• Tue 18 Jun, 2024
  • 13:28 BST
  • 09:28 EST (BST-4)
  • 15:28 CEST (BST+2)

Five to follow on Saturday

Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Doncaster, Cheltenham and Newbury on Saturday. View selections below.

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WEMBLEY (2.55) can give Aidan O’Brien a remarkable tenth Vertem Futurity Trophy scalp at Doncaster.

This Group 1 prize is the end-of-season Cup Final for juveniles, so Wembley would be an appropriately-named winner for the master of Ballydoyle. The colt was something of a slow-burner earlier in the summer but looked a strong middle-distance horse for the future when chasing home stable companion St Mark’s Basilica in the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket a fortnight ago.

The home defence is spearheaded by Godolphin’s One Ruler, third to New Mandate here in September but since victorious in a Group 3 event at HQ. Andrew Balding saddled Kameko to win this race last year and relies on King Vega, twice runner-up at Sandown this summer. Oisin Murphy’s mount may well improve now encountering slower ground.

Joseph O’Brien’s UK raids are always worth noting and State Of Rest ran a fine third to New Mandate and Ontario in the Royal Lodge at Newmarket last month.

At Cheltenham, ALLMANKIND (2.05) sets the bar high after ending the season with an excellent third in the JCB Triumph Hurdle. Dan Skelton’s gelding was unbeaten in third starts prior to that Cheltenham run and remains an exciting prospect. His best form has come in the mud, so the forecast rain will be welcomed by connections.

Only four go to post for the 2m 3f novices’ chase, but it’s a tricky one to solve nonetheless. Likely favourite Southfield Stone has undergone wind surgery since a narrow defeat at the hands of Who Dares Wins at Kempton in February and Paul Nicholls will have him well tuned up. Slight preference is for PILEON (2.40) representing the venerable Phillip Hobbs and Richard Johnson combo.

Pileon scored at Catterick and Ffos Las last January on soft/heavy, and closed the season on a high by splitting Indefatigable and Great White Shark in the 23-runner Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival. The Skelton team field last month’s Perth scorer Not That Fuisse and their gelding has plenty of solid chasing form to recommend him.

FRODON (3.50) has become a legend around Cheltenham and is fancied to defy top weight in the 3m 1f Matchbook Betting Exchange Handicap Chase. He is probably better known for his exploits over shorter trips but rallied gamely to land the Cotswolds Chase over course and distance last January. Frodon is 5lb lower today under regular rider Bryony Frost and may have the measure of another course specialist, Cogry, and improving Manofthemountain.

The ITV cameras are also on duty at Newbury for a couple of interesting Flat races. The track is riding very deep and that suits EUCHEN GLEN (4.10). Jim Goldie’s Scottish raider defied big odds to land the Cumberland Lodge Stakes at York and has an impressive CV when the mud is flying. It will not be easy conceding weight all round but the ability to handle conditions counts for plenty.

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