We are entering the period in the racing calendar when the flat season gives way to the jumps season but not before the final group 1 race of the British turf season the Racing Post Trophy from Doncaster.
The confident selection has to be short-priced favourite Camelot (3.00) who was as big as 5/2 when betting opened on the event on Monday but is now Even money with Victor Chandler. Winner of a moderate Leopardstown maiden on debut Camelot has only five rivals to beat and there is no getting away from the fact that it is a poor turn out, but we could easily see another potential star with the noises coming out of Coolmore suggesting he could be their leading Derby fancy for next year.
He is currently 16/1 for Epsom and a win on Saturday would make him a single figure price for Epsom; a son of Montjeu he is not absolutely guaranteed to stay a mile-and-a-half next year but he looks a cracking prospect.
Beaten Up (2.45) lacks experience, has over a stone to make up on official figures and has the worst of the draw but I was very taken with his smooth victory at Doncaster last time and vowed to support him until beaten. This is a massive step up in class from a 0-85 to a Group 3 but it doesn’t look the strongest of contests for this grade. Al Kazeem just lost out to the progressive Green Destiny in the Arc Trial last month and has the best form on offer but the Haggas’ colt could be anything and is given the nod.
St Simon Stakes; Newbury Saturday: prices from
Al Kazeem 10/3
Beaten Up 5/1
Mohedian Lady 11/2
French Navy 8/1
I like the look of Godolphin’s Pimpernel (3.15) in the Radley Stakes; the selection caught a tarter courtesy of Ballydoyle’s Wading in the Rockfel last time and meets nothing of that calibre this afternoon. Pimpernel may not be the best of the Godolphin juvenile fillies and should get further next term, but the hope is she can run down her rivals in what looks a cracking listed contest.
There is a terrific jumps card at Chepstow and Paul Nicholls could have a very good day; Harry The Viking (1.35) finished runner up on his sole start under rules and this winning pointer is going to make up into a cracking chaser for connections, who include Sir Alex Ferguson, in time but he can land the opener.
There are a couple of fascinating runners in the Grade 2 Persian War later in the day with the 2009 winner of the November Handicap Charm School having his first start since for Evan Williams and bumper winner Fingal Bay (3.40) making his hurdling debut and subject of favourable reports from the Philip Hobbs yard. The stable often run their leading novice in this event and he is one to keep on the right side of this winter.
The following Silver Trophy is a fabulous renewal and Rebel Rebellion (4.15) has to be the selection for Paul Nicholls running over hurdles for the last time before he switches his attentions to the larger obstacles. A winner of his last two starts over hurdles he had a wind operation having been beaten first time out at Ascot and I would suggest that a mark of 133 is not a true indication of his ability.
There is a poor turnout for the Old Roan Chase but it will be great to see the retired Monet’s Garden back in the parade ring before the race; the wonderful grey won this corresponding race three times in the last four years including last year and I think former Champion Chaser Master Minded (3.30) can give the weight to Albertas Run in what is a virtual match.
The veterans Chase can go to Irish raider Treacle (2.55) a winner at Gowran Park last time for Tom Taafe; Peter Bowen’s string are not firing on all cylinders but he has a great record at Aintree and do keep an eye out to see if there is any market confidence about his Mumbles Head coming back from a near 500-day absence.
For all your sporting odds this weekend check out