Newbury‘s fixture is the feature meeting of a slightly low key Saturday, with two Group races sandwiching the usual unfathomable handicap.
The Ladyswood Stud Hungerford Stakes at 3.35, a Group 2 over 7f sees Librisa Breeze attempt to atone for an unlucky second in the race last year. The suspicion with this horse is that 6f is its optimum trip and for that reason, we pass.
Worthy favourite for the race is AO’B‘s runner Gustav Klimt, who is unbeaten over this distance (3 from 3) and usually plies his trade (honourably) in Group 1 contests. Last seen finishing a close fourth in the Sussex Stakes, it’s hard to find any negatives and this 3-y-o should be backed at 9-4.
The Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Geoffrey Freer Stakes at 2.25, a Group 3 over 13+ furlongs has a field of seven, after the defection of the no-hoper Jet Streaming, which is annoying to say the least.
Favourite for this race is Charlie Appleby‘s improving handicapper Hamada, unbeaten in three this season and now off a mark of 107 after a 7 length demolition job in a Newmarket handicap 5 weeks ago.
However, we think this is Algometer‘s day and advise an each way (¼ odds) bet at 6-1. Unbeaten at Newbury (2 – 2) David Simcock‘s 5-y-o always comes to hand at this time of year and did so this year with a close second in a Longchamp Group 2 a month ago. Back on his favourite track and with ideal ground conditions, this must be the value punt.
The Laurent-Perrier Handicap at 3.00 over 7f has a field of 16 and, with the bookies paying five places, we have no hesitation in advising an e/w bet on Squats at 7-1.
Not much form to speak of this year yet, but that was the same a year ago, when dear old Squats put its best hoof forward and won this race under the fragrant Georgia Cox, coincidentally at 7-1. That was off a mark of 95 and today the mark is 87, so there you have it.
Ripon plays host at 3.15 to the William Hill Great St Wilfrid Handicap, with a field of 20 scattering all over the track in pursuit of the £46k+ first prize. These sprints are, frankly, rarely a serious betting proposition, but as there is one horse in here that is weighted to beat over 75% of the field, on recent form, we’ll give it a speculative go. Notwithstanding our policy of “if you can’t pronounce it, you can’t back it”, have a throw away each way bet on Al Qahwa at 14-1.
You heard it here first.
Gustav Klimt 3.35 Newbury win @ 9-4
Algometer 2.25 Newbury e/w @ 6 -1 (2 places)
Squats 3.00 Newbury e/w @ 7-1 (5 places)
Al Qahwa 3.15 Ripon e/w @ 14-1 (5 places)