A bumper weekend of horse racing action on both sides of the channel, the highlight being Sunday’s Qatar Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp. ITV cameras will cover eight races on Saturday afternoon, four from Ascot, three from Newmarket along with Redcar’s valuable William Hill Two Year Old Trophy.
We have tips for all of the races, the first at 1.31pm, culminating in Ascot’s fiercely competitive 7f handicap at 3.36pm.
“Tip of the Day” - Hamish (2.25pm Ascot) - 13/8 with Coral
Beaten less than a length by top stayer Kyprios in last month’s Irish St Leger, William Haggas’s charge should not be inconvenienced by the drop in trip and looks more than capable of conceding weight to his eight rivals.
1.31pm Newmarket, 1m 2f - Crystal Estrella (Each Way)
An impossible fillies handicap to start the day in which a chance is taken on Sir Michael Stoute’s unexposed CRYSTAL ESTRELLA (e.w.). The daughter of Iffraaj possesses more scope than most of her rivals and could not have been more impressive in winning at Goodwood on just her third start.
As with many horses from the stable, the mount of Richard Kingscote is sure to improve significantly with more experience.
1.51pm Ascot, 5f - King’s Lynn (Each Way)
There would be no more popular winner of this 5f Listed race than the Andrew Balding-trained KING’S LYNN (e.w.), now owned by HM King Charles III following the death of HM Queen Elizabeth II. The mount of David Probert has to concede weight to all of his 11 rivals but the top rated sprinter is capable of doing just that with conditions to suit.
The Cable Bay gelding is at his best on good ground or softer, backed up by form figures for his last three runs reading 2-1-2-1. The five-year-old has a good record when fresh so should not be inconvenienced by having his first outing for over three months and can get the meeting off to a great start by beating main market rival Manaccan and Method, who may prove best of those at a double-figure price.
2.06pm Newmarket, 6f - Skysail (Each Way)
This £150,000 Sales race is less competitive than a field of 29 runners would suggest. The Ed Walker-trained Amichi won a similar race at headquarters towards the end of August and will be fancied to give connections yet another big payday. However, Ray Dawson’s mount may have his work cut out to give 3lb to SKYSAIL (e.w.) from the Marcus Tregonning stable.
The Tasleet colt made an encouraging debut when runner-up to a promising juvenile in Wyoming at Windsor, half a length in front of the highly regarded favourite Chasseral who has since recorded an easy victory at Newcastle.
With that experience under his belt Skysail made no mistake on his second outing, winning a well above average Newbury maiden and despite the numbers should take plenty of beating under jockey Dougie Costello.
2.25pm Ascot, 1m 4f - Hamish (Nap)
Ballydoyle’s Irish challenger High Definition has to be respected, dropping in class, as the mount of Wayne Lodan has faced some impossible tasks this season taking on the likes of Baaeed and Alpinista. However, the four-year-old may have to settle for a minor placing once again as this looks a good opportunity for William Haggas’s HAMISH (Nap) to gain some compensation for his narrow defeat at the hands of top stayer Kyprios in the Irish St Leger last time.
The mount of Pat Dobbs should have no problem coping with this shorter trip as the son of Motivator appears versatile in that department as his victory over this year’s Coronation Cup winner Hukum at Kempton 13 months ago would back up.
2.42pm Newmarket, 1m - Laurel (Each Way)
Taking on Group 1 winners Saffron Beach, Homeless Songs and Prosperous Voyage, the two victories achieved by John & Thady Gosden’s unbeaten filly LAUREL (e.w.) falls some way short of what is usually required to win a race of this nature, a contest won by some outstanding performers down the years including Time Charter, Indian Skimmer, Attraction and Sahpresa, who won three consecutive runnings between 2009 and 2011.
However, it was impossible not to have been impressed with the Kingman filly’s turn of foot in winning those races at Newmarket and Kempton. The Gosden stable has produced some outstanding fillies down the years, Enable being just one of many, and in Laurel the master trainer may have yet another high class performer on his hands.
3.00pm Ascot, 6f - Ehraz (Each Way) (Longshot)
An excellent renewal of this Group 3 six furlong sprint in which most of the 15 runners can be fancied, including three of the four northern raiders - Commanche Falls, Summerghand and Gale force Maya - who have all been in top form of late. However, we have yet to see the best of the Richard Hannon-trained three-year-old EHRAZ (e.w.) this season and the course and distance winner as a juvenile could prove the value bet in an open contest.
Dane O’Neill’s mount looked unlucky to be beaten narrowly by fellow rival Tiber Flow at Newbury back in May, going down by a fast diminishing short head after failing to get the clearest of runs. On his only other run so far this season, Ehraz did well to be beaten just over three lengths in Royal Ascot’s Group 1 Commonwealth Cup after being slowly away and goes into this race a fresh horse following a break of three and a half months.
3.21pm Redcar, 6f - Washington Heights (Each Way)
In receipt of 7lb from the two clear form horses, Cold Case and Barefoot Angel, the Kevin Ryan-trained WASHINGTON HEIGHTS (e.w.) gets the vote after losing out narrowly in a similar race at York’s Ebor meeting. The Washington DC gelding was nabbed close home by Richard Hannon’s Shouldvebeenaring on the Knavesmire after getting the better of long-time leader Northcliff well inside the final furlong.
The form of that race received a boost when the winner went on to claim Ripon’s Listed Champion Two Yrs Old Trophy next time and in a race where those drawn low to middle could dominate, Tom Eaves’ mount from stall seven looks sure to go well.
3.36pm Ascot, 7f - Symbolize (Each Way)
Unlucky not to have won a valuable 7f handicap at Leopardstown recently after just failing to catch winner I’m A Gambler, the John Quinn-trained Safe Voyage would have a big chance of going one better if the ground turns soft at the Berkshire racecourse. Slight preference however is for last year’s second SYMBOLIZE (e.w.) from the stable of Andrew Balding.
Runner-up to the now 117-rated Aldaary in both this race and the Balmoral Handicap on Champions Day, David Probert’s mount had Fresh over seven lengths back in third place in the former contest and now meets that bang-in-form rival on 5lb better terms. This race looks to have been the long-range target for Symbolize who should be spot-on following a decent effort in a competitive handicap at Doncaster’s St Leger meeting last month.
* Odds correct at the time of writing but subject to change.