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Newbury ITV Preview

Hi all,

Inside Saturday’s main piece I’m looking at the best of the TV action at Newbury.

I’m at wine tasting tonight so I thought I’d better get Saturday’s column out early just in case I forget in the morning.

Saturday’s headline race is Newbury’s Group 1 Lockinge Stakes (3.35) over a mile. Six-time Group 1 winner Inspiral and French challenger Big Rock face nine rivals in a race worth £226,840 to the winner. An excellent Newbury undercard includes The Group 3 Aston Park Stakes (1.50), Listed Carnarvon Stakes (2.25) and London Gold Cup (3.00).

ITV Racing are covering four races from Newbury and an additional three from Newmarket on Saturday afternoon.


Here's the Racing Post's map of the Newbury flat course.

1:45 – Sky Sports Racing Aston Park Stakes (Group 3) – 1m 4f

Desert Hero looks to have a strong chance here. The four-year-old showed his class by winning an Ascot handicap and then claiming victory in the Group 2 Gordon Stakes at ‘Glorious’ Goodwood. After finishing third in last season’s St Leger, he made an impressive return over an inadequate 1m 2f at Sandown last month. The step back up to 1m 4f should suit him perfectly, making him the one to beat.

Salt Bay looks the sort to progress further as a four-year-old and made a great seasonal return, finishing a neck third in the John Porter Stakes over this course and distance last month. He wouldn't want the ground to dry out too much.

On Course Profits free Horse Racing magazine

Middle Earth will appreciate the drying ground but might need this race to regain fitness and prove he can perform as well over 1m 4f as he does over 1m 6f.

Bolster, fresh off a recent win in a Pontefract handicap, will need to improve again but could be capable of doing so. While he has place claims, he would likely prefer softer ground.

So Moonstruck, making his debut for Owen Burrows, hasn't raced since finishing a head third in the 2022 German Derby. Questions remain about his fitness and retained ability, but his German form suggests he can be competitive.

2:25 – Highclere Castle Gin Carnarvon Stakes (Listed Race) – 6f

Relief Rally, a high-class juvenile, won the Super Sprint here (5f) and the Group 2 Lowther Stakes at York. She didn’t stay the 7f in the Fred Darling Stakes on her seasonal return, so the return to 6f should suit her well. However, she’s not the biggest filly and might be vulnerable to more progressive rivals as a three-year-old.

James's Delight, who improved to win a Pontefract handicap on his seasonal return before not staying 7f in the Greenham Stakes, bounced back with a career-best performance in a Newmarket handicap (6f) two weeks ago. His strong speed figures suggest he can be competitive in Listed company, making him a good value pick against the favourite Relief Rally.

Room Service and Mister Sketch also have claims. Room Service won a valuable Sales Race at Doncaster over 6 ½ f on his final juvenile start but struggled over 7f in the Greenham Stakes on seasonal return. He should improve now dropped back to sprinting. Mister Sketch, who finished ahead of Room Service in the Greenham, likely needed that reappearance and was close in a Group 2 over this course and distance last autumn, so he deserves serious consideration.

3:35 – Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes (Group 1) – 1m

Big Rock dominated his rivals in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on Champions Day. While he’s likely the best horse in the field, he might prefer softer ground than what’s expected.

Inspiral, a six-time Group 1 winner, performs well fresh and will like the drying ground. Although the yard’s runners have needed their first run, she would be the favorite on quick ground.

Charyn, a Group 1-placed three-year-old, has improved to win both starts this season but might not be a Group 1 horse on fast ground. Poker Face, who finished second to Charyn in a Group 2 at Sandown, is 3lb better off and could reverse the placings.

For a long-shot each-way bet, consider Hi Royal. The four-year-old was runner-up in last year’s 2000 Guineas and third in the Irish 2000 Guineas. His form dipped towards the end of the season, but his recent third in the Earl of Sefton Stakes was encouraging, and with Ryan Moore booked, he could place.

My best bets are in the Saturday handicaps and if you would like them, you can get them here and if you use coupon code VICTOR30 at checkout you’ll get a 30% discount.

Saturday Selection:


2:25 – James's Delight – 6/1.

Good luck with your Saturday bets.


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