“Mud, mud, glorious mud”* would seem to be a highly appropriate headline for today’s action, with the word ‘heavy’ in the going descriptions of all three courses covered by the cameras.

Whether this has been factored into the stable plans is moot (well, it is August) and buying finishing distances might be a shrewd move.

Not surprisingly, there is already a raft of withdrawals, a trend that’s likely to continue, so we are producing an abbreviated Preview today with just a few choice bets which might run and maybe win as well.

That’s the bad news – the good news is that televised racing continues tomorrow and, provided conditions have improved, we’ll be back with a look at Goodwood (again) and the valuable jump meeting at Perth.

Today we start, dear reader, with the meeting at Newmarket, where just the Close Brothers Hopeful Stakes at 2.05 is being shown.

This 6f Listed contest looks a good opportunity for the consistent and classy handicapper Summerghand to attain some well-earned ‘black type’, coming here after its victory in the Stewards Cup at Glorious Goodwood 4 weeks ago. That win was achieved off a mark of 108 and, with all ground seemingly coming alike to this 6-y-o, a win bet at 7-4 is advised.

If there is one horse that might spoil Summerghand‘s party it’s the 3-y-o Ventura Rebel, from the Richard Fahey yard. Although this colt’s two wins have both come on good to firm going, arguably his best form has come with cut, especially his third in the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot. It makes sense, therefore, to have an each way bet on this one at 9-2.

Over at soggy Goodwood the Ladbrokes Handicap at 2.25 still has an each way shape and we like the chances of Battered at 6-1.

Winner of this very race back in 2017 off a mark of 91 (soft) when trained by William Haggas, this 6-y-o has had loads of time off the track since joining Ralph Beckett with just 8 runs in three years. However, two recent runs suggest the old ability remains and, off just 87, it should be backed this afternoon.

The danger should be the mud-loving, Goodwood loving unpronounceable Alemaratalyoun and, on the basis it may spring to life today, we suggest a win ‘cover bet’ at 5-1.

The Ladbrokes March Stakes at 3.00 has a field of just 4, with Braveheart‘s Subjectivist surely too short at 5-4.

We prefer the chances of the Cole Pere et Fils runner Celtic Art, which will relish the hock deep conditions and the step up in trip. At 5-1 this is well worth a bet.

Windsor is the final port of call for a look at the Gallagher Group August Stakes at 2.40, which has a field of six.

Four of the six met in the Group 3 Queens Plate at Glorious Goodwood, with Desert Encounter coming out on top after a very messy race. On today’s going we take Alounak to prevail under SDS and the 7-2 offered seems very fair. A win bet is advised.

Now, where did we put our gumboots.


Summerghand 2.05 Newmarket 4pts win @ 7-4

Ventura Rebel 2.05 Newmarket 1pt e/w @ 9-2

Battered 2.25 Goodwood 1.5pts e/w @ 6-1

Alemaratalyoun 2.25 Goodwood 1pt win @ 5-1

Celtic Art 3.00 Goodwood 2pts win @ 5-1

Alounak 2.40 Windsor 2pts win @ 7-2


* “The Hippopotamus Song” – Flanders & Swann (1956)

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