Wokingham Handicap Betting Tips Royal Ascot 6f Saturday

Roger Charlton

Roger Charlton’s Huntsmans Close satisfies many of the criteria. This 5yo Elusive Quality gelding ran a blinder on his reappearance at Newmarket seven weeks ago.

Unfortunately our selection for The Kings Stand, Meccas Angel was withdrawn because of the fast ground, but our E.W. Suggestion, Muthmir, ran a fine race, to get within a head and a neck of the winner. Let’s hope that we can improve on this in Saturday’s cavalry charge, otherwise known as the Wokingham Stakes at Royal Ascot. Invariably run at a cracking pace ( often won in a faster time than the preceding Group1 Diamond Stakes), it takes an animal of serious potential to collect. Four or five year olds have the best recent record, winning thirteen of the last fifteen renewals. Two six year olds have obliged, Baltic King,(2006) and Dandy Boy (2012). Weight is no bar to success as six of the last ten winners have carried 9st 2lbs or more. Indeed Baltic King humped 9st 10lbs to win in 2006 four days after finishing sixth in the Kings Stand. Good recent form has been shown by nine of the last ten winners, the exception being Laddies Poker, who won landing a gamble, on his reappearance.

Roger Charlton’s Huntsmans Close satisfies many of the criteria. This 5yo Elusive Quality gelding ran a blinder on his reappearance at Newmarket seven weeks ago. Running off a mark of 94 he went down by a short head to Eastern Impact in a class2 handicap (6f Gd-fm) recording an eye catching time figure. A winner of his previous race ( Ayr 6f Gd-fm Sep14) of a mark of 87 he has clearly progressed over the winter, and must have serious prospects of defying his new rating of 98 on Saturday. One for the short list!

The French trained 6yo Robert le Diable, has been runner up in his last three races, two of them at group level. He went down by 2L to the speedy Meccas Angel over 5f in a group3 at Longchamp on May10 (Gd-sft) and three weeks later at the same venue, again in a group3, was beaten a sh hd on good ground. An ability to get 7f is a definite plus in big 6f Ascot handicaps so it would be no surprise to see this classy Gallic challenger involved at the business end at the weekend.

Mike Murphy’s 5yo gelding, Discussion to Follow, if the forecast is correct, should have a lot going for him on Saturday. Probably better suited by 6f, he won here over 5f on fast ground last July. He ran far too freely on his reappearance at Newmarket (May30 6f gd-fm) and faded into sixth place, but a reproduction of his form at the Curragh last September would bring him into the picture. He finished 3L behind Watchable, and now meets him on 9lbs better terms. He also meets his Goodwood conqueror, Intrinsic, on 5lbs better terms, and this lightly raced animal is beginning to look well handicapped, and could well have something to say at the finish.

Watchable himself, particularly in the light of Goldreams win in Tuesday’s King Stand, is likely to prove a danger to all. He ran a great race on his reappearance, going down by 1/2L to the top class Astaire, in a 6f Group3 at Newmarket and again ran well when finishing 3L behind Goldream over an inadequate 5f in another Group3 at headquarters sixteen days later. He has been placed on both course appearances, handles fast ground, and in the hands of his hugely talented trainer has an awful lot going for him at the weekend.

Niall Moran’s 5yo Dark Angel entire, Don’t Bother Me is of interest. He ran well in this last year, when a running on seventh, he was beaten less than four lengths off a mark of 98. He put up another fine performance on the track over seven furlongs six weeks later, again off 98, going down by 1L to Heavy Metal, with Watchable rated 103 a neck back in third. As he meets the O’Meara runner on 4lbs better terms he does look well handicapped. However he has to show that he can run to the same level over 6f, and unless there is plenty of rain it seems doubtful.

Selection: Huntsmans Close.

E.W: Watchable.

Victoria Cup Racing Tips 7f Ascot Saturday

Jamie Spencer Speculative Bid

Jamie Spencer, who is riding so well at the moment, is doing the steering on Speculative Bid and could go close.

Our suggestion for the 2000gns, Gleneagles, did us proud last week winning at the rewarding odds of 4/1, but I have to admit that Saturday’s wide open Victoria Cup, presents a much thornier problem to solve. As only two horses above the age of five have managed to win in the past decade, sticking to four or five year olds, is probably advisable.

Winning, or at least going close at the specialist distance of 7f has been essential, as has good recent form. Top weights have a particularly poor record, which enables us to leave Hughie Morrison’s Chill The Kite out of the picture.

One that catches the eye, with the evergreen Kieran Fallon in the plate, is the Michael Attwater trained 5yo entire, Professor. A course and distance winner in May 2013, He also ran a blinder at the course last June when finishing second off a mark of 108 in a Cl2 handicap over 6f. Racing on Saturday off 102 He doesn’t look badly treated, and is one for the short list.

Another course and distance winner, is the Jeremy Noseda trained Outback Traveller. He hosed up over course and distance in a 3yo handicap last October off a mark of 93, and showed what progress had been made over the winter, when just collared in the final stride by Speculative Bid, on his reappearance on the Kempton A.W over seven furlongs off a mark of 105. Just 2lbs higher, and 1lb better off with Speculative Bid at the weekend, this very progressive animal is another to consider.

Speculative Bid is himself clearly progressive and comes strongly into the argument on the Kempton form. He has now won his last two races, both over 7f, strongly suggesting that this is ideal distance, so with Jamie Spencer, who is riding so well at the moment, doing the steering, He is another to consider.

