It’s a nice day of racing on Saturday and there is some good races from the three courses that ITV are showing – Haydock, Beverley and Newmarket – with the feature race the John Of Gaunt Stakes from Haydock.
Here’s my thoughts on the races shown on ITV…..
13:25 Beverley – Dadie Oughtred Memorial Handicap
LOVE DREAMS is a typical Mark Johnston horse – ran a lot and to a particularly good strike rate. He’s 5lbs below his last winning mark and ran a good race to be beaten not at all far at Epsom. Elarfaan could be a threat as he’s very lightly raced. He wasn’t beaten far last time and won over course and distance last May.
13:45 Haydock – Betway Middle Distance Handicap
I’m going to go for another Mark Johnston. MIND THE CRACK only ran three times at two and then ran out an easy win at Lingfield nine days ago. This is tougher but he seems to be improving.
14:00 Beverley – Dadie Oughtred Handicap
Archie Watson has a reputation for being good with his two year olds and Kodiac filly EXECLUSIVE won over course and distance twenty five days ago on debut. Richard Fahey won this last year with Kodyanna and they have Moon Of Love, who was an expensive purchase but gets 3lbs.
14:10 Newmarket – Bentley Cambridge Handicap
BLOWN BY WIND was kept in high company last season and ran very well on his reappearance carrying 10st1lbs in a handicap at Leicester twelve days ago. He was seventh on his only try at this trip in a very competitive group two and is just preferred to Flashcard who wasn’t able to last out this trip last time out but was second in a very nice race at the Curragh.
14:25 Haydock – Betway Pinnacle Stakes
Willie Mullins is a power house on the flat but lately he has been dabbling more and more into the flat nowadays. He has the favourite TRUE SELF in this, who I expect will go off slightly odds-on on the day. She has won her last four, including three Listed wins, and has won over hurdles in a Grade B at the Punchestown Festival. She won’t mind the heavy ground.
14:45 Newmarket – Bernard Sunley Memorial Handicap
The ground at Newmarket will be completely different to that of Haydock as it’s predicted as good to firm. Speedo Boy will much prefer this compared to the deluge at Chester last time and runs of 96. The yard also have the quirky The Grand Visir who has won over this trip before. WHAT A WELCOME finished ahead of last year’s winner Amazing Red when beaten a nose. He was a winning machine last year and should go close off a career high mark.
15:00 Haydock – Betway Achilles Stakes
Stake Acclaim won well last time off a 517 day absence. He’s gone up 7lbs for that and will love conditions. So will INTENSE ROMANCE. A dual Listed winner, this is right down her street and her trainer does well with sprinters. Treasure Me is very consistent and was second on this ground last time, beating One Last Night, who may find the ground as her ‘Achilles Heel’. Tarboosh and Danzeno aren’t without a chance. Made In India is making her seasonal debut. The tree year olds, Dave Dexter and Lady In France, look a bit out of it but the latter has only ran once and won.
15:15 Beverley – Trucking By Brian Yardley 2yo Stakes
This is a nice little race over the flying five furlongs. I was at Leicester when the very good-looking American bred Cool Sphere was second to a horse of his ownership. They also have Summer Sands, who did nothing wrong on debut. Rodnee Tee is most exposed and the likely outsider. Xcelente was beaten at odds-on last time after a good debut. Dream Shot was novice last time but made a winning debut. OH PURPLE REIGN is my selection though. He battled on well to win on debut and ran at Epsom in the Woodcote next time out. He ran on really nicely that day and is dropping to five furlongs for the first time but that won’t be a problem.
15:35 Haydock – Betway John Of Gaunt Stakes
Tip Two Win was second in last year’s 2000 Guineas but never showed that kind of form again. Safe Voyage has won his last two, both at this course. He goes well on this ground so is a leading player. BRETON ROCK is nine now but has won ten of his forty starts, including over course and distance and on heavy ground. I think he will go close. Sir Dancelot would prefer better ground.