Good morning all,
I’m writing this on Thursday night, which I normally wouldn’t contemplate doing but a) I’m off to Hexham tomorrow, which will eat the day up and b) unless every weather forecast is totally wrong, Ascot is going to get a right soaking (to the point where I’m wondering if, as I type this, there might even be an inspection) and the likes of both Newmarket and Redcar are going to be hard going as well. Newmarket is already soft, with the prospect of more to come, and you’ll be looking for proper mudders come Saturday.
So, with that, here’s my picks for Saturday.
1.55 Ascot – Rous Stakes (5f)
Dakota Gold won this from the front last year with a very game display and I think he might be able to repeat the dose from what could be a good draw in stall 14.
He was given some company up front for the first half of the race then, and he might find the speedy Glamorous Anna doing the same again here, but she’s drawn 2 and that’s far away not to give Dakota Gold too much hassle.
The ground isn’t going to be a problem and after a stuttering start to this season, seems right back to some of his better form. (Update – price rather gone already, not a lot of value left at 4s….)
3.05 Ascot – Challenge Cup (7f)
Plenty of the usual Ascot suspects line up for this competitive handicap and the 7lb that Saffie Osborne claims just about tips me towards Raising Sand.
In 7f/1m handicaps here with cut his record reads well (including a win in this race back in 2018, albeit from a much lower mark) and he “won” his small group of four in the Hunt Cup when last seen, a perfectly acceptable effort.
He’s run to form after a break before so the absence since the Hunt Cup isn’t a problem, and with some pace around him from stall 11, should get a good tow into the race. (Update – also well backed but 7s just about an acceptable price).
3.40 Ascot – Benbough Stakes (6f)
Patience is running thin with Snazzy Jazzy but in the hope that the combination of blinkers and a return to genuinely soft ground does the trick, he gets one more go here.
On his first start of this season, he was beaten under 2l behind Space Blues and Safe Voyage in the Listed Spring Trophy at Haydock, and that form couldn’t have worked out much better. He ran to that form in two subsequent starts without winning, but a poor effort at Goodwood last time takes a bit more forgiving (trainer said ground was sticky and holding).
2.45 Newmarket – Sun Chariot Stakes (1m)
An open looking contest and one I really ought to swerve, but the 16s Feliciana De Vega has rather lured me in. Ralph Beckett’s filly has only had the five starts and in truth needs to improve to win this, but that was also the case when she won the Darley Stakes over 9f here last October and she took that in her stride.
That was the last time she ran, and normally a horse starting out in October would probably appear to have problems, but the fact she didn’t run at 2 until November and August as a three year old rather suggests she takes some getting ready and is probably an autumn horse. Her record on soft/heavy now stands at 1351 so the ground won’t be a problem, and in the hope she’s ready to go, I’ve had a small bet.
3.25 Redcar – Tote Two Year Old Trophy
All week I’ve been wanting to be with Lullaby Moon, as her win in heavy ground at Goodwood two starts ago was most impressive and her third to Umm Kulthum at Ayr a fortnight ago has been franked, with the winner running well in the Cheveley Park last week, but stall 4 might not where you want to be, given the way the track ran at the last meeting (big advantage to be drawn high and up the stands rail was something of a golden highway). I’ll still back her (win), but I want one drawn high as well and so Blind Beggar, who also has form that ties him in with Umm Kulthum, looks the one. He’s improved a little with every start, won’t mind the ground and ran very well against the improving Atalis Bay at Haydock last time out, a run that can even be marked up a touch given he stumbled after a furlong. He looks the e/w alternative, with six places available with some firms.
Thanks for the comments after yesterday's Fontwell winner, an SP of 4s! Hope you had the bigger prices with the Rule 4s as you'd have been on at a fair bit bigger than that.
Today's selection – Raising Sand 3.05 Ascot
Good luck with all your bets this weekend.