Although the jumpers take centre stage at Sandown on their impressive looking season-ending card, the Flat action provides us with some better betting opportunities and so we’re sticking with races on the level this week.
Doncaster, Haydock and Leicester are the venues for our punting forays on Saturday with some good value to be had, especially in the handicaps.Embed from Getty Images
2.05 Haydock – LUALIWA
Although I find the sharp drop in price for Karl Burke’s Mijack interesting since betting opened during the week, I feel that the Newmarket winner has a few pounds to find with fellow four-year-old Lualiwa and its Kevin Ryan’s horse who is taken to outpoint him and score.
The seven furlong trip on this sort of ground seems ideal for Lualiwa and even the 7lb rise from the handicapper is not too much of a negative following what was a very easy win at Musselburgh first time up this season.
It was a much improved performance in East Lothian but having scored in decent races at Chester and York last season I don’t believe it’s a flash in the pan and that he could be simply moving up the ranks as plenty of 4yo’s do.
3.20 Leicester – KING’S PROCTOR
We may see a battle between two of the top five trainers in the country here as Andrew Balding’s Aiya goes for the hat-trick but may be denied by Mark Johnston’s runner, King’s Proctor.
Ayia has been doing his winning on the all-weather and I can’t help noticing the dramatic improvement he showed having left the turf behind, something which must be a worry for connections here.
King’s Proctor however won a Nottingham maiden race nicely last back end he was sent off at just 4/1 for a novice event at Windsor where he was beaten fully 14 lenghts – however that was on heavy ground and the only horse ahead of him that day was John Gosden’s Sevenna Star.
They called the gap a fluke but as I write this I am watching Sevenna Star score in the Group 3 Classic Trial making him now a potential Derby contender.
I believed the figures delved out at Windsor severely underestimated the race as it was felt Sevenna Star beat nothing that day – hopefully King’s Proctor will prove here that wasn’t the case.
A son of Cape Cross, trained by Mark Johnston, owned by Sheikh Hamdan (the younger) and ridden this time by Ryan Moore, King’s Proctor really does have an enviable equine profile and would be a popular winner.
4.15 Haydock – HIGH ACCLAIM
Roger Teal’s four-year-old used his match fitness to his considerable advantage when scoring in Doncaster’s Spring Mile last time out and a look at his profile overall shows a horse still improving steadily.
This is slightly less competitive, he can do a little better and his rise of 5lbs is not the millstone some would think so he may well go off a value second favourite behind Gulf Of Poets, though a back to form Masham Star would present just as big a danger in my humble opinion.
6.45 Doncaster – FRONTISPIECE
Some believed Sir Michael Stoute’s yard to be out of form after a few disappointing results on paper, however Crystal Ocean’s win in the Gordon Richards Stakes would appear to have banished those fears and as such it would seem we can trust another of his four-year-olds to do the business here.
Traditionally, horses of that age trained by Sir Michael come on even more than usual from their 3yo season and it would seem he has found a good opportunity to train another winner for the Queen in what has already been a celebratory week for the Royal family.
Frontispiece’s best performance last season came over 1m2f on soft ground so there are no worries regarding the conditions, a rating of 88 seeming to underestimate the Shamardal colt somewhat in the handicap too so he must go well.
He can score under Pat Dobbs at the main expense of Andok and the race-fit Sputnik Planum.