Top class action from three meetings today, with Haydock our first port of call.
Star attraction of the meeting is the Group 1 Betfair Sprint Cup Stakes at 3.30, in which 14 stand their ground. The anticipated rain has not arrived and the official going has been given as ‘Good to Firm, Firm in places’, which will not suit many of the runners.
One that will be happy, however, is Naval Crown, already a Group 1 winner on fast ground in June and given a short break since a close fifth at Deauville early last month, when the going was good to soft.
Charlie Appleby‘s 4-y-o looks nailed on to be there or thereabouts at the business end and should be backed at 9-2.
The card starts with a penalty kick at 1.15. with Mr Appleby‘s Naval Power trading(?) at 1-3, so we move on to the Betfair Superior Mile Stakes at 1.45 in which we find out whether Reach For The Moon can be re-invented as a miler, having been favourite for the Derby earlier this year.
The close second behind a big, big improver on seasonal debut (over a mile) augurs well for today as does the application of a visor and we take the Mad Italian to steer him home at 5-4.
First of two fierce handicaps is at 2.20 and, despite the four non-runners, it remains a highly competitive affair. We think that each way bets on Adjuvant (6-1) and Open Champion (7-1) will have it covered.
The Old Borough Cup Handicap at 2.55 is another ‘hot’ affair, but although we are loth to desert old friend Euchen Glen, we believe this a good opportunity for the consistent and progressive Contact, which should be backed at 7-2.
We also have to back last year’s winner, Island Brave, which has had a similar preparation, will love the ground and has the services of the much improved Gina Mangan. Take the 12-1 each way.
Down at Ascot, two races are being televised, starting with the National Racehorse Week Handicap at 3.10, won two years ago by Documenting.
Kevin Frost‘s old timer was a good winner for The Preview three weeks ago and is in the form of his life so, with the services of an improving claimer taking off 7lbs we go for a repeat at a tasty 18-1.
The Lavazza Stakes Handicap at 3.45 is notable for five of the eleven runners being owned by Godolphin, but to save you worrying about which colour cap to follow, we go for Frantastic at 7-1.
The Gosden‘s runner steps up in trip (tick), has the pieces on for the first time (tick) and the services of the ultra reliable Robert Havlin (tick) so what’s not to like?
There are also two races on the box from Kempton, starting with the Unibet September Stakes at 2.05. Dubai Honour is the big class dropper in this and will probably win, but, with no AW or trip form, at even money we pass.
At 2.40 we arrive at the final of the Unibet London Mile Series over, er, a mile and this will undoubtedly produce a frantic finish, with horses flying from the back in all directions.
We suggest a minor tickle on Billy Mill at 14-1 and hope for the best.
That’s it for the racing – your cricket double is Oval Invincibles and Trent Rockets in the Hundred finals.
Naval Crown 3.30 Haydock 1.5pts e/w @ 9-2 (4 places)
Reach For The Moon 1.45 Haydock 3pts win @ 5-4
Adjuvant 2.20 Haydock 1pt e/w @ 6-1 (4 places)
Open Champion 2.20 Haydock 1pt e/w @ 7-1 (4 places)
Contact 2.55 Haydock 2pts win @ 7-2
Island Brave 2.55 Haydock 1pt e/w @ 12-1 (4 places)
Documenting 3.10 Ascot 1pt e/w @ 18-1 (5 places)
Frantastic 3.45 Ascot 1pt e/w @ 7-1
Billy Mill 2.40 Kempton 1pt e/w @ 14-1 (4 places)