The ITV racing team is bringing viewers action from Ascot, Newmarket and Redcar on Saturday. The Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes is the feature race at Newmarket, there is Group 3 action to sink our teeth into at Ascot and Redcar plays host to the Two-year-old trophy which is the highlight of Yorkshire tracks season.
The listed Rous Stakes which is run over five furlongs looks like a very open affair and Mr Lupton who has already had a good season and make continue his progression here. The Richard Fahey trained five-year-old may have spoiled the Take Cover retirement party in a Group 3 at Newbury last month but sentiment aside this was a very taking performance and even though he has to carry a five-pound penalty for this victory, he must high on everyone’s list.
Muthmir has to be one of the most consistent sprinters in training and although the William Haggas trained eight-year-old may not be the force of old he’s still got some very smart form to his name this season including a victory over future Group 1 winner Alpha Delphini in a listed event. In this open looking contest he may get his head in front again.
Julie Camacho’s stable star Judicial looked to be taking his form to a new level earlier in the season when landing back to back victories including a Group 3 at Sandown. Since this victory, Judicial who is a half-brother to Marsha has been disappointing and will have to recapture his old sparkle to win.
Others to consider include Spring Loaded, Mythmaker and Under The Covers.
Selection: Mr Lupton
Only five horses head to post in the Group 3 Cumberland Lodge Stakes and it looks like a shoot-out between the John Gosden trained First Eleven and recent listed winner Communique. Both of these are progressive three-year-old but that being said have different profiles, like most that hail from the Mark Johnston stable Communique has been much-raced this season. In fact, the son of Casamento has graced the racecourse twelve times this season, emerging triumphantly on five occasions.
On the other hand, First Eleven has only run five times but in some of this season ‘s leading handicaps, including a third in the King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot. After a small break, First Eleven was an impressive winner in the Lavazza handicap back at Ascot. A reproduction of that run would suffice here and back to back victories look on the cards for the daughter of Frankel.
The field is completed by the Owen Burrows trained Laraaib, Blakeney Point and the Gerald Mosse ridden Grey Britain.
Selection: First Eleven
Limato is the standout horse in the Group 3 Bengough Stakes where Henry Candy’s stable star faces seven rivals. Rewind two seasons and Limato was not just contesting Group One’s he was winning them. Victories in the July Cup and the Prix de la Foret were among the highlights that season. It’s been a different story this year with the son of Tagula running bitterly disappointing on his first three starts of the season. The six-year-old actually only beat eight rivals in total in those three runs.
Henry Candy dropped Limato down in grade for his last two starts which has resulted in two confidence-boosting listed wins and if these have reignited the firm in Limato’s belly then he should easily land this Group 3 contest.
The most admirable and in equal measure frustrating runner in the field is Projection who has only won two of his seventeen career starts but has some very smart form in the book. His best run came in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes when he finished fifth behind Merchant Navy. This was followed up by placings in a listed event and Group 3 race.
Another good run looks guaranteed but in all likelihood, he may come up short again.
The other notable runners include Dream Of Dreams, Gifted Master and Laugh A Minute.
The Challenge Handicap is the final race on ITV on Saturday and it looks like a really tricky race for anyone trying to “get out of jail”. Many punters will be rowing in behind Flaming Spear, who since joining Dean Ivory has run well behind Settle For Bay in the Royal Hunt Cup and after that cosily landed a competitive Goodwood handicap.
Dean Ivory has enlisted the services of crack Irish apprentice Ben Coen for his quality handicapper who has the burden of 9-10 on his back off-set to 9-5 after Coen’s claim and he looks the answer.
Il Primo Sole represents the classic generation and John Gosden’s lightly raced son of Raven’s Pass holds leading claims of leading this competitive handicap. He was only beaten five lengths three starts back in a Group 1 at Longchamp and on the back of that run, he finished fifth in the Britania handicap at Royal Ascot. A disappointing run followed behind Burnt Sugar in the Gigaset handicap back at Ascot but if he can put this run behind him then Il Primo Sole could get his head in front.
Of the bigger priced runner Shady McCoy catches the eye, Ian Willams’ inmate has contested some of the top handicaps this season but has come up short on each occasion. Even so, if he can get the rub of the green Shady McCoy who is a course and distance winner, may repay his many followers.
Some of the other interesting contenders include Escobar, Growl and Aces.
Selection: Il Primo Sole
The Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes is the highlight of the weekend and Aidan O’Brien is looking for a hat-trick in the race following victories of Alice Springs (2016) and Roly Poly (2017). Aidan is represented by two fillies in this year’s renewal namely Clemmie and I Can Fly.
Clemmie was one of last season’s leading juveniles highlighted by winning the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes but since returning to the track this season she has yet to taste success in four starts. Three of these defeats came at the hands of the recently retired Alpha Centauri and most recently behind Laurens in the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown.
I Can Fly also ran at Leopardstown over Champions Weekend where she won the Group 2 Boomerang Stakes beating stablemate Kenya. The runner-up did nothing for the form when trailing in a long last in the Cambridgeshire but I Can Fly has had more time to recover for those excursions and should run well.
French-raider Wind Chimes heads the market having finished runner-up to Recoletos in the Group 1 Prix du Moulin. This form is some of the best on offer and seems to be on a real upward curve. Another three-year-old filly with leading credentials in the field is Karl Burkes Laurens who re-opposes with many of the other fillies in the field and having beaten a perhaps below par Alpha Centauri on her most recent start, she may land back to back Group Ones.
The strength of this race is highlighted by 1000 Guineas winner Billesdon Brook being an unconsidered 16/1 shot. Since this surprise classic victory, Richard Hannon’s charge has been somewhat disappointing but this is the first time she is returning to the course and distance where she achieved this career-defining success and if she repeats that level of form, then there is no doubt that she is overpriced.
Selection: Billesdon Brook
Redcar’s most high profile meeting of the season takes place on Saturday with the Two-Year-Trophy taking centre stage at the Yorkshire track. Previous winners include Limato (2014) who we discussed earlier.
Rathbone has yet to win a race but has run some very good races in defeat along the way. chief among these was a two-length defeat in a valuable sales race at Doncaster most recently. Shane Gray takes over on Kevin Ryan’s charge and it might just be his day in the sun.
Tim Easterby’s Vintage Brut heads the market having run well well in Listed and Group company on his previous starts but one just gets the impression that he has reached a certain level and his vulnerable to an improver.
Red Balloons was a surprise winner of a valuable sales race at York when last seen and the daughter of Kyllachy may just take another step up to land this listed race.
Others of note include Beat Le Bon, Strict Tempo and Summer Daydream.