Sofa jockeys hold on to your hats this Saturday as you are in for a real treat. ITV4 are covering ten races on Saturday, including two races at Ascot transferred from last weekend’s abandoned Betfair Hurdle meeting. Perhaps worryingly for ante-post punters Presenting Percy, jolly for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, will miss his intended outing at Gowran Park this weekend - is something amiss?
They go on their respective Polytrack surfaces at Lingfield Park in the afternoon and Kempton Park in the evening and I am sticking to the All-Weather for my bets. You can make the trip in just under an hour on a good day by car so if you left straight after the last at Lingfield (4.40) in theory you could be at Kempton for the second on their card.
At Lingfield the 5f Betway Sprint Handicap at3.15 is the first of interest to me. Spring Romance is lightly raced really for a 4yo sprinter and did nothing but improve all season last year. Looks the type to keep improving, Dean Ivory is a pretty shrewd trainer, and I have a bit of the 13-8 about the gelding to win this. Two from two over six furlongs here, Adam Kirby gets the leg-up and the fact he won after 6 months off this time last year are all seen as definite pluses.
It’s off to Kempton where they face 6f for the 32Red.com Handicap at 6.15. Treacherous and Choice Encounter like it here and my slight preference is for the three-time course and distance winner. Choice Encounter won off a mark 1lb lower 24 days ago over track and trip and a similar run is hoped for here. Out of stall three Hollie Doyle should be able to get him nicely positioned before proving too strong ion the final furlong. The yard of Archie Watson has been bang in form this week and I have the 9-4.
The 7.15 is two yards shy of two-mile and the grey gelding Grey Britain is fancied to take this. Followed up his 1m4f Wolverhampton victory with an easy success over 16 furlongs at Lingfield a fortnight ago by 1¼ lengths from the re-opposing Watersmeet; no reason to think the 8yo can reverse the form. Adam Kirby was in the saddle for those two victories and rides again for the hat-trick attempt. I am on at 6-4. Spark Plug might be the danger but has to give the selection 3lb.