Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Newmarket and Chester on Saturday. View selections below.
VELOX (3.50) can turn back the clock for Newmarket trainer Luca Cumani by landing the Betfred Cambridgeshire at HQ. The Italian maestro hasn’t tasted success in the first leg of the autumn double since Dallas in 1986 and Velox represents his best chance for several years under crack apprentice Cam Hardie. Velox seems comfortable in a strongly run race, as evidenced by his stunning success at Sandown on Coral-Eclipse day when sitting handy off a breakneck pace. A recent promising run at Doncaster will have put the four-year-old spot on. John Gosden’s Cornrow is a worthy market leader, while a big run is envisaged from 2012 Cambridgeshire hero Bronze Angel, the mount of another crack claimer, Louis Steward.
Hardie’s 5lb allowance also comes in handy aboard RED REFRACTION (5.35), trained by his guv’nor Richard Hannon. Red Refraction stormed home by five lengths at Yarmouth nine days ago over this distance of seven furlongs and the colt looks like a handicapper to follow this autumn.
Earlier on the card, NAFAQA (2.35) can justify favouritism in the Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes. This Group 2 contest has cut up to only six runners and Nafaqa has been presented with a golden opportunity to supplement his recent Doncaster verdict over Toocoolforschool. The runner-up has since hosed up on a softer surface at Newbury.
Ryan Moore rarely goes home empty-handed and GOTHIC (6.05) could pop up at a nice price in the finale. Sir Michael Stoute stepped him up to 12 furlongs for the first time at Ascot three weeks ago and there were no stamina issues as Gothic came home strongly in fifth. From an unfavourable wide draw, Gothic was tucked in well off the pace and never held a realistic chance of reeling in winner Battersea. Gothic had earlier scored over 10f at Leicester, beating Noble Gift, a winner this week at Goodwood.
At Chester, ATHLETIC (4.50) can atone for a slightly unlucky run at Ayr last Saturday. Athletic is at his very best when finding plenty of cover off a strong gallop but he found himself isolated and in front two furlongs out when the field surprisingly fanned out in the home straight. Athletic did well to hold on for second behind well-backed favourite Earth Drummer and a repeat of his previous devastating course and distance victory around the tight turns of the Roodee will surely put him in the mix under another promising apprentice, Jenny Powell.
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