Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with ten to follow on Saturday at Wetherby, Ascot and the Breeders Cup in America. View selections below
A fantastic days racing and we start at the Breeders’ Cup in Santa Anita this evening where, despite the late defection of last year’s winner Magician, there is a strong European challenge for the turf races.
Dank (7.43) hasn’t been seen since disappointing in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot back in June but is defending her Fillies’ and Mares’ crown having won the corresponding race 12-months ago. She can be a bit keen and Ryan Moore will want to get some cover from her excellent draw in stall three. The home challenge is led by Stephanie’s Kitten but she has a wide draw to overcome and Dank, who is running her last race, will have be prepared to the second by Sir Michael Stoute.
I was speaking to owner Michael Owen earlier in the week before he headed off to the California sunshine and he advised that his Brown Panther will be ponied down to the start ahead of the Turf race having blotted his copybook when bolting before the start at Arlington last time. The former England international also suggested that they make plenty of use of their six-year-old, given his optimum trip is over further, and will ensure it is a true test of stamina.
I can’t see past a European winner and just favour Arc runner up Flintshire (10.22) over Telescope. The selection finished runner up in the Arc, from an excellent draw, last time and if he can get into a decent position from stall seven he can run down Telescope who bypassed Longchamp to wait for a crack at this race. Flintshire is 5/2 with BetVictor and that looks a fair price for a colt who will love the ground and has only had four outings so far this season.
In the absence of the injured Wise Dan Toronado (11.40) can take the mile for Champion jockey Richard Hannon. Lightly raced this term the 4-y-old bypassed the QEII at Ascot on account of the heavy ground and connections’ patience can be rewarded. He is currently 9/4 with BetVictor and he is the class act in the field.
Two fantastic jumping cards from Ascot and Wetherby and we start at the Berkshire track where Dawalan (3.00) can improve on his recent second at Chepstow on his reappearance. The field allowed the front-running Bertimont too much rope on that occasion and the selection raced wide and wasn’t given a hard race. The 4-y-o is a 6/1 shot behind stablemate Sign Of A Victory who is the 5/2 favourite but must concede 9lbs to the each way selection. Barry Geraghty prefers Sign Of A Victory and, indeed, trainer Nicky Henderson saddles three of the 11 runners for this valuable prize.
Cocktails At Dawn will be a warm order for his chase debut for Nicky Henderson but he is often over-bet and Keltus (1.45) jumped out to his right at Newton Abbot on debut and will be more at home going clockwise and could be the value for Paul Nicholls whose string are just beginning to find their feet.
Bellenos (2.20) was beaten a whisker by Manyriverstocross over today’s C&D back in the spring but is taken to reverse the placings despite meeting the winner on identical terms. The selection is still only a 6-y-old and should have the race run to suit with confirmed front-runner Next Sensation sure to take them along at a good clip.
At Wetherby Solar Impulse (1.30) can go one better than on debut when runner up at Newton Abbot (Turn Over Sivola back in third). The selection has always been considered a chaser in the making and his only win came on good ground. His 4-y-old weight-for-age allowance (8lbs) comes in very handy and Noel Fehily looks an excellent booking.
Aurore D’Estruval (2.05) would appreciate some rain but is a horse to follow this season and can make a winning reappearance in the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle for John Quinn. In the same colours Doing Fine will have his followers in the last but preference is for the newcomer Blakemount (4.20) who could be a star in the making over fences.
The feature race is the Charlie Hall Chase and it all boils down to whether JLT Novices’ Chase winner Taquin Du Seuil (3.15) stays 3m 1f or not. The horse ran poorly on his reappearance but the forecast ground looks ideal and this will tell connections if they have a possible Gold Cup horse on their hands. Previous winner Silviniaco Conti must give 5lbs to the selection and he might just come on for the run with the Betfair Chase at Haydock Park later in the month considered his primary early season objective.