Watch live racing from Ascot, Haydock and Newmarket on Channel 4 on Saturday
Armchair punters will be in for a veritable feast on Saturday, with Channel 4 broadcasting no less than 10 races, including all six from Ascot where the popular Shergar Cup will be staged.
The Shergar Cup, which is sponsored by Dubai Duty Free, is the only meeting of its type on these shores; the format is unique, with four teams of leading jockeys from around the globe battling it out in a points-based competition.
In all honesty, while it’s enjoyable as a spectacle, it’s not a meeting to get too heavily involved in from a financial standpoint. A good old fashioned Yankee and a placepot adds to the enjoyment, but I wouldn’t be getting carried away with any big wagers, personally.
The televised races from Haydock and Newmarket represent more conventional action, though, and the best bet of the day to my mind is QUEENSBERRY RULES in the Betfred Goals Galore Handicap (Haydock, 2.20).
It’s fair to say that Willie Haggas’ charge has proved a shade disappointing subsequent to finishing a close-up third in the Britannia Stakes at Royal Ascot last summer, but his form figures only tell half the story.
The four-year-old has often shaped better than the bare result, not least when coming home in seventh place in the 16-runner John Smith’s Cup at York last time, which was just his second start of the season.
There wasn’t much pace on in that contest, which is unusual for such a valuable handicap, and Queensberry Rules did well to finish as close as he did, having been held up in a race which essentially panned out in favour of those that were ridden close to the pace.
He conclusively proved that he stays a mile and-a-quarter on the Knavesmire, and he’ll get the strong pace he needs at Haydock, plus the stiffer track and easier surface are other factors which point to the son of Teofilo running a huge race.
Mark Johnston’s contenders in handicaps such as this always merit close consideration and his duo Salutation and Busatto, second and fourth respectively in a valuable contest at Glorious Goodwood last week, are feared most.
Amralah can blossom in the Rose of Lancaster
The Betfred Rose of Lancaster Stakes (2.55) has attracted a quality turnout, which includes True Story who will be bidding to get back on track after failing to make a real impact in Group 1s the last twice.
He has to be taken very seriously indeed down in class here, as does Hillstar, a tough and reliable type, but I’m keen on AMRALAH, who looks overpriced at 9/1 with BetVictor in my opinion.
The Mick Channon-trained colt showcased genuine tenacity when getting the better of Vancouverite and Nabucco, both of whom renew rivalry this weekend, in a Listed heat at Newbury last month.
That was no fluke and, with just 10 starts under his belt, there could be better still to come from the four-year-old. Danadana and Educate are also in with a shout, but as at Newbury I reckon the selection will have most to fear from Vancouverite.
Efflorescence looks sweet in the Solera
The sole race on C4 broadcast from Newmarket is the German-thoroughbred.com Sweet Solera Stakes (3.35), and it features a whole host of highly promising fillies.
Arabian Queen did the job well in the Cherry Hinton at this track last month and promises to stay this seven-furlong trip. Conversely, she was allowed to dictate the pace in that small field and the ground will be faster this time.
Alonsoa and Pack Together filled the first two places in a Listed contest at Sandown last time and both merit respect here, along with Calypso Beat, Muraaqaba and Savoy Showgirl.
However, they could all end up playing for places behind EFFLORESCENCE, who impressed when landing a C&D maiden in the manner of a potentially smart filly last month. This is obviously a big step up in class, but she falls firmly into the ‘could be anything’ category.
Saturday horse racing tips:
12.55 Move In Time
1.30 Sir Frank Morgan
2.40 Ingleby Angel
1.50 Patience Alexander
2.20 Queensberry Rules