Saturday’s ITV tips – 13/1 treble at Newbury and an outsider to back at Ripon
Our expert takes a look at all of Saturday’s televised races, picking out a tasty treble for Newbury and an outsider to back in the Great St Wilfried Handicap at Ripon on Saturday 17th August.
Newbury takes centre stage on Saturday, with the southern venue staging three strong pattern races and a thrilling handicap on Hungerford Stakes day. Ripon racecourse makes a rare appearance on ITV screens too, with a large, competitive field of sprinters set to take part in the Great St Wilfrid Stakes Handicap.
Our expert has teamed three of his tips at Newbury together into this treble with meeting sponsor’s Unibet, while also highlighting an outsider to watch in Ripon’s feature handicap this Saturday.
Saturday’s ITV Treble
1:50pm Newbury Denford Stakes (Listed Race) (formerly The Washington Singer Stakes) 7f
Sun Power brings some decent form into this Listed race and Richard Hannon is a name to be feared around this track. Thunderous is a progressive sort who deserves a step up in class, but I’d be surprised if JUAN ELCANO wasn’t good enough to win this year’s Denford Stakes.
Despite looking green and losing his stride at a crucial stage, Kevin Ryan’s youngster ran an excellent race to push Mystery Power right to the line in the Superlative Stakes. Now, the top guns all under-performed in that race and the form hasn’t worked out particularly well. Yet, both the winner, Mystery Power and third-placed Maxi Boy were handed very difficult tasks at Goodwood – the winner carried a penalty against Pinatubo and Maxi Boy was dropped down to an unsatisfactory trip.
Juan Elcano shaped like he has plenty of improvement left in the tank at Newmarket and this is a marked step down in quality. Kevin Ryan’s striking at around 30% at the moment and Andrea Atzeni will ride the favourite like he’s the best horse in the race – which he probably is.
2:25pm Newbury Unibet Geoffrey Freer Stakes (Group 3) (Class 1) 1m5½f
This race has often been used as a trial for the St Leger, but I can’t see any of the three-year-olds entered – two of which hold entry into that Classic at Doncaster – upsetting the older horses at the head of the market. Sextant has been progressing nicely under the watchful gaze of Sir Michael Stoute, but the deluge of rain that’s due to hit Newbury on Friday pushes the ball even further into MORANDO’S court and he should be classy enough to carry a penalty to victory.
Andrew Balding’s charge proved his class at the start of the season, powering clear of Kew Gardens to win the Ormonde Stakes up at Chester. Morando has dined at the top table since then and largely been found wanting, with a decent fourth behind Defoe in the Hardwicke Stakes his best result.
Last year, Morando dead-heated with hot-favourite, Young Rascal in the St Simon Stakes over course-and-distance. Every millimetre of rain that falls between now and the time of the race will make that price of Evens look longer and longer.
3:35pm Newbury Unibet Hungerford Stakes (Group 2) 7f
Hey Gaman is a high-quality horse over seven furlongs, finishing a close second to Romanised in the Minstrel Stakes and again at Glorious Goodwood, where James Tate’s front-runner was picked off by Sir Dancealot. Hey Gaman will almost certainly cut out the running around one of his favourite tracks and, being drawn in eight, will likely drag the field down onto the stands’ rail. I have my doubts as to whether he’ll be able to hang on from the front when the ground gets testing.
Sir Dancealot followed up his first victory in the Lennox Stakes with an excellent, penalty-carrying victory over Dream Of Dreams in this race last year. David Elsworth’s charge will have to perform similar heroics, but he’s drawn nicely beside Hey Gaman and should run another good race over his favourite trip.
SAFE VOYAGE, in contrast, is not drawn particularly well up in stall three and this will be the first time he’s tackled the straight-mile here at Newbury. While there are question marks as to whether he’ll enjoy this challenge as much as the round track he relishes up at Haydock, there are few better exponents of seven-furlongs when the ground is testing than John Quinn’s six-year-old and I’ll be banking on Safe Voyage bringing this treble home.
Jason Hart’s mount took his game to a whole new level when securing a hat-trick of victories around his beloved Haydock, the last of those coming in the John Of Gaunt Stakes. Safe Voyage then went over to the Curragh to run in the Minstrel Stakes. Although he could only finish third that day, Safe Voyage still ran well, considering the ground that day would have been firmer than ideal.
Like Morando in the preceding race, every drop of rain that falls at Newbury will boost Safe Voyage’s chances. Quinn has only had four runners at this venue over the last five years, but he could return to his Yorkshire stables with the biggest prize pot of the afternoon.
Great St Wilfrid Stakes Selection
The draw has presented a big block of pace on the far side of the track, with Vintage Brut, Lake Volta and Ice Age – who have all been known to cut out the running – drawn together between stalls 13 and 15. This could set the race up perfectly for last year’s runner-up Dakota Gold, but BELATED BREATH, drawn nicely up in 16, could also be on-hand to capitalise.
Hughie Morrison’s filly has been very consistent throughout her career, especially over six furlongs. Her only poor performance this term came over seven in a Listed contest at Chelmsford. Over this trip, Belated Breath hasn’t finished outside the top four in 12 career starts, winning three times in handicaps during 2018.
Since beating Buridan at Windsor off a mark of 85, Belated Breath has finished a close third in two good quality handicaps. Her consistency means she’s now running off a career-high mark of 91. Yet, Belated Breath won on the only occasion she has tackled ground with soft in the description and Saturday’s going could enforce her each-way claims.