Paisley Park and Thyme Hill face-off again the pair being among ten declarations for the Grade One Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot. Thyme Hill came out on top at Newbury last month getting 3lb in the weights but they both carry 11-7 this weekend. It makes for a fascinating re-match but I will be watching rather than punting as I think it’s too close to call.
For betting purposes, I am all about the All-Weather at Lingfield Park; not many bookies have priced-up at Friday lunchtime but the best odds are quoted below, you may want to wait till the morning and BOG.
My first bet is at 1.25 in the 6f Heed Your Hunch At Betway Handicap. Brian The Snail and Aberama Gold are both in fair form but neither are likely to be improving and might be in the grip of the handicapper now paying the price for some good recent runs. Premier Power is having just his fifth career start and despite top-weight should have enough improvement left in the tank to take this. A course and distance winner he was beaten in the shadow of the post last time at Kempton by the aforementioned Brian The Snail, the winner getting all the help possible by a strong ride from De Sousa on the long run-in for the six-furlong course there. The selection is a pound better at the weights here today and this tighter track with its shorter run-in should play to his strengths as a front-running chestnut. Hills are the only ones up at the time of writing at 6-4.
The Listed Quebec Stakes is the all-weather feature of the day at Lingfield due off 2.00 over 1m2f. Some decent one's line-up. Kings Command lines-up for Charlie Appleby. A winner of two of his six career starts to date there is a chance of some improvement yet and he has a G.3 win against his name winning the 7f Prix Thomas Bryon on soft ground at Saint-Cloud in October last year following his gelding operation. He could go well at a price. An interesting contender is Sir Michael Stoute’s Sangarius off the back of just the one race this summer having won the G.3 Hampton Court Stakes at Ascot in 2019. Johnny Drama who has blossomed for switching to synthetic surfaces, won the Listed Wild Flower Stakes at Kempton last time out but I can’t help but think a couple in this field might be a little too strong for him. The John Gosden-trained four-year-old Dubai Warrior started his winter campaign with a comfortable success over the course and distance last month in the Listed Churchill Stakes; tipped on here at 4-7. That was his first race back on the Polytrack since he landed the G.3 Winter Derby at the Surrey venue in February - ran on turf once in the summer but this is his game. He has an outstanding chance but has to give a little weight away to some good horses here. Another Andrew Balding runner (also saddles Johnny Drama) and many peoples Epsom Derby fancy last year Bangkok also lines-up. He of course won the Listed Winter Derby Trial back in February but was ultimately only third in the G.3 Winter Derby itself - I tipped him unfortunately. The four-year-old takes a big step down in class from the Group Ones he has been contesting in the Summer - was down the field in the Bahrain International Trophy when last seen. Getting the 3lb from Dubai Warrior may prove crucial and if he can run like he did in the Winter Derby Trial at the end of the last All-Weather season I think he can win this - but then I thought that about the Winter Dery and got it wrong! 9-2 is the best early price on the son of Australia gaining some revenge on Dubai Warrior.
At 3.10 they face 1m4f for the Betyourway At Betway Handicap. Beat The Breeze has notched up a hat-trick this autumn/winter with two wins over ten furlongs at Chelmsford and a C&D victory here 17 days ago. He is creeping up the weights as a result, this requires another career best, and he got all the breaks last time with a gap like Moses parting the seas opening up at the perfect time for him! Tanqeeb has a couple of wins against his name and his two most recent efforts suggest this step-up in trip should now suit the four-year-old. That said I am on the lightly-raced three-year-old Aldrich Bay. Appeared to appreciate the step-up to 1m3f at Kempton last time though needed to be nudged along at times but stayed on well, and that having blown away the cobwebs having been off track for 458 days hopefully he’ll be in a more co-operative mood and he can go in today. 2-1 is available with Hills.
That’s the three for Saturday afternoon.