The Ed Dunlop trained 4yo Zarwaan gives the impression that Saturday’s trip might well suit. He was quietly fancied for the Lincoln, and ran a fine race to finish sixth, but didn’t seem to quite get home. He also ran well over the track in a 1ml 30 runner handicap, finishing a highly creditable fifth, only 2L behind the winner, off a mark of 101. His runs in the Lincoln, and at Ascot demonstrate his ability to cope with the demands of a large field handicap so off a mark of 102 his chance has to be respected.

Another course and distance winner is the Richard Fahey trained 5yo Heavens Guest, who showed his wellbeing when cozily taking a Thirsk conditions event three weeks ago. His course and distance win was back in 2013, but he put up another fine performance last October when finishing third, off Saturday’s mark off 105 over course and distance. With the very useful 5lb claimer Jack Garrity riding on Saturday, He is one to keep an eye on.

David O’Meara’s 5yo So Beloved ran a fine race on his reappearance in a Thirsk handicap three weeks ago, when going down by 1/2L to One Word More. As he meets the winner on a pound better terms there should be very little between them at the weekend, but it is interesting that So Beloved is stable jockey Tudhope’s selection from the yards three entries.

Peter Chapple-Hyam’s 5yo Buckstay, was backed in to favourite in a 1ml Newbury handicap last time out, but got no sort of run, and as a result gets to race off the same mark of 94 here. His previous 2nd at Doncaster was a run full of promise, and did suggest that He would not be inconvenienced by a drop back to 7f.

Selection: Speculative Bid.

E.W: Zarwaan.

Ladbroke Handicap Hurdle Betting Tips Ascot

Nick Henderson race horse trainer.

Our racing guru fancies Nicky Henderson’s Sign of a Victory to go close in Saturday’s Ladbroke Handicap Hurdle.

Since its inception in 2001 there have been only nine renewals of this highly competitive race at its Ascot venue. It was abandoned in 2009 and 2010 due to snow, and was run elsewhere in 2004 and 2005 due to course redevelopment. Nicky Henderson has been the most successful trainer with three wins. Five year olds have been the winning most age group with five successes. Two six year olds, one seven year old, and one four year old have also hit the back of the net. This stat may be a little misleading as four year olds have been very much to the fore in recent runnings. The market hasn’t been a great guide with only one favourite (Henderson’s Jack The Giant 2007) obliging, and two 25/1 shots winning.

Harry Fry’s 4yo Activial leads the market at 5/1 having been backed in from twice these odds since last weekend. He was a convincing winner of the Adonis hurdle at Newbury last Febuary, but then disappointed in his next engagement at Aintree in April where he was probably unsuited by the sharp track. However the Newbury form has worked out well with the runner up Commissioned ( beaten 3 1/2L ) winning twice this season, achieving a rating of 140, making Activial’s Mark of 137 on Saturday, look rather generous. His lack of a recent pipe opener and indeed experience ( has had only 3 hurdle races), may count against him, but with the very talented Mr Fry in charge and carrying the nice racing weight of 10st10lbs he is short listed.

With his three previous winners Nicky Henderson certainly knows what is required, so his very promising 5yo Sign of a Victory is worth serious consideration. In only his fifth race over hurdles ( Ascot 2ml. Nov1 ) he came home on the bridle in what was a truly run race,of a mark of 139. He has been raised what appears a quite harsh 11lbs to 150 but it will be no surprise if he ends the season racing off a considerably higher mark. Ground conditions on Saturday are a concern as he had been an intended runner in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle but was taken out because of the soft ground. However I can’t see Saturday’s likely gd/sft being a problem for this son of Kayf Tara out of a Bob Back mare, and unless conditions really deteriorate should have every chance.

Having performed with credit in a number of top handicaps Gordon Elliott’s 5yo Bayan is already a seasoned campaigner. He ran a great race to be third in the Coral Cup at the Festival, and improved again,coming second in the Galway Hurdle. However the handicapper has had his say and he is now 8lbs higher than Cheltenham. He probably needs testing conditions at two miles so if it does come up soft he is well worth a second look.

Dan Skelton’s 5yo Galileo gelding Shelford has won his last two races and is another who wouldn’t mind it testing on Saturday. Rated 89 on the flat he has made a highly successful transition to the winter game and was quite impressive in his first handicap ( 2 1/2 mls sft Chepstow ) at the end of October, where off a mark of 127 he made all and kept on very gamely to beat Aubusson by 3/4L. As the runner up went on to win the £80,000. Fixed Brush Hurdle at Haydock, Shelford’s 7lbs rise seems more than fair. He travels well in his races so it would be no surprise to see him leading the field over the last on Saturday.

Garde La Victoire and Clondaw Warrior are closely matched on Cheltenham form in November and the progressive Hobbs horse is fancied to come out on top again. Clondaw Warrior is 3lb better of for the 2L he was beaten but Garde La Victoire has the more progressive profile and indeed must have every chance of being involved at the business end.

Tony Martins 4yo Pyromaniac finished a well beaten 3rd at Cheltenham in November but had shown considerable potential in his previous two runs at Listowel and Killarney. Coming from this stable, this very lightly raced and unexposed animal could easily spring a surprise.

Jonjo O’Neill’s good flat horse Goodwood Mirage showed he was getting his act together when winning at Wetherby in October. Quietly fancied for the Triumph hurdle, he was brought down at the second and is definitely one to note if there is any market confidence.

Selection. Sign of a Victory.

E.W. Shelford.