It's a slightly strange weekend ahead with a fair bit of horse racing across the globe. I am getting involved, but not necessarily in the races you might expect.
Ascot is the main card here in the UK with the Betfair Ascot Chase the main event, I have decided to watch rather than punt in that one - I want Shishkin to show he’s back to his best but can’t back him over a new trip after his recent problems. We also have a big meeting out in Qatar at Doha with the H H The Amir Trophy the big race out there with a few names you will recognise on the card.
Best bets for the Horse racing at Doha
I will start out in Qatar at Doha as they are underway in the morning our time; a little horse racing with a late breakfast will be the order of the day at Triple G Towers.
As I am settling down with the bacon and eggs we have the mile Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Cup (Local Group 2) at 10.00am. Order Of Australia and Tempus are two names you will recognise immediately and they have to be considered as does Duhail who was with Andre Fabre up until last summer. Order Of Australia is too short for me, yes he has the best form in the race but looked to be going backwards to me last season. Tempus had a pipe-opener at Lingfield earlier this month, I tipped him when fourth in a messy Listed heat - they went too hard early and the two off the pace finished first and second. He's capable of winning a race like this and might just have the fitness edge on his rivals. I am on at 6-1.
At 11.35 they have the Al Rayyan Mile (Local Group Two) on Turf and it has a real cosmopolitan feel to it with a number trying the trip for the first time. Kerinda, who used to be with Michael Bell, is one to consider getting the fillies allowance whilst Alzahir, sent over by the Gosdens, will surely appreciate the step-up in trip and is also considered. Legend Of Xanadu was busy last year with Micky Channon and also could be in the mix; Ryan Moore onboard is an eye catching booking. Local hope Bariloche had a few of these behind when getting up late over 7f here in December and is no forlorn hope. Courageous Knight is in for Godolphin and may pick up some decent prize-money off the back of his fifth placed finish on his seasonal return in the 7f Jumeirah Classic Trial at Meydan in January. Stall 16 hasn’t helped his chances but he looked to be crying out for a little further at Meydan and if he hadn’t found quite so much trouble up the home straight may have got up there. QWilliam Buick will have to be at his best early but if he is this one can go to the team from Moulton Paddocks. I have 3-1.
The big one is the 1m4f H H The Amir Trophy (Local Group One) on Turf at 1.15. The lads from Ballydoyle have sent a couple in the shape of Broome and Stone Age and both must be respected naturally. Stone Age was sent here, there and everywhere last season but could not gain that G.1 win. He will be the jolly but that’s more on reputation in my eyes and he may come up short again here. Broome also clocked up the air miles in 2022 but had just the one victory to show for it in the G.2 Hardwicke Stakes at Ascot. Russian Emperor over from Hong Kong would have to be shortlisted and can pocket a fair bit of prize-money by making the places. Charlie Appleby has sent Warren Point for the race as the four-year-old looks to complete a hat-trick of wins in different countries. He was last seen winning the the Listed His Royal Highness Prince Salman Bin Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa Cup in Bahrain earlier this month having won the Listed Raven Roofing Floodlit Stakes at Kempton at the end of October last year prior to that. From Surrey via Bahrain to Qatar, that can’t be a road much traveled by a racehorse before! Charlie Appleby said: “Warren Point comes here following a good win in Bahrain and is proven over this mile and a half trip. He is a versatile horse who will be fine on quick ground, while he has a good draw in five. While he has a bit to find with some of his rivals on official ratings, he is a horse with an upward profile, which will hopefully make him very competitive.” William Buick is of course in the saddle and as a lightly raced improving four-year-old I am on the son of Dubawi at 3-1.
Best bet for the Horse racing at Lingfield Park
The main race on the All-Weather on Saturday is the 7f It's Time To Turn To talkSPORT EBF Fillies' Conditions Stakes at 2.48. Vadream lines-up taking a slight step-up in distance having been campaigned over six-furlongs for the last 18-months and a step down in class into a conditions race. She never got involved in the Listed Kachy Stakes over six here earlier this month but should have too much in the locker for this field. She's rated at least 13lb superior to her rivals on official ratings and even though Charlie Fellowes' G.3 winner has to shoulder a 5lb penalty she looks to have a great opportunity to get back in the winners enclosure. I am a little concerned about Jamie Spencer in the saddle but with only four runners even he can’t find trouble running on late in this can he? I am on at 11-10.
Best bet for the Horse racing at Wincanton
The main event at Wincanton is the Grade Two two-mile Wincanton Jennings Bet Kingwell Hurdle at 3.12. First Street was just ahead of Knappers Hill (third and fourth) with I Like To Move It in sixth in the 2m4f G.2 Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham on New Years day. Knappers Hill led from the start over track and trip to win the G.2 Elite Hurdle in November and might be able to do the same here in this small field; he of course also won a Novice Hurdle over C&D in 2021 as well. I am not convinced he saw out the 2m4f at Cheltenham, this is his trip, and he clearly likes the two-miles round here. I expect to see the seven-year-old and Bryony Frost lead from the off and make every yard. I am on at 15-8.