bold whose only victory this year was on the all-weather at Newcastle. His latest outing was at Chester where he ran third on good going. As there will be some juice in the ground I would be concerned about his ability on a soft surface. Mitchum Swagger has been given top weight and he is a course and distance winner but his form of last year has evaporated since he has been stepped up in class after winning a Listed contest in November. But I fear 9st 12lbs may be too much to carry in the Haydock mud. Mark Johnson has sent Victory Command here, this is a horse who has had a very busy season to date he comes here for his seventeenth outing of the year. He has won twice this season, latterly on the all-weather at Chelmsford but is another who seems to prefer racing on the top of the ground. The one I like is Ed Vaughan’s Dubai Dominion whose only win to date was on good/soft at Newmarket. His latest run was here at Haydock earlier in the month, he was beaten only a neck by the smart Qaysar over 7f. The extra 220yds should suit as he was closing on the winner near the line.
Following that race we have the 2.40, the Maureen Smith Nationwide Vehicle Contracts Handicap, which is not being televised but I include it in the Lucky 15 as there is only one handicap at Newmarket. Last week I tipped up Al Qahwa for the Silver Cup at Ayr but he skipped that meeting to come here for this contest. The two wins in his career have come on soft and yielding, just the sort of ground he will find here. His only run this year was at Thirsk where he finished 18 lengths behind the winner on ground that didn’t suit. David O’Meara’s gelding can taste victory for the first time in two years. Richard Hughes sends Ptarmigan Ridge and he is another who likes soft ground and he was second here last time but he does not have the class of the selection. I will also mention Brian The Snail who faded badly at Ripon last time in a race won by stablemate Growl, he can run well in this company and may well take a place at a nice price.
The St Helens Handicap is at 3.15 and it is the best race of the day at the North-West track. Came From The Dark from Ed Walker’s yard is the current favourite on the back of his fine win here earlier in the month when the colt won comfortably on soft ground. However that was a Class 4 race and he is stepping up in class considerably here. The two top weights Stake Acclaim and Copper Knight have it all to do on soft going, but neither of them knows how to run a bad race and they will push the market leaders all the way. Michael Dods has Camacho Chief in the lineup, he was a beaten favourite here at Haydock last time out going down by 3 lengths to Maygold earlier in the month. He will relish the going and will be out to make amends but has yet to claim a Class 2 contest. But the classiest horse in the field here is True Mason trained by Karl Burke. He was fourth at Deauville on his penultimate start before going to the Curragh for the Group 1 Flying Five where he was only beaten 4 and 3/4 lengths by Fairyland. His trainer says of him “He could be an interesting contender down in class for this handicap. He ran really well at the Curragh on ground that was much too quick for him. He’ll be better suited by the conditions here and could be well treated off his current mark if he’s the horse I think he is”. That says it all for me and he is my selection here.
So we come to the big handicap of the day at Newmarket we have the bet365 Cambridgeshire Handicap at 3.40. Hughie Morrison has the bookies favourite here in Le Don de Vie who has won three out of four this season latterly the Ladbrokes Handicap at Goodwood but the only time he has faced more than nine runners he was beaten. How he’ll get on in a field of 35 is anyone’s guess, but I am of the mind he will not like all the hustle and bustle of a race like this. Andrew Balding has had a fine tune out of Good Birthday this year with two wins. His latest at Beverley was a fine victory where he squeezed through on the rail to take the lead handily over the last 75yds, but he will have much more traffic here to negotiate. Roger Varian’s Fifth Position is fancied, he has been highly tried since winning at Nottingham in April running in Listed and Group races but without success. But Mordin from from Simon Crisford’s stable has had this race as his target since he was runner-up in it last year. He will love the ground, it will suit him much better than his last run at Sandown where he finished less than four lengths behind Hyanna, he will have come on for that. Looking for a lively outsider, I will take a chance on Hugo Palmer’s Fajjaj who has not run since finishing tailed off here at Newmarket in April. As has not run since I presume he must have had his problems during the summer, but because he is turning out here, he may well be worth taking a chance on each-way at a big price but it’s Mordin for me.
Saturday Lucky 15
2.05 Haydock. Dubai Dominion
2.40 Haydock. Al Qahwa
3.15 Haydock. True Mason
3.40 Newmarket. Mordin