The British flat racing season meanders listlessly to its close and Seymour Biz is eagerly awaiting the new jumps campaign, as most of you are. Saturday’s action does include a Group 1 encounter, however, in which last year’s winner looks vulnerable. Here are your Lucky 15 picks for Saturday. Find all previous UK racing previews in his weekly column: Saturday Horse Racing Tips.
Not the most thrilling day’s racing on Saturday with the television cameras at three meetings looking for some decent racing in the UK. The excitement is all across the Channel in France as Frankie and Enable go for their third Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe and how I wish he succeeds to give tthe connections of Treve a kick up the bum after the way he was treated by them in 2014. But back here on Saturday we have four races from Ascot, three from Newmarket and a Listed race from Redcar. But out of those eight races there are only two handicaps so I have had to look at the remainder to try and find some value for this week’s Lucky Fifteen. Among the races on TV are two 2-year-old 6 furlongs contests and both have very hot favourites that are expected to oblige, I will leave them alone. So here are my thoughts and tips for the best priced horses on Saturday in what I can see may provide some value.
Starting at Ascot with the first race on the card at 2.00, the UK Hi-Fi Show Live Rous Stakes where Dakota Gold heads the weights and the betting. Michael Dods’s gelding has had a fine season with four victories but was held at Newbury last time and with the penalties he is having to carry, are connections going to the well too often? Maygold won well at Haydock last time and faces two adversaries again that she beat that day, Arecibo and Intense Romance, she should confirm her dominance over those two but may not have enough in the locker to take this. Tis Marvellous is a course and distance winner from last July but he struggled when favourite at Doncaster last time and he won’t have the going he had in the summer. Karl Burke’s True Mason was highly fancied at Haydock last week and the trainer has expressed his disappointment that it was abandoned. He is looking for consolation here and said of his colt “He is on a lenient mark and will be suited by the ground and the course”. So with the trainers upbeat talk on his horses chances, I will choose him to take this contest.
The 3.10, the bet365 Challenge Cup is by far and away the best betting race of the day. Jamie Osborne’s Raising Sand returns after winning this contest last year but although he is course specialist with four wins here, asking him to carry 15lbs more than 2018 seems to me a big question mark. I don’t doubt his ability but I think he has several contenders that can run him down when carrying 9st 9lbs. Bedouin’s Story is one but the Saeed Bin Suroor’s gelding was pulled out at Newmarket last week with an abscess and I’m not sure he’s recovered in time. Ripp Orf saves his best for Ascot but has never won on soft and has failed to win this season when highly fancied on several occasions. Another nearly horse is Kynren and trainer David Barron must be so frustrated with his gelding, as are many punters, who promises so much but fails to deliver. He has not won for two years but prefers soft going and may well figure here. Looking further down the handicap I like the look of John Gosden’s Casanova. A winner of his last two contests at Wolverhampton and Sandown with Robert Havlin aboard, I have no problem if Gosden’s top jock, Dettori, goes to France to prepare for Sunday as Havlin knows this horse well and off a low weight can add to the trainers string of victories this term.
Moving a little further north to Newmarket the card starts with the British EBF Premier Fillies Handicap at 1.40. This is an open betting contest with another Gosden horse well fancied, that horse is Scentasia who won easily at Yarmouth in mid-September. But she is stepping up in class here and seems to have beaten very little in her victories this year. Nearooz won a small contest at Lingfield last time and has won here at HQ as a 2-year -old but may find one or two too good. Richard Fahey sends Eva Maria who did not see a racecourse until July this year, she has done hardly anything wrong since then, recording two victories from four starts, but this is a major step up for the filly and she may have to settle for a place. William Haggas has a very strong hand here with Nkosikazi, Ghaziyah and Shrewdness (who names these poor fillies). The best of these could prove to be Ghaziyah who beat Eva Maria at Thirsk on her first outing this year, she went on from that to win on the all-weather at Chelmsford then running fourth after being hampered at Goodwood. I consider her better than that run and she has the ability to take this handicap.
Newmarket’s 3.25 is the Kingdom Of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes, a Group 1 contest. This race is mainly about Laurens, a winner of six Group 1’s in her career. Her trainer, Karl Burke has opted to come here to Newmarket rather than Longchamp for the Prix De la Foret for her final race. She was only fourth last time at Leopardstown and her jockey said she was changing her legs, if she does that again she will not be able to repeat last year’s victory in this race. The winner of that Leopardstown race was Iridessa, who is a course and distance winner here at Newmarket, but Joseph O’Brien’s filly would not want any cut in the ground. Sir Michael Stoute has Veracious who won the Falmouth Stakes at the July meeting but she was well beaten in this race last year. Lavender’s Blue came good at Sandown last time bursting through to win decisively but she is against a better class of horse here and she ran poorly in the Oaks earlier in the year. The filly who has proved herself is Aidan O’Brien’s Hermosa, the winner of both the English and Irish 1000Gns. She was just run out of it in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, then ran over an unsuitable 10 furlongs in the Nassau at Goodwood. In her latest outing where she was second to Iridessa in the previously mentioned race at Leopardstown, she was just headed by an animal showing vastly improved performance, which incidentally was looked into by the the stewards. I fully expect Hermosa to gain revenge for that defeat and I’m afraid also, to spoil Laurens swansong
Saturday Lucky 15
2.00 Ascot. True Mason
3.10 Ascot. Casanova
1.40 Newmarket. Ghaziyah
3.25 Newmarket. Hermosa