Top class racing at Newmarket, York and Chepstow today, but in betting terms, Houston we have a problem.
The 2-y-os take centre stage at Newmarket, with a Listed, a Group 3 and a Group 1 comprising the first half of the card and it is well nigh impossible to make a meaningful comparison between the Irish and the English trained horses.
The Godolphin Flying Start Zetland Stakes at 1.50 is 10-1 bar three and one of those three will probably win it, but pin sticking is something we try to avoid.
The Masar Godolphin Autumn Stakes at 2.25, in the absence of Kadar, looks a straight fight between Mr O’Brien and Mr Fabre, but, again, no way of knowing which will prevail.
And then we come to the Group 1 Darley Dewhurst Stakes at 3.00, in which Too Darn Hot is a shade of odds on. Too short to back, too good to oppose – sorry, no bet.
At 3.40 we get to the Dubai £500,000 Cesarewitch Stakes, worth an amazing £307,250 to the winner, which will be one of the 33 which are due to line up. Willie Mullins is clearly not taking this race seriously, as he has just the seven runners entered, all seemingly with a chance.
Aiden O’Brien has just the one, that being the 3-y-o Southern France, a Group horse running in a handicap, and favourite at 9-2. Winning a handicap off 107 is going to be very hard work and we are going to suggest an each way bet on the Andrew Balding trained Cleonte, which is available at 14-1.
This 5-y-o was our selection when winning at the Shergar Cup meeting and, off just 3lbs higher, we see no reason to desert it today. The horse it beat at Ascot ran away with the Cesarewitch Trial next time out, it stays longer than your mother-in-law and has the assistance of Oisin Murphy from a good draw. With at least 7 places on offer from our friends the bookies, let’s have a lash.
Two of the televised races at York are big field 6f sprints on soft ground – thanks, but no thanks.
The first race, though, at 2.05, namely the Download The Coral App Handicap has thrown up a decent betting opportunity in the shape of Highbrow, which is available at 8-1.
David Simcock‘s 3-y-o has plied his trade in conditions races until his handicap debut last time out. Over 12 furlongs, Frank moved him up smoothly to challenge two out, looking all over the winner but then not getting home.
With the winner going on to win twice since and dropping back in trip today, this represents excellent value at the price, each way naturally.
Main race on the Chepstow card is the (deep breath) Chepstow Contract Rentals 10 Year Anniversary Silver Trophy Handicap Hurdle at 4.45 which has a field of 18.
This is, quite rightly, a 5-1 the field race, but we have a strong preference for the chances of Sneaky Feeling, trained by the rejuvenated Philip Hobbs. Available at 13-2, this 6-y-o beat Bags Groove at level weights in its novice year, that horse now being rated 145. Just two runs last season, when both horse and stable were out of sorts means that SF gets in here off 132, which could be a gift. Dickie is on board, the trainer has a glint in his eye and we will be on in spades – won’t we?
Cleonte 3.40 Newmarket e/w @ 14-1 (8 places)
Highbrow 2.05 York e/w @ 8-1 (4 places)
Sneaky Feeling 4.45 Chepstow e/w @ 13-2 (5 places)