Those of you who like a hot handicap or two are in for a real treat, on Saturday, with some terrific races taking place at Ascot and Haydock. Seymour Biz is very-much looking forward to this weekend and he’s picked out a quartet of horses for your Lucky 15 bet. Find all previous UK racing previews in his weekly column: Saturday Horse Racing Tips.
A mouth-watering weekend of action on the racing front this weekend with three fine meetings being televised, Kempton on the all-weather and Haydock and Ascot on the turf. There are two races from Kempton on ITV and John Gosden’s Royal Line comes out in the 2.05 for only his second run of the year after winning last year’s November Handicap. Another great card at Ascot with two tricky handicaps being televised and I have given my thoughts on those below. But the main meeting of the Day is at Haydock Park with the Sprint Cup being the main attraction. In this contest we have the Commonwealth Cup victor taking on the July Cup winner, throw into the mix last year’s successful horse, the Stewards Cup winner and the Hackwood Stakes winner and we have one of the races of the season. With all this talent on display this race can still have a habit of throwing up a few surprises and for this year’s renewal I consider a horse who likes a little ease in the ground has a major chance against these speedsters. That is Sir Michael Stoute’s Dream Of Dreams who was only just touched off by Blue Point in the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot. The ground was against him at Newmarket in the July Cup but he can make amends here with a little give underfoot. There is coverage of three other races from the Lancashire course, two of which are handicaps with plenty of value to be had and these races along with the two from Ascot make up this week’s Lucky 15.
Starting at Ascot with the Cunard Handicap at 2.45 we have last year’s winner Ripp Orf out to defend his crown. David Elsworth’s classy individual has been unsuccessful this season after winning this last year but that is not for the lack of trying. He was just held on his latest run at Newbury behind Pattie when he was saddled with lumps of weight. Here he has only 2lbs more than last year when victorious and that should not be a problem. Salute The Soldier won at Goodwood recently but has a 3lb penalty for that win and Clive Cox’s gelding may have to settle for a place. Spanish City won a race at last this season at Yarmouth a fortnight ago but Roger Varian’s charge is stepping up in class here and would need to show a major improvement to figure. Down at the bottom of the weights is Jedd O’Keeffe’s Breanski who had a fine win at Doncaster last month. He was a surprise winner that day after stepping up to Class 2 company and was following up after a course and distance win here at Ascot, albeit in somewhat lower company. He may well put up a bold show again but it’s Ripp Orf for me.
At 3.55 it’s the Lavazza Stakes, a Heritage Handicap for 3-year-olds over just under 1m 4f. Top weight here is Charlie Appleby’s Court Poet who is only having his second run of the season. He won on the all-weather at Chelmsford last year but his only run this year was in France where he finished down the field, he is probably best watched here. Cirque Royal has been plying his trade on the all weather and has been successful twice this year, also for Appleby. If he can transfer that form to the turf he may well figure in the shake up. Faylaq was a dual winner in June for trainer William Haggas but was a beaten favourite here at Ascot last time when failing to quicken. He had Persian Moon and Never Do Nothing behind him that day and while I expect him to confirm those placings he would need to do more to take this Class 2 contest. The one that interests me most here is Apparate trained by Roger Varian. He won at Newmarket in May and has been placed twice since, latterly in July again at HQ where he had a sustained battle with the winner, Dubai Tradition, only going down by a head. He can gain some recompense here against some quality opposition.
Moving north to Haydock Park the first race on the card is the Garwood Handicap at 1.50 over 1m 6f. John Gosden has the top weight here and also the bookies favourite in the shape of First In Line who has had a great season to date. The colt won on the all weather in June then went to Doncaster and romped home over 10f at the beginning of August . At York a fortnight ago he was beaten under a length when favourite and is the class act here but with top weight they are queuing up behind hid him to take him down. Ralph Beckett’s Moon King is unbeaten this year and has won on all types of going, his latest victory at Chester was easy, romping home by 7l in a small field. Elysian Flame also won easily at Hamilton last time but he has gone up a massive 8lbs for that victory and that may anchor him here. Alan King’s Trueshan is stepping up hugely in class and should be discounted in this company. Sir Michael Stoute’ Laafy drew clear at Nottingham last time after being fitted with a visor and may well take a place. But this contest looks between First In Line and Moon King and I must give Gosden’s colt the nod on his York form.
The Old Borough Cup is one of Haydock’s top handicaps and is off at 3.35. John Gosden has the favourite and top weight here also with Corelli who was just touched off at York last time having been beaten a short head previously at Newmarket. Last year’s winner Reshoun returns after winning this last year, but Ian Williams’s gelding has had a poor season this year and looks on the downgrade. At the opposite end of the spectrum Alright Sunshine appears on the upgrade after his latest two wins for trainer Keith Dalgleish but he is stepping up in class here. Another stepping up is Garbanzo for Ed Walker, the grey is a course and distance winner but I am afraid this looks beyond him. Melting Dew was a classy individual last year but seems to have lost his way this season and is best watched at present. My liking here is for Roger Charlton’s Blakeney Point, a horse I saw win at Chester at the back end of last year. That win came off the back of a fine fifth in last year’s Ebor. Although only tenth at York last time he was only beaten five lengths and appears on a handy weight here and with some give in the ground has the ability to take this important handicap.
SATURDAY LUCKY 15 TIPS
2.45 Ascot. Ripp Orf
3.55 Ascot. Apparate
1.50 Haydock. First In Line
3.35 Haydock. Blakeney Point