Seven races from Sandown, Beverley and Chester take place in front of the ITV cameras on Saturday – and I’ve got a selection for each and every one.
13:50 Sandown – Tough Enough @ 4/1
“Am I tough enough? Hell yes, I’m tough enough.” I can’t be the only one who was instantly reminded of that iconic Ed Miliband interview, right? Anyway…
As it goes, James Tate’s three-year-old has a steely attitude in his short career so far – especially when getting up late over course and distance (7f) a few weeks ago.
That success marked his third from six starts and earned the son of Showcasing a 4lb rise to a mark of 91. I don’t think that’s enough to stop this highly-progressive type. Connections will certainly be hoping so, for he’ll need to go up again if he’s to take up his entry for the Ayr Gold Cup later this month.
Race conditions suit and with question marks surrounding several of his 10 rivals for this 0-90 handicap on Saturday afternoon, he’s taken to get us off to a flyer under the fantastic Rossa Ryan.
14:05 Beverley – Fulfilled @ 9/2
Beautiful Beverley hosts two live races on Saturday – the first of which is the Silver Cup Handicap over 1m4f.
Eight go to post for this 0-105 affair, and it’s David Simcock’s Fulfilled who gets my vote.
The four-year-old has enjoyed a progressive 13 months or so, rising from a mark of 65 to 82 thanks to three wins and four places from eight runs.
This ultra-consistent type, who gets on really well with jockey Hayley Turner thanks to his preference for being ridden patiently, can make yet another bold bid here.
14:25 Sandown – Heredia @ 4/1
The most lucrative prize on offer this weekend is for the winner of the G3 Atalanta Stakes – a fillies & mares contest over 1m.
John & Thady Gosden’s three-year-old Coppice is almost certainly going to prove popular with punters, but I prefer the claims of Heredia for Richard Hannon.
The four-year-old daughter of Dark Angel has been in great form this term, boasting two standout pieces of form – namely her second to the now 114-rated, Group 2-winning Azure Blue on seasonal reappearance and her latest 3¾ triumph in Listed company at Haydock.
Her two best performances to date have come over this trip and she’s in the form of her life, so I’m backing her to land a first Group success.
14:40 Beverley – Apollo One @ 10/3
Speedsters to the fore in the Beverley Bullet Sprint Stakes, which has attracted seven runners.
Plus all the usual criteria of course, the draw is all-important over the minimum trip here and Apollo One, drawn in stall 2, fits the bill.
The five-year-old comes into this in the form of his life after posting the three highest RPR’s of his career in successive races, culminating in a fantastic second in the 27-runner Stewards’ Cup at Glorious Goodwood last month.
If that horse shows up, he’s going to be tough to beat.
15:00 Sandown – Baltic Voyage e/w @ 14/1
For me, this 14-runner handicap over 1m2f is the toughest puzzle to solve on Saturday. So, with Betfred paying four places rather than three, I’ve gone for one at an each-way price.
That’s Baltic Voyage for Ralph Beckett, who is taken to bounce back from a disappointing effort at Glorious Goodwood.
Prior to that, he’d just comfortably taken a Ripon handicap off a mark of 80 and, despite his mark dropping for each run, looked somewhat progressive.
He’s priced more so on his latest outing than his previous form, so I think it’s worth chancing he rebounds for a yard in red-hot form.
15:20 Chester – Military Order @ 8/13
Let’s keep this one short and sweet.
Charlie Appleby’s three-year-old bombed out in the Betfred Derby back in June and has been given plenty of time to get over it. The fact William Buick has opted to come here instead of Sandown tells me he’s strongly fancied to make amends.
His main rival is Lone Eagle, who probably needs it softer than it currently is, so I envisage this one following the script.
15:38 Sandown – Aablan @ 10/3
Last but certainly not least, I’m suggesting another for the in-form Charlie Appleby/Godolphin team in Aablan for the G3 Solario Stakes that concludes ITV’s coverage.
I was very impressed with his racecourse debut at Newmarket in late July. He showed plenty of ability and promise in beating Whiskey Pete (subsequently placed in a good race at Haydock) and Magsood (won well at Beverley next time out) with the rest of the field over 10L behind.
Aablan boasts entries for the G2 Betfred Champagne Stakes and Royal Lodge Stakes later this month, but most notably he’s Appleby and Godolphin’s only entrant for the G1 Dewhurst Stakes in mid-October.
I think he’ll win this weekend before taking aim at the latter and then, depending how that goes, a tilt towards next year’s 2000 Guineas. No pressure.