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Saturday Preview and Bets

Morning all,

There’s Group action at Newbury this afternoon with the Group 2 BetVictor Hungerford Stakes (3.35) the highlight of a seven-race card. The Curragh also plays host to Group 2 action. Where Luxembourg returns to the track for the first time since his 3rd of 15 to Coroebus in the 2,000 Guineas in the Group 2 Fitzdares Royal Whip Stakes (3.30).

The ITV cameras are covering the best of the action from Newbury, Ripon, and Newmarket on a nine-race programme.

Inside today’s main piece I look at today action in Britain and there are couple of selections for you.

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Small fields are the order of the day around Britain & Ireland today. A combination of hot weather and quick ground means Newbury has just 47 runners declared for its seven races. Newmarket has 41 runners for its seven races, as does Doncaster. Even the Great St Wilfrid Handicap has attracted just 15 runners. Mind you that’s still the biggest field of any race in Britain this Saturday afternoon.

Newbury

Its not often that a Group 2 race has the biggest field size. However, today is an exception as ten of Newbury’s 47 runners race in the Hungerford Stakes (3:35). I looked at the race in detail in Thursday’s column. Although Pogo tops my ratings just ahead of Double Or Bubble, Tiber Flow and Chindit. I prefer the other three who all race in group 1 company last time

Double Or Bubble loves quick ground but most of the pace looks to be low so stall 9 might not be helpful. Despite that she’s got definite claims on going that’s ideal for her.

Tiber Flow should get a nice two into the race from stall 1 and of the ten runners he’s open to the most improvement return to 7f.

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Chindit has a 3lb penalty to carry for his Ascot Group 2 success over a mile.  He’s been mixing in better company over a mile but a return to a strongly run 7f could really suit the 4-year-old.

1:20 – Download The BetVictor App Handicap – 1m 2f

The Willam Haggas trained Frantanck will be a warm order in the first of the televised races. However, at the prices I prefer Rogue Rocket who was doing his best work at the finish when a 2 ¼ length 4th of 6 at Sandown last time and could be suited by the step up to 1m 2f.

1:55 – Denford Stakes (Listed Race) – 7f

There are three last time out winners among the five runners but its hard to look beyond Victory Dance. The Charlie Appleby trained colt was head second 2nd of 5 in the Group 2 Superlative Stakes at Newmarket last month and will be a tough to beat if reproducing that form here.

2:30 – BetVictor Geoffrey Freer Stakes (Group 3) – 1m 5 ½ f

Previous C&D winner Outbox has struggled for form on his last two starts. A winner of a Group 1 in Qatar in February. He looks set to get the run of the race out in front today and will be tough to peg back if he does so. His biggest rival looks to be the 3-year-old Zechariah.  The colt was a disappointing 9/4 favourite for the Group 3 Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket last time, but he’s respected on his nose 2nd of 12 to Eldor Eldarov in the Group 2 Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot the time before.

3:00 – Get A Run For Your Money At BetVictor Handicap (Class 2) – 7f

Dance Fever has been back to something like his best on his last two starts. Runner up at Doncaster two starts back. He ran just as well when 2 ½ length 3rd of 18 to Lyndon B at Goodwood last time. Now back to his last winning mark and trainer Clive Cox and jockey Adam Kirby are bidding for a hat trick of wins in the race.

The lack of pace is a slight concern for the chances of Documenting. However, apart from that the 9-year-old has a similar chance to Dance Fever. He was back to something like his best when 1 ¾ length 5th of 21 to Fresh in the International Stakes at Ascot last time. Never nearer than at the finish. However, he had to wait for a gap 1f out and but for that would have got closer. He was a best priced 16/1 with Coral & Ladbrokes on Friday morning which was far to big. Those prices have gone and he's now 9/1 with the same firms.

Ripon
2:50 – William Hill Great St Wilfrid Handicap (Class 2) – 6f

High drawn horses are normally ones to be with here on the sprint course but there’s plenty of pace down the middle so the low numbers may not be out of it.

