It’s a busy weekend of horse racing not just here in the UK but worldwide; you could lose 12-hours to the game this Saturday if you so desired! I am trying to be a little more selective than that and my weekend bets follow including a look at a big card in France on Sunday.
Benbatl was a losing ante-post punt for me at Goodwood in the G.2 Celebration Mile last weekend when the British summer weather turned the ground heavy and I didn’t even get a run for my money! The six-year-old was also entered in the mile Group Three Betfair Superior Mile Stakes on the card at Haydock due off at 1.45 and on paper looked an even bigger certainty! I was nearly tempted by the ante-post 7-2 but Saeed Bin Suroor did say before the Goodwood meeting that if he didn’t run at Goodwood the Group Two Joel Stakes at Newmarket that he won last year would be the likely target and that is where we are likely to see him next. It is actually quite an open looking affair now with only eight runners. The grey three-year-old Khaloosy gets the allowances and could have more to give yet returning to what would appear to be his favoured softer underfoot conditions. Beaten on firm going at Goodwood in a G.3 he appeared to love getting his toe-in when winning the Britannia Stakes at the Royal meeting. A chance is taken with the Roger Varian trained colt at 11-4. I tipped up Dark Vision when he won at Pontefract but he ran no sort of race at York last time (tipped him again) and I can’t see him being able to give the younger generation the weight here.
I have backed Al Dabaran a couple of times in his career including last time when third in the G.3 Bahrain Trophy Stakes at HQ in July. He drops in grade for the Best Odds On The Betfair Exchange Handicap over 1m6f at 2.15 still at Haydock. Third in the Queens Vase at Ascot before that run the form of that race hasn’t worked out too bad! He has to give away chunks of weight but wants the going and I think Charlie Appleby is trying to get his charge a little confidence boosting win here. Get on at 5-1.
Haydock is the main meeting on Saturday but come 2.35 all eyes will be on the Polytrack at Kempton for the 1m4f Group Three Unibet September Stakes. Enable will have her Arc prep in the race as she did back in 2018 when she beat Crystal Ocean before going on to win the big one. With the greatest of respect to the opposition she looks as good a good thing as you will see in a long-time and is long odds-on.
Race of the day is the Group One Betfair Sprint Cup over the six furlongs at Haydock due off at 3.25. Triple G Dirty Dozen member Art Power goes having disappointed last time at York in the 5f Nunthorpe and I didn’t back him that day stating I think six furlongs is his strength. He has something to prove now but at the right trip (I think) and with no concerns about the softer ground, his three turf wins all on softer going, he may get his career back on the up here. Silvestre De Sousa has talked of how he simply wasn’t right at York, saying "Even going down to the gate he was very switched off, like a mile-and-a-quarter horse, I just felt he wasn't himself." He was too bad at York and can be forgiven a bad run. Ideally, I'd like to get on as the last few go in to make sure all looks well, and that is what I will probably try and do. He is available at around 7-1 as I write.
It’s the 146th running of the 1m2f Grade One Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs this weekend. Tiz The Law arrives on a winning streak as they say Stateside and will be odds-on. Post time is 7.01 p.m. eastern time apparently which equates to 12.01am Sunday morning here I believe. I should also mention that on Friday evening, 10.45pm or time, it is the Kentucky Oaks across the pond at Churchill Downs but Gamine looks another good thing and is also odds-on!
As we have wandered into Sunday, I will take a peek at the action in France. It could be a cracker of a Group One Prix du Moulin over the mile at Longchamp on Sunday with a small field of six but it is six of the best! For the Classic generation lining-up we have Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Siskin and French 2000 Guineas winner Victor Ludorum plus Pinatubo looking to get back to the top of the rankings for his age, at least in Europe. For the older generation lining-up will be last year’s first and second, the Aidan O’Brien-trained Circus Maximus and Ken Condon’s Romanised plus last year’s French Guineas winner Persian King. Charlie Appleby left it late before firming up riding plans for Pinatubo in France on Sunday with all the red tape involved with Covid these days but Horse Racing Ireland have tweaked the protocols, very much with Irish Champions Day in mind no doubt, and it looks like James Doyle will get the leg-up. Appleby said "We have looked at the logistics of it all and hopefully how it’s going to work out. James is going to France on Sunday to ride Pinatubo, who he knows equally as well as William. James rode him during the week and was very pleased with him.” I liked the way Pinatubo won at Deauville in the 7f G.1 Jean Prat and I honestly think he is the best of the crop despite the early season disappointments. Getting the weight from his elders he looks a good bet to me though I would have liked bigger than 5-4 but I have taken it on Friday with Betfair.
So, there you have it, my four suggested bets for a very busy weekend of horse racing.