• Sat 10 Dec, 2016
  • 06:50 GMT
  • 02:50 ET (GMT-4)
  • 08:50 CET (GMT+2)

Charlie’s Weekend Whispers

Former Talksport man Charlie McCann casts his eye over Saturday’s cards at Newmarket and Haydock and studies Sunday’s action.

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Low key fare this weekend but the unpronounceable and unbeaten Naqshabban (2.50) had the form of his recent Sandown victory over a mile franked when the runner up Joviality won the Musidora at York earlier in the month. He looks sure to appreciate the step up to 10f and must go close as long as the ground isn’t too quick at Newmarket.

There is also a valuable three-year-old sprint handicap on the card, a race which has thrown up some classy winners in the past. Andrew Balding has his string in good form and in a wide open event I give the nod to his lightly-raced Desert Law (3.25) making his seasonal reappearance. Considered good enough to take his chance in the Group 1 Mill Reef Stakes as a juvenile he pulled too hard to do himself justice but, fitted with a cross noseband, he was very impressive next time and could make up into a decent sprinter this term.

Coral sprint: prices from
L’Ami Louis 4/1
Lexis Hero 5/1
What About You 5/1
Desert Law 5/1
El Viento 10/1
Apollo D’Negro 11/1
14s Bar

At Haydock Crystal Capella is likely to go off favourite for the fillies’ and mares listed event but Vita Nova (3.05) was very impressive on her reappearance and can maintain her unbeaten record in receipt of 7lbs from the Stoute mare. Ferdoos is another to consider in what looks a very hot race for the grade.

In Ireland one time classic hopeful Zoffany (3.25) returns in the Ballycorus Stakes at Leopardstown on Sunday. The selection carries a 5lb penalty for his success in the Phoenix Stakes last year and on that run he has nothing in hand of Glor Na Mara who reopposes tomorrow. The latter has been disappointing so far this term, however and the main threat is likely to come from Charles O’Brien’s filly Bewitched who impressed at Ascot back in October when landing a competitive group 3 over 6f.

The best race of the weekend is the clash between the two favourites for next month’s Ascot Gold Cup Fame And Glory and Rite Of Passage in the Saval Beg Stakes. The latter hasn’t been seen since last June when he landed a 20/1 shock in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot and preference is for Fame And Glory (3.55) who has the benefit of a previous run having won a listed race at Navan last month unimpressively. That will have blown away the cobwebs and last year’s Coronation Cup winner can take this en route to next month’s big one.

The weekend nap is Paoletta (4.20) who runs at Nottingham on Sunday. She finished second on her racecourse debut behind a filly of Roger Varian who is held in some regard and just a repeat of that effort ought to be enough to see her go one better.

There is a summer jumps card at Uttoxeter on Sunday and Kim Bailey can have a winner courtesy of recent Southwell runner up Points Of View (2.40) who jumped well in the main on his chase debut when runner up over the minimum trip. The selection had previously finished runner up at Uttoxeter over an extended 2m 6f over hurdles and this intermediate trip should be ideal.

Rajnagan (5.10) has improved for the fitting of a tongue tie in recent weeks and, whilst some might suggest the 15lb rise in the weights for his recent win over Sunday’s course & distance was harsh, he remains open to further improvement over hurdles and this former John Oxx trained winner on the flat can follow up now that he has got his head in front.

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Charlie

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