Blackrod (1) developed into a smart sprint handicapper when trained by Michael Dods. He’s been well backed in the ante post market having his first start for new trainer Edward Bethall (same ownership). He has a decent chance at the weights, but I think he would prefer more ease in the ground and stall 1 isn’t normally a positive.

Another well backed ante post is the well handicapped Summerghand (3). The 8-year-old should get the strong pace he needs, and he’s dropped down to a tempting mark and shapes like a win isn’t too far away. He finished runner-up to Dakota Gold in the 2019 renewal.

Justanotherbottle (10) is 3 from 3 over C&D and he won last year’s race off 13lb lower. Given his liking for Ripon this prominent racer can’t be ruled out and he did win over C&D in June off 3lb lower. He should be able to grab the stands rail and could be hard to peg back.

Improving Snash high on the shortlist

Improving 6f handicapper Snash (14) bids to give Tim Easterby a third win in the race since 2012. The 4-year-old made it 4 wins from 7 starts over 6f (0-8 over further) when winning at Ayr last time. He’s up 3lb for his Ayr success but is open to further progress and is high on the shortlist.

Of the rest top weight Misty Grey (15) is 1-1 over C&Dbut his best form has come on the all-weather. A better option could be Al Simmo (8) who has been in great form this season winning over C&D in May and on her last two starts at Newmarket. Up 3lb for her latest success. However, she won’t find it as easy to dominate as has she has done on her last two starts. However, given her present vein form can’t be easily dismissed.

Intrinsic Bond (6) bounced back to winning ways at Thirsk 14-day ago. The 5-year-old isn’t the most consistent of handicappers, but he was a credible 3 ¼ length 4th of 20 in last year’s race off 6lb higher. A reproduction of that effort would see him go close. His jockey Connor Beesley has a great record in the race having won it twice since 2013 and finished runner-up three times.

Verdict: If Snash takes to the track he won’t be far away. Others I like are the very well handicapped Sumnerghand despite his low draw. In a race where I will have a handful of darts. Al Simmo and Intrinsic Bond are others that make plenty of appeal.

Newmarket

ITV are covering two races from Newmarket this afternoon.

2:10 – Discover Newmarket Fillies' Handicap (Class 2) – 1m 6f

Atlantis got off the mark at the 4th attempt when making a winning handicap debut at Doncaster (1m 4f) last month. The daughter of Sea The Stars should be suited by today’s extra two furlongs and even with 9lb rise in the weights is the one to beat. Her biggest rival looks to be the Andrew Balding trained Australian Angel. More exposed than Atlantis but she’s improved for racing beyond 1m 4f. She beat two rivals at Sandown last time and is just 3lb higher here and more improvement could be forthcoming.

3:18 – Jenningsbet Grey Horse Handicap (Class 4) – 6f

A disappointingly small field of just seven for this race for greys only. Mister Bluebird is a short -priced favourite with Harry Davies taking off a handy 5lb.

Trainer Michael Appleby won this in 2017 & 2019 with Case Key and he runs Come On Girl who has returned to her best for the fitting of blinkers and won at Lingfield 7-days ago. Her best form has come on the all-weather though.

Verreaux Eagle has dropped down to a good mark, but she hasn’t managed to take advantage of it so far over 7f. Hopes are pinned on the fitting of the first visor and the drop back to 6f. James Doyle is a positive booking for the 4-year-old who should be well positioned in likely slowly run race.

Saturday Selections:

No placepot attempt for me today. I will wait for York for my next go.

It wouldn’t be fair to put up one in the Great St Wilfrid Handicap as I will be going for three in the race. That leaves Newbury to provide today’s selections.  

I’m taking Chindit to get the better of Tiber Flow and Double Or Bubble in the Hungerford Stakes. On the same card Documenting looks to big at 9/1 in the 7f handicap (3:00).

Newbury

3:00 – Documenting – 9/1 @ Coral & Ladbrokes.

3:35 – Chindit – 9/2 @ Coral & Ladbrokes.

That’s me done until Tuesday when I will look back on the weekend’s highlights. Plus, there will be a York Ebor Festival stat or two.

Good luck with your Saturday bets.

John

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