There is plenty to enjoy this weekend with Ascot taking centre stage here in the UK plus the Irish Gold Cup out at Leopardstown in the Emerald Isle on Saturday with a strong supporting card; sadly the all to predictable long odds-on shots in a couple of the big races. On Sunday we have the Irish Champion Hurdle on another big card at Leopardstown along with three other Grade One's.
Best bets for the horse racing at Lingfield Park
With all the big names in the Jumps game that are out this weekend the meeting at Lingfield on the Polytrack could almost go unnoticed but they have a couple of races there that I am getting involved in with the All-Weather Championships in mind. At 2.26 we have the Listed 6f BetUK Kachy Stakes an All-Weather Championships Fast-Track Qualifier. Fivethousandtoone is one that's been on my radar for some time now but despite his reputation at Andrew Baldings yard he has never reached the heights hoped for. Summerghand has to be shortlisted. I tipped him when he won the Listed Golden Rose Stakes over track and trip in November and despite having to give weight to his rival because of that win he has every chance. I wondered if we might not see him until Finals day the Golden Rose Stakes being a FTQ but here he is. Connections may feel they have unfinished business with the race as he was sixth when he ran in it in 2021, jumping at the start and never in it; he of course won the All-Weather Sprint Championships Conditions Stakes over the six here later that season. I am on the nine-year-old at 5-1 best price guaranteed this morning.
Next up at 3.01 is the Listed mile Spreadex Sports Tandridge Stakes, the second All-Weather Championships Fast-Track Qualifier on the card. Manaafith is five from fie in the All-Weather, once over C&D, but the filly takes a step-up in class here and though improvement is likely still she has over a stone to find on some of these rivals. Sir Busker hasn't be seen on the All-Weather since 2020 but when you consider the company he was keeping last year has to be shortlisted as does Tempus who has done nothing but improve since join Archie Watson and was also tried at the top-table last last season. The seven-year-old goes well fresh, won over the trip at Newcastle last season after 435 days off the track on stable debut, and another tilt at the All-weather Mile Championships Conditions Stakes looks on the cards; faded out of contention on Finals day last year. Surprisingly, this is his first try on Polytrack, all his runs on the All-Weather have been on Tapeta, but I think he can get a nice plot early here from stall three prove too good for this field and qualify for the final. I am on at 11-4 best price guaranteed this morning.
Best bet for the horse racing at Kempton ParkCharlie Appleby has two entered in the 6.00 at Kempton, Veil Of Shadows makes debut with the other being Spring Promise. She is a half-sister to the stable's G.1 winner Naval Crown and despite running green showed plenty of ability when finishing second of eight over a mile at Lingfield in January. James Doyle has shuttled back from Dubai to ride and she should prove to good for this line-up unless her stable-mate or other debutant Queen Regent, owned by Qatar Racing, turn out to be flying machines. I have the 4-5 again BPG.
Best bet for the horse racing at Leopardstown SundayMy ante-post each-way punt for the Sky Bet Supreme Novices Hurdle High Definition goes in the Grade One Tattersalls Ireland Novice Hurdle over two-miles at 3.40. He will meet favourite for the Festival, and odds-on here, Facile Vega and it will be fascinating to see how they both go. In truth the jumping of High Definition left a bit to be desired on his hurdling debut here back in December but he was an easy enough winner in the end and should improve chunks for that experience. Worse case scenario I expect him to follow the jolly home and have a bit of 17-2 each-way (first two) that I took on Friday with Hills. Hopefully after this it is next stop Cheltenham.