Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips from Ascot and Haydock on Saturday. View selections below.
GORDON LORD BYRON (3.45), one of the toughest sprinters in Europe, can lift his second Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock. The Irish raider has a tremendous record in this Group 1 clash, finishing runner-up in two other tilts at this big late-season prize. Two years ago Johnny Murtagh made a beeline for the far rail from his low draw and simply demolished his rivals, steadily drawing clear from the furlong pole. Gordon Lord Byron has drawn a similar berth here in stall three, alongside some of his principal rivals Danzeno (2), Adaay (4), Twilight Son (5) and Magical Memory (6). Gordon Lord Byron chased home G Force 12 months and David O’Meara’s sprinter turns up to defend his crown with something to prove after finishing last at Royal Ascot and third-last in the July Cup at Newmarket. However, G Force runs the track well and will have his supporters to bounce back. Adaay held off Coulsty and Brecon Rock to land the Hungerford Stakes at Newbury over seven furlongs but laboured into seventh in the Commonwealth Cup after a sloppy start. Danzeno finished fifth to Muhaarar at Newmarket and has been well backed. Sole Power was a neck in front of Danzeno at HQ and has since delivered another solid performance at York, running fourth to Mecca’s Angel. With so many confusing inter-linking form lines entangling his rivals, it may be best to stick with rock-solid course form in the shape of Gordon Lord Byron, especially if there remains some juice in the ground. A repeat of his close third to Muhaarar and Esoterique at Deauville last month would make him difficult to beat.
SOVEREIGN DEBT (2.00) has been campaigned in Ireland since his unlucky defeat at the hands of Grey Mirage in a Conditions event at Lingfield in April but Dandy Nicholls’ gelding can make a winning return to home soil in the Betfred Superior Mile. The grey mopped up a Listed event at the Curragh in June and produced an even better effort behind Home Of The Brave and Gordon Lord Byron in the Group 3 Minstrel Stakes the following month. Ivawood, third in the English and Irish 2000 Guineas in May, wasn’t beaten far in a French Group 1 last time and looks a worthy favourite, although a long season may catch up with him.
TOTALIZE (2.35) is the recommended each-way wager in a wide-open Betfred Mobile Old Borough Cup. Brian Ellison’s dual-purpose stayer excelled himself in a previous visit to Haydock in May, chasing home his progressive stablemate Seamour, despite conceding 11lb to the winner. Seamour has since landed the Brown Jack Handicap at Ascot off a 9lb higher rating and it is easy to forgive Totalize’s most recent eclipse in the Northumberland Plate when he could never attain a challenging position in a bunched field. Pressure Point has been a prolific winner for Keith Dalgleish this season and is clearly of interest. Oasis Dream keeps threatening to land a big handicap and ran well in defeat at York.
Derby runner-up Jack Hobbs is the star turn at Kempton and surely has the opening September Stakes at his mercy. One of the horses which trailed in Jack Hobbs’ wake at Sandown back in April carries top weight in a Heritage Handicap at Ascot and DARTMOUTH (3.25) can make it four wins from his last five outings. Sir Michael Stoute’s colt, racing in The Queen’s silks, had Antiquarium (second) and York/Hamilton winner Polarisation (fifth) behind when scoring at Glorious Goodwood and is taken to confirm his superiority.
Old boy HAWKEYETHENOO (2.50) is finally receiving some slack from the handicapper and his superb Ascot form gives him each-way appeal in the Fly London Southend Airport Handicap. A past winner of the Victoria Cup over course and distance, Hawkeyethenoo again underlined his liking for the track when running third to Speculative Bid in this year’s renewal. Jim Goldie’s gelding again made the trek south from his base outside Glasgow to contest the Shergar Cup Dash and although finding five furlongs too sharp, he stayed on well into fourth.
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