Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card on Saturday with a tips at Chepstow, Newmarket and York.
Future Champions Day from Newmarket is the weekend racing highlight with the big betting race the second leg of the autumn double the Betfred Cesarewitch. When the declarations were announced on Thursday my antepost selection Montaser (3.35) was first reserve and needed one to come out; as if by magic Address Unknown, in the same ownership as the selection, was withdrawn on Friday morning allowing Montaser to get a run.
The 3-y-o has a similar profile to the stable’s Darley Sun who won the race back in 2009 for David Simcock and with just 8st to carry and excellent light-weight jockey Franny Norton in the saddle he must go close; you cannot be confident in a 34-runner handicap especially one with a moderate draw in stall 20 but granted luck in-running (yes even over 2m 2f) he should give us a run for our money. The ground is currently good to soft but there is no further rain forecast at HQ and the ground should be ideal.
In his absence I was sweet on I Have A Dream (another lightly-raced 3-yo) but he has been given stall 36 which looks a nightmare and the main danger might come from former Northumberland Plate winner Tominator (3.35) who has left Reg Hollinshead since his last run to go hurdling with Jonjo O’Neill but takes his chance in this prestigious and valuable handicap before a new career over jumps. Note we are paying ¼ odds first five in the betting at BetVictor.
Reckless Abandon will go off a very warm favourite for the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes but I favour Cristoforo Colombo (2.20) from the yard of Ballydoyle successful in the race last year with 25/1 shot Crusade. Ryan Moore takes over on the selection who must have gone very close in a sub-standard Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh last time had he not clipped heels and slipped up when beginning his challenge.
Just over half an hour later Guineas favourite Dawn Approach (2.55) cannot be opposed in the Dewhurst although one note of caution; the unbeaten son of New Approach has been on the go since the end of March but he remains the one to beat on form and really ought to win.
I have always though Trade Commissioner (5.15) was a Group horse and as long as the ground doesn’t dry out too much he can make the transition from handicap company having had an eight-week break since his disappointing run at Salisbury; he looks sure to have been sweetened up by trainer John Gosden and gets the nod in a terrific finale.
At York Shamdarley (5.30) has been a big disappointment this term but ran a cracker in the consolation Cambridgeshire last time and looks back on a winnable mark; a winner over C&D he has been campaigned largely over shorter trips this season and doesn’t have a particularly good record for today’s jockey. That said he should like the ground and deserves to get his head back in front.
The jumps season is slowly getting into full swing and the ground at Chepstow is sure to be testing for their opening fixture of the new season; Paul Nicholls has a very good record at this meeting and Hinterland (3.40) may not be the star many hoped he would be when he won on his British debut but he is taken to defy top-weight in the Handicap Hurdle and the stable’s Rangitoto (4.45) can double up in the 4.45.
The selection looks a possible Welsh National-type going forward and ran well at the track over hurdles and, although Victors Serenade has a similar progressive profile for Anthony Honeyball, the Nicholls runner is taken to score in what promises to be a terrific and informative race.