The ITV racing team are bringing us action from Lingfield, Ascot and Haydock on Saturday with a bumper day of racing. The RaceBets Derby Trial is the feature race at Lingfield where smart two-year0old Anthony Van Dyck bid s to get his season off to a flyer.
The Victoria Handicap is always one of the best handicaps of the season and sees Ripp Orf try and land back to back victories in the race. Haydock brings us the only jumps action of the day with the competitive Swinton Hurdle.
The William Haggas trained Frankellina was well fancied to win on debut and having raced keenly early on, she flew home for a short margin victory. That was her only start as two and more can be expected.
John Gosden runs Anapurna in this and the Frankel filly showed marked improvement to win on her second start at Lingfield. There were still clear signs of greenness that day where she hung badly late on. She’ll need to straighten those signs of greenness out if she is to win but she’s got undoubted ability.
The very nicely bred Tauteke showed nice progression in two runs last season and should appreciate the step up in trip given her pedigree. David Egan is enjoying riding in top class races of late and looks to have a big chance of victory here.
Aidan has always held Anthony Van Dyck in high-regard and although he didn’t win a Group 1 last season, he was placed in the National Stakes and Dewhurst. He ended the campaign by finishing ninth at the Breeders’ Cup. He’s got the best form in the race but I think he may just need this run against some battle-hardened improving opponents.
Ed Walker does very well with his string and has got a very smart sort on his hands with Cap Francais. The son of Frankel won twice as a juvenile and then showed plenty on his reappearance to finish runner-up in a listed race at Epsom. He’s an improving sort and should go close.
Eagles By Day broke his maiden at the third attempt last month when he ran away with a Salisbury maiden. The well-bred son of Sea The Stars will need ever bit of this trip and I think could be more of a St Leger horse. That being said he should run well here and is a horse to follow.
Selection: Eagles By Day – E/W
Pretty Baby has yet to finish out of the first two and stayed on well to win a Group 3 over seven furlongs at Goodwood most recently. She beat Dancing Star that day who re-opposes here but with the help of Ryan Moore in the saddle, I think she can confirm the form.
Perfection progressed nicely last season and ended the year by winning a listed event at Newmarket. She makes her first start here for David O’Meara who normally does very well with new recruits and it’ll be very interesting to see how she fares out.
Jeremy Noseda has always held Betty F in high-regard which was in evidence when he ran her in the Group 1 Cheveley Park on just her second start. She hasn’t quite scaled the heights since but ran well on her seasonal reappearance at Newmarket last month and must go close.
Of the others, the French-raider Devant is of obvious interest.
Selection: Betty F – E/W
Barsanti took this twelve months ago when he had the re-opposing Salouen back in third place. That was his only victory last season but runs well fresh and looks the one to beat again.
The aforementioned Salouen went on to be twice placed at Group 1 level after his run in this race last season. Sylvester Kirk’s likeable inmate doesn’t win too often but looks sure to be in the mix once again.
It looks to be a straight shoot-out between the first and third from last season and I think that Barsanti can confirm the placings.
Richard Hannon is doubly represented in this contest and both fillies hold strong claims. Red Starlight tops the market having run very well on reappearance behind Sharja Bridge in a listed contest at Doncaster and then finished midfield in a competitive handicap Newbury. I think this mark is the top-end of her ability though and she may struggle to justify favouritism.
Aim Power is the most likely winner from the two representatives from the three-year-old generation. She was pretty highly tried last season and starts the current campaign off a feasible mark. The reigning champion jockey Silvestre De Sousa takes the mount and she shouldn’t be underestimated.
Bella Ragazza won her last two starts in handicap company last season and even with the eight-pound hike for her last start, she looks like the type to do well as a four-year-old.
Selection: Aim Power – E/W
Cape Byron is a regular in these top handicaps and although he didn’t get the winning bracket beside his name last season he came very close and must go close again.
David O’Meara must have been pleased with his new recruits Remarkable’s run in the Doncaster Mile in March. The son of Pivotal won the Cunrad Handicap off the same mark on his final start of the 2017 season and ran well in this race back in 2017 behind Fastnet Tempest. He looks sure to run well but there may be some horses better handicapped.
Ripp Orf had a very busy 2018 running a total of sixteen times, one of those runs came in this race where he won off a mark of 83 under Hayley Turner. He runs off a twelve pound higher mark this year which I think is enough to stop him in his repeat bid.
Zap got his day in the sun last season when flying home late on to win a handicap at Leopardstown on Irish Champions weekend. He’s only one-pound higher now and with Connor Murtagh claiming a valuable five-pounds of he could sneak into the places.
Selection: Zap – E/W
John Constable took this race two years ago off a mark of 134, Evan Williams sent him chasing at the start of last season and he never took to them and has been a shadow of himself since then. He runs here off 132 and if he comes back to anything like his best he will win.
The Skelton’s have a great record of landing back handicaps of late and have a live chance here with Sofia’s Rock who was rated 100 on the level and has won two of his three starts over timber. A mark of 140 could be lenient and is a very interesting contender.
Christopher Wood is just a four year old but was good on the flat for Michael Bell (Rated 85) and has really taken to hurling since joining Paul Nicholls. He won his first to starts before finishing third in the Grade 1 Doom Bar Bar Hurdle behind Pentland Hills. It’s often tough for second season four-year-olds but he could defy the stats.
Last season’s Greatwood winner Nietzche has shown a consistent level of form recently and finished third in a good handicap at the Aintree festival when last seen over hurdles. I think he will be thereabouts again but might be vulnerable of this sort of mark.
Selection: John Constable