With a bumper weekend of Group 1 action now behind us, it’s back to slightly more normal matters.
While the status of many of this weekend’s races are maybe a grade lower than last time, they do offer us plenty of betting options across both Friday and Saturday, Newbury in particular looking hot.
The Ayr Gold Cup takes centre stage north of the border, but further south we kick off in Berkshire with a potential Derby horse looking to overturn the favourites on Friday.
Friday 18th September 2020
3.40 Newbury (Conditions Stakes) – MEGALLAN
This looked a strange betting heat late on Thursday as the market began to settle down. Of the five runners, four are very close in the market with Yibir being the one for money after coming in from 3/1 to 2/1.
While the Godolphin runner looks like an improving young horse, he isn’t really at the level yet that should make him favourite ahead of Baradar or Jumby, let alone Megallan who is the selection at a fair price.
Fancied by some for next year’s Derby, Anthony Oppenheimer’s Kingman colt made an impressive debut before perhaps not being suited by the all-weather track last time at Kempton. John Gosden’s representative is potentially top class and will appreciate conditions here this time under a jockey in Martin Harley who is very belatedly getting some good chances.
4.15 Newbury (Dubai Duty Free Cup Stakes – Listed Race) – JOVIAL
This is an interesting seven-furlong Listed event, one in which several crack types at the distance are out in Glorious Journey and D’Bai, both representing Charlie Appleby. Those two are strong of course, though the former may prefer things softer underfoot while the latter has just lost form a little bit.
The once top class Jash has plenty to prove now having never got back to his two-year-old form, and it remains to be seen just how good the 2000 Guineas sixth Kinross is over this distance.
The one who stands out at the weights however is Sir Michael Stoute’s young filly Jovial. In similar conditions to this, she was a close second in a Listed race already this term and she should appreciate the way things look here.
She has bags of improvement to come and her stable is in top form too, giving us plenty of reason to believe she can improve past the main players in the market for this event under Ryan Moore.
Saturday 19th September 2020
1.40 Newbury (World Trophy Stakes – Group 3) – LAZULI
I’m a big fan of Charlie Hills’ Equilateral and it would be great to see him win this race, however his standout run behind Battaash when he was second in the King’s Stand was achieved at least in part because of his stablemate who dragged him along and in lesser company he may just about run his usual race.
His usual level is still decent, but perhaps is not high enough to repel a real improving sprinter and in Lazuli he may have met his match now.
Charlie Appleby’s three-year-old ran a blinder to open up and win the Scurry Stakes a few runs back, and now he has conditions to suit we should see him reach a new level under William Buick. He really could be going places at this trip and it would be disappointing if he failed again with no reasonable excuse this time. Wise Words is best of the rest.
2.50 Newbury (Legacy Cup Stakes – Group 3) – ELARQAM
Mark Johnston’s Elarqam has had loads of chances, but he has also put in several top-level performances over the past few seasons and remains of interesting from a betting point of view.
Despite not winning any of his last five, he’s been a close third to Japan in the Juddmonte and second to Lord North at Haydock while he is a former winner of four Pattern events.
In the case of this race, a small four-runner affair, it’s possible that Jim Crowley will be able to bounce him out and attempt to make all which is what I can see him doing. The other three all seem of a similar ability all things considered; Extra Elusive, Desert Encounter and Gifts Of Gold all hopefully fighting it out for second.
3.25 Newbury (Mill Reef Stakes – Group 2) – ALKUMAIT
We’re taking a bit of a chance here in this juvenile Group 2, but at smaller stakes it could well prove to be worth it when siding with Marcus Tregoning’s son of Showcasing.
A number of those at the top of the market appear to want softer ground than what is on offer here, including Fivethousandtoone, Rhythm Master and Bahrain Pride. This could leave Line Of Departure and Devilwala as the biggest challengers among those higher up in the betting, but this Alkumait is worth chancing.
Fourth on debut, this horse always looked an improving type and in fact did register a good time figure on debut. Unsurprisingly, he won next time out at Glorious Goodwood and looked impressive. He’s been left alone for the best part of two months and will be a different animal now, something we can take advantage of at around the 16/1 mark.
4.50 Ayr (Handicap) – MAKE MY DAY
Ralph Beckett brings just a couple of his horses up to Ayr from Hampshire on Saturday and the trip could be rewarded by Make My Day winning this one mile, five furlong handicap.
A lightly-raced four-year-old, Make My Day is a former John Gosden horse who was gelded before heading off to Beckett and began his career there by landing a mile-and-a-half handicap at York in good style.
He was beaten last time over an unsuitable two miles, but he is undoubtedly still improving overall and should handle the likely conditions absolutely fine to rack up a third win in 6 starts. Rob Hornby rides.
All five of his rivals are capable of mounting challenges in what looks a particularly tight race, with Andrew Balding’s three-year-old Bronze River arguably being the best of them under Oisin Murphy.