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Newbury Saturday Preview

Hi all,

It’s a busy day for ITV Racing on Saturday afternoon with the broadcaster covering five races from Ayr and four from Newbury.

The feature race at Ayr is the Coral Scottish Grand National Handicap Chase (3:35). At Newbury we have two more Guineas Trials. The first of them is the Group 3 Dubai Duty Free sponsored Fred Darling Stakes. Followed 35 minutes later by the Group 3 Watership Down Stud Too Darn Hot Greenham Stakes (2:40).

Most of my Saturday bets are at Ayr and have been posted for Victor Value subscribers including a big priced one for the Scottish Grand National.

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Inside today’s main piece you can read my Newbury preview.


1:30 – Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise Stakes (Registered As The John Porter Stakes) (Group 3) – 1m 4f

Hamish won all four starts in 2023 and goes well fresh. Big claims on seasonal return but must give 3lb to all bar one of his nine rivals and probably wouldn’t want the ground to dry out too much. Course winner Arrest finished runner-up in the St Leger on is final start last season. There should be more to come from him as a 4-year-old and he's the one to beat getting 3lb from Hamish. Chesspiece is another who could be capable of better as a 4-year-old. Although he was well behind Arrest in the St Leger last season he has each way claims here.

I got the Classic Trials wrong at Newmarket in midweek so I’m happy to swerve both the Fred Darling and Greenham Stakes.  

2:05 – Dubai Duty Free Stakes (Registered As The Fred Darling Stakes) (Group 3) – 7f

A couple worth noting are Regal Jubilee and Folgaria. The first named looked a good prospect when winning a Listed race (1m) at Newmarket on her final juvenile start. Despite the drop back to 7f the daughter of Frankel looks the one to beat. Folgaria is interesting on her debut for Marco Botti. She won all her five starts in Italy including a Group 3 & Group 2 contests.

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2:40 – Watership Down Stud Too Darn Hot Greenham Stakes (Group 3) – 7f

Retained jockey James Doyle seemingly opts for Ballymount Boy instead of Master Sketch. However, I wouldn’t be quick to dismiss the claims of Master Sketch. The son of Territories finished runner-up in the Group 2 Horris Hill Stakes here (6f) last September. The step up to 7f should suit the colt on his return to action. Zoum Zoum won all three juvenile starts last season and looks to have a favourites chance. Army Ethos was beaten a neck by River Tiber in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot. Off for nine months he was beaten at odds on at Newcastle last month. Drying ground looks a plus and the cheekpieces are applied today.

3:15 – OLBG Spring Cup Handicap (Class 2) – 1m

William Haggas & Tom Marquand combined to win 6f handicap here on Friday with an unexposed 4-year-old and they have another one here with Godwinson. Godwinson got off the mark at the second attempt when winning a Hamilton maiden last June. First start since disappointing at Kempton in August when not suited by a steadily run race at Kempton and still looked green. A mark of 88 is no gimmie on handicap debut but he’s probably capable of better.

Racingbreaks Ryder won his first three starts last April & May but his form tailed off in the second half of the season. Now just 1lb above his last winning mark and Jamie Spencer is an interesting jockey booking for the 4-year-old who was gelded at the end of last season. Likely capable of going close if returning to last season’s best.

Lattam was runner-up in the Lincoln Handicap on his seasonal return. He’s got good claims but he seems at his best on soft ground  

Navagio was third in the Lincoln and looks progressive. But he shaped last time like he might need a bit further than a mile.

Bill Silvers, lightly raced, having just had the four starts, won a Doncaster maiden last April and not disgraced when a 2 ½ length 3rd of 6 on handicap debut (1m 2f) at Doncaster on his final start last season. Not sure about the drop back to a mile on better ground here but there could be more to come from him as a 4-year-old now that he’s been gelded.

Thunder Ball did best of the prominent racers when 7th of 20 in the Lincoln Handicap on his seasonal reappearance. A previous course winner (7f). He should be sharper for his recent Doncaster run and is high on my race shortlist.

Saturday Selection:

Having talked myself out of Prince Alex at Newbury on Friday. I’m determined not to do the same today. I have a couple of picks in the OLBG Spring Cup but my main one is Thunder Ball.


3:15 – Thunder Ball – 15/2 @ Bet365

Good luck with your Saturday bets.


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