TV TIPS (SATURDAY)
In Association With…
A busy day of ITV action gets underway with the ultra competitive handicap sprint run over 6f.
Marco Botti’s Unabated won with a bit in hand when scoring over course and distance last time out and looked value for the win despite the narrow margin of just a neck. The son of Bated Breath has plenty more to come now he has found his feet in this sphere, but his inconsistency may leave him vulnerable to a battle hardened rival.
It may pay instead to side with James Fanshawe’s consistent 4-year-old gelding Mazzini. The horse looked a winner in the making last time out when chasing home the talented Udontdodou despite not getting the clearest of passages through. He looks perfectly poised to strike in this field and he can hold off the threat from last year’s winner Amazour who comes here off 11lb higher than when scoring 12 months ago.
The live action from Newmarket HQ gets underway with the Fred Archer Stakes which is a class 1 Listed contest over 1m4f for older horses. Sir Michael Stoute’s Midterm is the likely warm favourite for this one, but he has disappointed badly in two starts already this term and despite having gone close over this sort of trip in France last season, he is yet to fully convince over the 1m4f he faces again today, This does represent a decent ease in grade for the horse dropping into Listed grade, but he may be vulnerable to an improver. The highly tried Mount Logan is a decent handicapper and won at this level once before, so the assistance of former champion jockey Sylvestre De Sousa probably makes him a live danger here, but he does always seem to bump into one in this sort of grade. A chance is instead taken on the favourite’s stablemate, Platitude, who has the assistance of reigning champion jockey Jim Crowley. The four-year-old is still very lightly raced and has a similar profile to Midterm. He won on debut as a two-year-old so the lack of a run this season is not a major concern and he looks a typical four year old improver for the yard with some nice entries on the horizon. He looks a cracking each way play here and wouldn’t need to improve much to get involved here and having won over 1m6f previously, the trip is fine as well.
Another tricky sprint race over 6f for the second visit to Newcastle of the day and the Group 3 Chipchase Stakes looks a fascinating renewal this time around. Robert Cowell’s runners are always respected in this sphere, so his charge, Ornate, is definitely to be respected here with the ground have come right for him. He has ran with credit in this sort of grade before, but hard to recommend when he has only 1 win in 13 starts.
Perfect Pasture beat some nice types when scoring in a Class 1 Listed contest last time out at Windsor and he is the type to come on again for Mick Easterby, who really is a master at eeking out improvement from this type of sprinter. He gets on really well with jockey Paul Mulrennan, who rides again today, but his inconsistency makes him hard to recommend.
It makes sense instead, to side with a battle hardened contender, who has been here and done it before at this level, so Richard Fahey’s Kimberella fits that bill perfectly. Paul Hanagan takes the ride and he has a tremendous record at this track. The horse itself is a high class handicapper, who has ran with credit at this level in the past and deserves to get his head in front in a group race and gets the nod as a solid each way bet.
The Empress Fillies stakes is a 2YO contest ran over 6f and on the face of it looks a punter’s nightmare with a field of unexposed types, but on closer inspection it looks to be between three here.
The Richard Hannon team are renowned for their excellent record with their juveniles so their runner, Tajaamus, is definitely one to watch here regardless of the outcome, but she seems the type to improve from his debut run over course distance and her experience of the track could prove vital here so she gets the tentative nod here.
Dangers are aplenty in an unexposed field. Charlie Hills’ exciting Acclamation filly, Elizabeth Bennett, probably rates the main danger to the selection after she stepped up on her Goodwood debut third, to romp to any easy five length success on her second run on the all weather at Lingfield. This is a different kettle of fish altogether back in rougher seas, but it should be a good dual between her and the selection.
The Northumberland Vase looks a highly competitive handicap over 2m. The ultra consistent Kensington Star has yet to be out of the first three in his career and is lightly raced with only 6 runs to his name, so he seems like one of the more likely types here. He stepped forward on previous form with his latest run when second to the progressive Great Fighter at Musselburgh last time out where he looked the winner for a long way, but has to be a concern that he keeps finding one horse too good in his races so far.
It may pay instead to side with the in-form horse in this sphere. Ian Williams’ classy stayer London Prize has only eight starts on the flat and has looked rejuvenated by the switch back to flat from hurdles. He three wins and two placed efforts from his seven starts on the level including three wins and a second from his last four flat races. He won with plenty in hand on return at Goodwood last time out and made some decent rivals look ordinary so he looks like the bet of the day and gets the confident nod here.
LONDON PRIZE (WIN) – NAP
The Group 3 Criterion Stakes is a competitive looking 7f clash where the boys in blue of Godolphin look to have a stranglehold on the outcome. They come here mob-handed with three of the eight runner field in their ownership. Jungle Cat made the frame in the Palace House Stakes and the King’s Stand last term and can make his impact felt here back up in trip. The choice of William Buick as well would suggest he may be expected a bold bid here, but preference is for his in-form stablemate.
Home of the brave could not have been any more impressive when easily dispatching Diamond Jubilee runner up Tasleet last time out to win on reappearance. He will only come on for that run. He does have something to find with stablemate Richard Pankhurst who is a Group 2 winner, but the former has definitely improved since their last meeting, where as the John Gosden horse may just need the run in this his seasonal reappearance. Those two look like being on for a rematch of that running in the Group 2 Hungerford stakes with both being entered and that race maybe a different story, but the race fit and in-form Home of the brave looks the one to be on today.
David Simcock’s Breton Rock is tough as old boots in this sphere and probably rates the main danger to the selection given he has achieved more in his career so far.
HOME OF THE BRAVE (WIN)
The Northumberland Plate is always one of the hardest handicap puzzles of the entire flat season to solve so I will be recommending two here in an ultra competitive field for this year’s renewal. Peter Niven sends his high class staying warrior, Clever Cookie, in here off of top weight and he might just have the class to shrug that off and win this. He has had quite a frustrating time of things this season compared to his exploits in recent years, but can definitely take a hand here back handicapping. He hasn’t won since May 2016’s triumph in the Yorkshire Cup, but that was at Group 2 level and if he can hit any where near that form then his double figure odds may seem silly and so he is an irresistible each way bet.
From an elder statesman, to a highly progressive looking future staying star. Sir Mark Prescott is famous for rattling up long sequences of wins with this type of horse, so his four-year-old, Flymetothestars, looks another to follow the same path. The See the Stars gelding already has three wins from four starts and looked to have improved massively for the step up to this trip over course and distance last time out. He already has two wins at the track to his name and will take all the beating here today.
CLEVER COOKIE (E/W)
Ed Dunlop’s Tadleel is expected to come on for his debut run after showing signs of promise that day at Newbury. The yard’s 2YO runners do tend to come on leaps and bounds for a run so big things are expected of their £130k Dark Angel colt here with Jim Crowley booked to do the steering here, but he may be a longer term project.
Dukhan is a debutant for the Hugo Palmer yard and this son of Teofilo has both an eyecatching price tag at some £260K and an excellent pedigree so may be one to follow in time, but a chance is instead taken on a tried and tested formula in these races – team Hannon.
The Richard Hannon yard’s exemplary two-year-old record gives the edge to their debutant Letsbe Avenue, who looks bred to be competitive from the get go as a two-year-old and he looks like being value at an each way price in a difficult race to judge.
LETSBE AVENUE (E/W)