Bertiewhittle – 3.45 Ascot
Saturday’s horse racing action has something to please all followers of the sport, with Lingfield hoping to shed some light on the Classic picture courtesy of the Derby and Oaks trials, while Haydock host an excellent mixed card – the highlight of which is the 17-runner ‘Swinton Hurdle’ at 3.25, with bookmakers going 8-1 the field for the valuable handicap run over the smaller obstacles.
The Steve Golling-trained Handiwork was an eye-catching fourth at Ayr last month and could go close for jockey Nico de Boinville at the 12-1 generally available, but it is the Victoria Cup – the big Flat handicap of the day at Ascot – that provides the sporting nap of the day, in the shape of the evergreen Bertiewhittle.
Trainer David Barron likes nothing better than to win these big field Ascot handicaps and has gone close on a couple of occasions with the seven-year-old son of Bahamian Bounty, starting back in July 2012 when finishing a close third in the valuable Betfair International Stakes.
The following May, off a 1lb lower mark than he will race off tomorrow afternoon, Bertiewhittle found only Excellent Guest a half-length too good in the hands of Richard Hughes, the same position he held later that year when going down by a neck to Heaven’s Guest off a rating of 99.
Following that creditable effort, the handicapper raised the horse to a mark of 102 – resulting in Bertiewhittle failing to trouble the judge in 2014.
However, after failing to get any kind of run on his most recent start at Goodwood – and racing off his lowest mark for two years – he is capable of running a huge race at the 25-1 on offer with bet365, Betfred and BetVictor, all of which are paying out on the first 5.
The booking of the decent 5lb claimer Rob Hornby is another plus, along with what could be a good draw in stall 21.
With a mere 28 rivals to contend with the dangers are numerous, the most feared being those towards the bottom of the handicap – notably Russian Realm, Speculative Bid and Shared Equity, like the selection all drawn high.