TEN live races are on ITV screens for our entertainment on Saturday afternoon. Fabulous!
A basket of top tracks, too – Betfred-sponsored racing from Haydock, with York, Goodwood, and finally Classic action from the Curragh in County Kildare. An absolute treat.
Here’s what we can expect;
1:15 Betfred supports Jack Berry House Handicap – 1m 4f
1:50 Betfred TV Nell Hook Handicap – 2m
2:25 Betfred Silver Bowl Handicap – 1m
3:00 Betfred Sandy Lane Stakes (Group 2) – 6f
3:30 Betfred Temple Stakes (Group 2) – 5f
1:30 William Hill Festival Stakes – 1m 2f
2:05 William Hill Harroways Handicap – 7f
2:40 William Hill Epic Boost Handicap – 5f
3:15 William Hill Brontë Cup – 1m 6f
3:40 Irish 2000 Guineas (Group 1) – 1m
As is customary, let’s see if we can find at least one from each contest that we feel could run well for us this afternoon.
Glorious labour of love for me today. Haydock was the first track I ever attended. York is my favourite course, and city I guess, in the whole world (my native Manchester’s a short-head second); while Goodwood is probably the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to watch racing.
Haven’t had the pleasure of the Curragh, but it has a Newmarket-type vibe for me, and it’s the traditional venue for today’s Classic.
David O’Meara’s Auld Toon Loon has an awful lot going for him. Took a big forward step at Wetherby last time when up in trip, and steps forward a further two furlongs today.
He’s the son of Belardo, top-notch at around a mile, but there’s Galileo influence on the dam’s side. In The Breeze could be a tough opponent, but I’m hopeful the lightly-raced ‘Loon’ can continue to improve.
Selection – Auld Toon Loon to win @ 5/4
Competitive Listed race action for a very nice pot.
El Drama (9/2) is very interesting dropped in class, but I’m just not sure about this one. He’s kept very good company but as for ideal trip/track/level I’m scratching my head a little.
John and Thady Gosden’s unbeaten Francesco Clemente is on the face of it far more straightforward – three progressive runs at 1m and 1m 2f, and this son of Dubawi should take this next step in his stride. Raft of fancy entries, too – I like that.
Selection – Francesco Clemente to win @ 13/8
Frankie Dettori is at Haydock Park this afternoon, and will have his admirers here (@7/4) on Carzola. Career-best effort at Donny last time, and we know she stays. Up in class though.
Chester Cup fourth Law Of The Sea (5/2) is the one for me. Arguably a bit unlucky on the Roodee, and Will Buick steps in for the ride on this talented son of Derby hero Golden Horn. Seemed to appreciate the extreme distance and has a similar test here.
Selection – Law Of The Sea to win @ 5/2
Warm Class 2 handicap, and a 4s the field puzzle to solve.
Yacowlef (5/1) is penalised for a win at HQ, but has a great record here. A brace of fine runs at two, and has reappeared in great heart. Tom Marquand rides, and though Ryan Moore was aboard last time, Tom’s been on top several times previously.
Could be a stepping-stone to a handicap at the Royal meeting perhaps – and I’m keeping on the right side of this improving three-yr-old. Might as well err on the side of caution and go each-way, especially as we’re paying FOUR places.
Selection – Yacowlef each-way @ 5/1
What a treat – Frankie in the sunshine (fingers crossed) on a Gosden favourite wearing the Dancing Brave/Frankel/Enable colours. The colt in question is Covey, a son of the great Frankel in fact.
Three runs, the last two of them wins, and a definite upward curve. Could go from the front on handicap debut, and this is surely, potentially, the proverbial Group horse in a handicap. We’re about to find out. Can’t oppose it – 24 carat breeding, connections, prospects.
Selection – Covey to win @ 11/4
First visit of the day to the beautiful Knavesmire. The Dante meeting last week was fantastic, as per, and the ‘gents will wear jackets‘ rule has been relaxed today in the County Stand in anticipation of a glorious afternoon!
Karl Burke’s horses are running brilliantly, and his Korker (3/1) nearly landed a similar event nine days ago. He’s up a cruel 3lb for that near-miss, and at a trip where inches count that’s not ideal.
We’re FOUR places each-way, so I’m looking for one at a price that might give us a shout. With that in mind I like Squealer, a three-yr-old gelding who has course-and-distance form from his juvenile year.
The ground was against him at Chester, but regular pilot Rowan Scott is back aboard for Nigel Tinkler. What a popular Yorkshire triumph this would be – here’s hoping for a cracking run.
Selection – Squealer, each-way @ 12/1
Back to the north-west, and a Group 2 sprint where Aidan O’Brien’s Little Big Bear (11/8) has plenty in hand on official ratings.
Frankie’s in the plate, too – and though beaten pointless in the 2000 Guineas, this drop back to six furlongs could be just the job.
We know Karl Burke’s Cold Case (5/1) has trained on, as he won a nice race at Ascot on reappearance. We’ll doubtless see him at the Royal meeting too.
Bradsell (7/2) was actually favourite for a Curragh Group 1 won by Little Big Bear last August, and ran well enough himself in Cold Case’s race, finishing a close-up third.
I’m content to let ‘The Bear’ run at his skinny price until we have confirmation that he’s back to his scintillating 2-yr-old form, so it’s more joy for the Burke team for me, and Cold Case.
Selection – Cold Case to win @ 5/1
A good-looking Fillies’ Group 3 contest, and another horse with a big advantage in terms of official marks. Mimikyu for the Gosdens has bags in hand but hasn’t run for 224 days. She’s got an entry in the Hardwicke at the Royal meeting and is around a 5/4 chance this afternoon.
Hard to beat if wound-up sufficiently, and its hers to lose, frankly. I’m finding it very hard to oppose last term’s Park Hill heroine.
Selection – Mimikyu to win @ 5/4
A flying 5 furlongs for the Temple Stakes – blink and you might miss it.
The one I like is Karl Burke’s Dramatised, in the all-conquering Clipper Logistics colours. Around a 5/1 chance today, she was a hot favourite for the Lowther at York in August, but perhaps didn’t appreciate the extra furlong. Back to the minimum here, she ran a blinder subsequently in the Breeders Cup sprint (5.5f) at Keenland in November, and a fast five seems ideal.
Fingers crossed of course that she’s trained on, but the stable is flying and she’s entered in Royal Ascot’s King’s Stand. It’s a wonderful race frankly, with Twilight Falls, The Platinum Queen and Royal Acclaim especially attractive, but I’m hoping the tremendous promise of Dramatised at two is going to be fully realised.
Buick’s booked – still get goosebumps thinking of his winning Nunthorpe ride on Ortensia just over a decade ago. More of the same please, William.
Selection – Dramatised to win @ 5/1
The Irish 2000 Guineas, and at this stage an English favourite. Paul and Oliver Cole saddle Royal Scotsman (2/1), a terrific third in Newmarket’s version earlier this month.
Aidan heads the home challenge inevitably, and I’m guessing Ryan Moore has chosen Paddington from his three entries. This one really could be anything, and hasn’t been extended yet.
He’s won twice here already, and has significant entries in all the big dances coming up. I think he might just be a bit special, and the 4/1 is a great price.
Selection – Paddington to win @ 4/1
Right – there it is. Ten superb races from a selection of some of the sport’s most iconic stages. Enjoy, as always take care, and good luck!
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