There is an abundance of quality racing action for armchair punters to sink their teeth into on Saturday, with Channel 4 broadcasting three live races from Sandown, four from York and a sprint handicap from Musselburgh. Bon appetit!
The race televised from the last-named track is the valuable William Hill Scottish Sprint Cup. It’s a devilishly competitive contest, as you would expect with the lucrative prize-money on offer, and I recommend taking two against the field – BARNET FAIR and LONG AWAITED.
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I’m not one to kop out of pinning my hat to one horse in big-field sprint handicaps, but splitting stakes in this particular contest seems wise. The rationale behind backing Barnet Fair is that he’s a very talented sprinter when on-song, is just 2lb above the mark off which he won a hot handicap at Ascot last summer, and he shaped as though returning to form when sixth in the 19-runner event won by Kingsgate Choice at York last time.
In terms of Long Awaited, he represents a yard in fine form, will relish the fast ground here, and finished full of running when fancied for the valuable ‘Dash’ at Epsom recently when encountering traffic problems. David Barron’s charge will need luck in running from his low draw given his hold-up style of racing, but if he does get the breaks I am convinced he’ll go mighty close, with talented apprentice Jason Hart claiming a valuable 5lb.
The live action on C4 gets underway with the Cash Out Multiples Only On Betfair Handicap at Sandown, and unexposed handicap debutant STABLEFORD gets the nod ahead of Sir Michael Stoute’s Theodore Gericault who will be bidding to bounce back from a slightly disappointing effort at this track last month.
The Novae Insurance Handicap at the Esher venue is very competitive, and Danchai is bound to be popular, having finished runner-up in a strong Newmarket handicap on his reappearance at the Guineas meeting, while the fact that Frankie Dettori is doing the steering will add to his punter appeal.
However, I suspect he’ll be fairly short in the betting and recommend taking him on with the Roger Varian-trained ASHAADD who posted an improved effort when landing a 7f handicap here earlier this month. That race was littered with unexposed types from top yards, and the son of Dansili can brush off a 5lb rise upped in trip on Saturday.
In the Novae Bloodstock Insurance Scurry Stakes, it’s worth siding with DUTCH MASTERPIECE who bagged a Chester handicap in impressive fashion last weekend. The son of Dutch Art has more on his plate upped to Listed class here, but I reckon he’ll prove equal to the task, and have too much toe for Morawij and Smoothtalkinrascal.
Over at York, in the lady amateur riders’ event at 2.05, WAR SINGER should prove very hard to beat. His trainer, leading jumps handler David Pipe, proved how adept he is at identifying opportunities for his horses on the Flat when Street Entertainer bolted up at Nottingham the other day. War Signer is potentially thrown in here based on his hurdles form and the booking of Jane Mangan – one of the best female jockeys around – looks significant.
The Ladbrokes.com Handicap on the Knavesmire is a really tricky-looking affair. Suits Me scored at Ripon recently and should give it a good shot from the front once again, while Clayton will be a danger to all if handling the ground, but WESTWITHTHENIGHT looks the one to be on.
Willie Haggas’ charge, an easy winner on his reappearance at Doncaster, was a costly loser at Ascot last time when readily outpointed by Gifted Girl. However, she didn’t get the best of runs on that occasion and, in any case, that form was boosted when the winner went close in a Group 3 at the Epsom Derby meeting.
Sir Patrick Moore is appealing in the Ian and Kate Hall Macmillan Ganton Stakes, but if the first-time blinkers have the desired effect STIPULATE could be the answer to this Listed race, while the ultra-valuable Macmillan Charity Sprint Trophy could go to VINCENTTI who was conceding race-fitness when just failing to overhaul the re-opposing Moviesta over 5f here last month. The extra furlong this time will help and he can see off Heaven’s Guest.
2.55 Dutch Masterpiece
2.05 War Singer
3.35 Barnet Fair & Long Awaited