Qipco Guineas Festival at Newmarket best bets for the horse racing Saturday plus the Kentucky Derby

The main event this weekend is very much the QIPCO Guineas Festival with the 1,000 Guineas and 2,000 Guineas; my thoughts in full on the two big races can be read on the Classics page. The going at HQ is Good despite some horrid weather at time Friday; it was noticeable yesterday the horses were struggling in the conditions and some were finishing effectively tailed-off. All being well they look set for a couple of drier days Saturday and Sunday but could get rain during racing today. 

ITV will be showing coverage of the big races Saturday and Sunday and there is plenty to get involved with over the Bank Holiday weekend if you choose to up and down the country.

Horse racing at Newmarket on 2,000 Guineas day

A bumper nine-race card gets underway at 1.10 with the Listed 6f William Hill British EBF Ellen Chaloner Stakes; the 2,000 Guineas is off at 3.35. Surprisingly I am not betting at HQ on Saturday other than in the 2,000 Guineas which I have dealt with in the Classics page,

Best bets for the horse racing at Churchill Downs Kentucky Derby meeting

My attention will be across the pond Saturday evening as there are bets to be had at the Kentucky Derby meeting at Churchill Downs and at Saratoga.  

The first race of interest to me is the Grade Two 5½f Twin Spires Turf Sprint Stakes Presented By Sentient Jet at 5.36 our time. Charlie Appleby has Mischief Magic out here for this following his second in the G.2 5½f Shakertown Stakes at Keeneland last month. Too far out the back turning in in that race he flew down the straight to take second, Tyler Gaffalione in the saddle perhaps getting things wrong being a little too far back. The four-year-old will have learnt a lot about racing round the bend in the States and Frankie Dettori takes over in the saddle this evening. I have 11-4. Charlie Appleby said “Mischief Magic has a sensible draw in eight as he’s a horse who needs to be ridden for a bit of luck. He has come out of Keeneland in good shape and a repeat of that performance should make him very competitive.”

Three-year-old son of Sea The Stars Legend Of Time has his first US outing in the 1m½f Grade Two American Turf Stakes at 8.40. He arrives off the back of three dominant wins at Meydan this year, including scoring by nearly five lengths in the Listed Jumeirah Classic. The track here will be tighter than Meydan but he has shown he can run a bend and usually breaks pretty smartly, both attributes that will help him here. Charlie Appleby said said of this one “Legend Of Time is having his first start in North America and it can be a little alien to European horses, but he heads into this in great order. I think the extended mile and course at Churchill is going to suit, and it’s just a question of whether the experience catches him out. We have always thought that we could work backwards from a Belmont Derby or Saratoga Derby, so we would like to see him be competitive here to warrant those plans.” I am on at 7-2.

The Grade One 1m1f Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic Stakes is due off at 10.27 our time. Dirty Dozen member Naval Power runs off the back of his recent second at Keeneland’s Spring Meet behind stablemate Master Of The Seas (tipped on here). I said at the time I remain convinced a longer trip is where we will see the best of him and that run looked a bit of a sighter to see how he went in the States on a tight turning track. Well there was no disgrace in coming second to the Breeders Cup Mile winner over eight-furlongs and he made goo late progress going past the rest of the field but not troubling the winner. There’s nothing of that class in this and the extra furlong is clearly a positive. His trainer Charlie Appleby said this week “Naval Power has definitely come forward since the Maker’s Mark Mile and the step back up in trip should suit. We are drawn widest in 11 but he was slowly away at Keeneland and, if he does it again, it should give Frankie [Dettori] options. It’s not an ideal gate but probably better than being down on the inside if he were to break slowly. He has the right man on board and goes into this in good nick.” I am on at 9-4.

Best bets for the horse racing at the Belmont at the Big A meeting

Ottoman Fleet bids to capture the Grade Two 1m1f Fort Marcy Stakes, due of at 9.39, for a second year with the nine-furlong turf feature switching to Aqueduct this year due to the redevelopment of Belmont Park. The five-year-old swooped from the rear to score by nearly two lengths 12 months ago before returning to Belmont Park the following month to take third in the G.1 Manhattan Stakes. Following three appearances at Meydan over the winter, including finishing second in the G.1 Jebel Hatta, Ottoman Fleet kicked off his European season with a repeat victory in the G.3 Earl Of Sefton Stakes at Newmarket’s Craven meeting. His trainer Charlie Appleby said: “Ottoman Fleet shipped over well and goes into this on the back of a good win in the Earl Of Sefton Stakes. He ticks a lot of boxes and looks certain to be a player. Richie [Mullen] won on him last year and it’s great to have him back in the saddle. Hopefully, they can repeat what they achieved 12 months ago.” Only BET365 have priced up early at 11-8 so I will shop about later.

Be lucky