The ITV racing team is bringing viewers action from Haydock, Kempton and Ascot this weekend. There are two competitive looking handicaps at Ascot, a Group 3 and handicap at Kempton along with the Group 1 Haydock Sprint Cup being the feature event at the Nort West venue.
The Group 3 September Stakes openings proceedings at Kempton on Saturday and the race winning-most trainer Sir Michael Stoute (Shernazar (1985), Dihistan (1986), Sacrament (1996), Imperial Stride (2005), Modun (2011), Arab Spring (2016) will be looking to upset the apple tart with Crystal Ocean who’s only defeat of the season came at the hands of stablemate Poet’s Word.
The undoubted star of the race is Enable who was last season superstar filly, winning three different Oaks, the King George and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and finally the Prix de L’Arc De Triomphe. It was really the season dreams are made of, which in truth got off to quite an inauspicious beginning when she finished third in a conditions event at Newbury.
Racing fans have been deprived of the pleasure of seeing John Gosden’s stable star since the Arc but if she turns up in the same form as last season, then we are in for a real treat. Frankie Dettori has been eagerly looking forward to reuniting with the daughter of Nathaniel and she hopefully comes back in the same form she signed off in.
The London Mile Handicap is the other highlight on the all-weather surface at Kempton and the form in the race has a really solid look to it, with the first four home in the qualifier just over two weeks ago re-opposing. The winner on that occasion was Honey Man who will once again have the assistance of champion jockey Silvestre De Sousa.
Hakeem, Medieval and Lawmaking were all in behind Honey Man that day and similar comments apply to all of their chances. All of them have been very consistent throughout the year but they don’t have the progressive profile that Simon Crisford’s three-year-old has and he looks the one to beat.
Of the outsiders The Warrior is of most interest, Amand Perrett’s charge is a course and distance winner and was second in the race last year of a ten pound higher mark. He hasn’t been at his best this season but back at his favoured track, The Warrior should outrun his odds.
Selection: Honey Man
Outsider: The Warrior
The Group 3 Superior Mile is the perfect appetizer to the Sprint Cup at Haydock. Sir Michael Stoute’s thrice raced Regal Reality look the standout horse in the race having only tasted defeat once. His latest victory came in a Group 3 event at Goodwood and if he reproduces that run then he should win again.
Of the opposition, Roger Varian’s Emmaus is likely to give the favourite the most to think about. The four-year-old son of Invincible Spirit looked a very smart prospect when beating Donjaun Triumphant in a listed race at Leicester in March. However, following a small break he has run disappointingly on both starts, including when a beaten favourite at Deauville most recently.
The other interesting contender is Clive Cox’s Zonderland who is a proven Group performer. In fact, three of Zonderland’s last five runs have been in Group Ones and he wasn’t beaten far behind Beat The Bank in the Group 2 Celebration Mile. If he can reproduce that run, then he may just regain the winning thread.
The Group 1 Haydock Sprint Cup is the feature race at Haydock and Harry Angel is the hot favourite to win back to back renewals of this six-furlong contest. Clive Cox’s four-year-old bolted in twelve months when landing his second Group 1 of the season and looked like the sprinting world was at his feet.
The son of Kodiac has only been seen twice this season and was seen trailing in a remote eleventh of twelveth at Royal Ascot most recently. However, it transpired that Harry Angel injured himself when leaving the stalls that day and if he’s fully recovered then he really should be winning here.
Many punters like to use statistics when trying to pick a winner and one stat that jumps off the page for this race is that three-year-olds have won the last four runnings. The most likely pretender from the classic generation is James Garfield, who was just chinned by Polydream in the Group 1 Prix Maurice De Gheest when last seen.
A strongly run six furlongs should suit George Scott’s stable star and if he reproduces his Deauville run then he could sneak into the places.
Sir Dancealot has been a revelation this season, winning a brace of Group 2 contest on his last two starts. He also finished fourth in the July Cup earlier in the season and should Harry Angel run below par he’ll be there to pick up the pieces.
Of the seasoned Group 1 performers, James Fanshawe’s The Tin Man must not be forgotten as he is one of the most consistent horses in training and is a dual Group 1 winner. In fact, he’s been placed in the last two runnings of the race and with the man of the moment Oisin Murphy booked, perhaps The Tin Man can get his head in front this year.
Others to consider include Brando, Gustav Klimt and Sands Of Mali.
Selection: The Tin Man
There are two competitive handicaps to enjoy at Ascot in the form of the seven-furlong Cunard handicap where George Scott’s consistent Gilgamesh may get his head in front and in the one mile four furlong Lavazza handicap First Eleven will be looking to resume his progressive profile following a recent flop at the Bahrain Stakes at Newmarket.