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Saturday’s ITV Racing tips - Ante-post look at this Saturday’s big races at York, Sandown and Chester

Jonathan Vine 11 Jun 2019
Mekong hacking up to win on heavy ground at Haydock last season.

Our expert takes a look through the ante-post for this Saturday’s televised races at York, Sandown and Chester and highlights a few horses worth backing

Royal Ascot may be the centre of attention in the flat racing world at the moment, but before this year’s Royal meeting rolls around, there’s an entertaining afternoon of action to take in on ITV Racing this Saturday. Three courses share the spotlight, with Listed prizes up for grabs at York and Sandown, as Chester chips in with a couple of entertaining handicaps.

We’ve glanced through the ante-post betting for this weekend’s action and highlighted a few horses who will certainly be worth watching in Saturday’s major races.

Saturday's Ante-Post Tips

York


As rain batters the British Isles throughout the week, York racecourse will bear the brunt of this biblical onslaught, meaning the ground will likely come up on the testing side. MEKONG (2/1 William Hill) is an improving stayer who has shown his best form on rain-sodden turf and it’s easy to see why Sir Michael Stoute’s charge heads the betting for Saturday’s Listed feature.

Mekong has only been out of the places once since the start of 2018, showing consistent form in plenty of high-profile races. Ryan Moore’s mount hacked up through a storm to win a competitive Class Two handicap over this trip at Haydock last season and ran a lovely race on his reappearance, pushing Dee Ex Bee all the way to the line in the Henry VII Stakes at Sandown. Conditions should be perfect for Mekong at the weekend and I’m expecting Stoute’s four-year-old to claim a maiden Listed prize.

Quite a few of the horses sitting prominently in Saturday’s opener will probably come out when the weather takes it’s toll on the track. Brodie Hampson, however, has already been jockey up on SHIP OF THE FEN (10/1 bet365) in the Queen Mother’s Cup and the duo hold significant each-way appeal. Ian Williams' recruit produced a career-best effort on his first start for his new stable, staying on powerfully to claim victory in a competitive handicap and Ship Of The Fen boasts plenty of soft-ground form to bolster his claims.

Get Knotted only ever seems to win here at York and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Michael Dods’ seven-year-old run well again in the JCB Handicap, despite his advancing years. Aljady leads the way in the betting, but there are two I like against the market leader. PRESEDENTIAL (16/1 William Hill) chances in the Victoria Cup were ruined thanks to a sluggish start and I’d be surprise if he didn’t return to something like his best form. TOMMY TAYLOR (18/1 Paddy Power) has slipped down to an appealing mark and boast stacks of good form around this track, including a Listed triumph on soft ground a couple of years back. If he makes the cut, then Tommy Taylor would be my each-way selection.

Dazzling Dan and Moraawed look set to clash for the third time this season in the Pavers Foundation Memorial Sprint and neither can be discounted. Victory Day is totally unexposed and will be in with a shout should he handle conditions. The one I prefer at a much longer price, however, is COSMIC LAW (16/1 bet365), who dropped down the handicap markedly after struggling in high-profile races last season. Richard Fahey’s former Woodcote Stakes winner showed signs of resurgence on his reappearance at Chester and boasts plenty of strong form on soft – a stat which will prove extremely valuable on what will be a soggy Saturday afternoon.

Sandown


The forecast in the London region may be a little less torrential than it is up north this week, but I’d be surprised if the going at Sandown wasn’t on the softer side of good this weekend. That could be enough to turn Saturday’s Scurry Stakes into more of an attritional test than a trial of speed, which could play right into the hands of WELL DONE FOX (8/1 Paddy Power).

Richard Hannon’s charge won three times during a busy two-year-old campaign, including a Listed triumph here at Sandown in the Drogon Stakes. Results drifted as he stepped up into classier company and Well Done Fox finished last on his reappearance in the Pavilion Stakes. The runners in that Group Three finished in somewhat of a heap behind the impressive Calyx that day. This represents a significant drop in class and Well Done Fox has course form and plenty of big-race experience on his side.

Greenside could be a big player in the following one mile handicap. Henry Candy’s course-and-distance winner could well be vulnerable to a better handicapped contender and the one who appeals to me is former French raider BALTIC BARON (9/1 William Hill), who can on nicely to claim second in a competitive handicap on his stable debut and the form he showed in his homeland last term suggests he could be well treated off his current mark of 95.

Chester


Like every good punter should, I will be waiting until the draws have been made before I back any horse running on the Roodee. That being said, LARIAT (8/1 bet365) ran very well over course-and-distance to place second to a useful sort of Ralph Beckett’s called Sam Cooke and, after another decent second behind an odds-on shot at Haydock, he looks especially well-handicapped in Chester’s solitary televised race.

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Saturday’s ITV Racing tips - Ante-post look at this Saturday’s big races at York, Sandown and Chester

Our expert takes a look through the ante-post for this Saturday’s televised races at York, Sandown and Chester and highlights a few horses worth backing on Saturday 15th June

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