Saturday Racing Tips – 3rd November 2018

It’s an exciting time in British and Irish horse racing as the new National Hunt season really starts ramping up. There is more quality racing taking place at Ascot and Wetherby on Saturday but the biggest race of the day is a long way away from these shores, in Kentucky.

The Breeders’ Cup Classic, one of the richest flat races around, doesn’t start until 9:44pm UK time, offering some evening racing well worth the wait. Whether you’re interested in the UK based action or the big race at Churchill Downs, we have you covered with our Saturday racing tips.

9:44pm Breeders’ Cup Classic

Grade 1, 1m2f

Churchill Downs Race

The Breeders’ Cup Classic is the final and most prestigious race of the packed annual Breeders’ Cup Day. Unlike many of the biggest races in the world, the Breeders’ Cup rotates between North American racecourses. This year it’s the turn of Churchill Downs – most known for hosting the Kentucky Derby – to welcome a host of top class horses from the US and further afield.

Unsurprisingly, the head of the betting is dominated by American-trained horses including the favourite, Accelerate, and the Bob Baffert-trained duo of Mckinzie and West Coast. The European charge is led by Mendelssohn for Aidan O’Brien and Roaring Lion for John Gosden.

It’s the latter who is the most interesting. It was thought that his win at Ascot last time out was an attempt to add a Group 1 win over a mile to his stud profile before being retired. Are Roaring Lion’s owners trying something similar at Churchill Downs by trying to add a big win or even creditable form on a dirt track to his CV, or do they believe he has a genuine chance?

Perhaps the main question is, does it really matter either way? Connections wouldn’t have gone to the trouble of taking Roaring Lion to race in America if they thought it would be a waste of time and money. He is the class option in terms of ratings on turf so if he can carry that form over to the dirt the odds of 10/1 that BetVictor are quoting about Roaring Lion’s chances could be the best horse racing bet of the weekend.

Horse Racing on TV

The appetite for National Hunt racing was made clear by a sharp rise in the number of viewers that ITV Racing attracted last weekend. They’re hopeful for more good news given the strength of the cards at Ascot and Wetherby on Saturday. With good weather forecast at both courses there should be decent crowds and the racing is sure to be well worth a bet or three, whether you are in attendance or not.


Ascot RacecourseAscot is best known as a flat racing course but it sees its fair share of action over the winter months.

The return of National Hunt racing to the Berkshire course on Saturday includes four competitive handicaps which will all be broadcast live by ITV Racing for viewers in the UK.

  • 1:50pm The Ascot Underwriting Steeple Chase – The live action on ITV Racing kicks off with this Novices’ Limited Handicap run over 2m3f. At this early stage of the season there are still a lot of questions about the jumping ability of those in the field but the favourite, Wenyerreadyfreddie, showed some real fluency over the bigger obstacles when finishing second on his seasonal reappearance. He’s expected to improve so can oblige favourite backers at very worthwhile odds of 4/1 with bet365.
  • 2:25pm Byrne Group Handicap Chase – There isn’t much between the top three in the betting for the Byrne Group Handicap but Shantou Rock, Garde La Victorie and Champagne At Tara are all carrying 11-7 or more. Winners tend to be carrying less than that which suggests Ink Master – who is carrying just 10-7 and has already shown some decent form in the early season – represents a good each way bet at 8/1 with Coral.
  • 3:00pm Bet With Ascot Handicap Hurdle – Verdana Blue wasted no time getting back to winning ways when making his return over hurdles at Kempton two weeks ago. Nicky Henderson’s six-year-old was the favourite that day and remains so in this Listed Handicap. Connections are looking to maximise her current good form and she should be able to live up to the billing by winning at a best price of 9/2 with BetVictor.
  • 3:35pm Sodexo Gold Cup – This Group 3 contest is the feature race of the day at Ascot and if the betting is anything to go by we should be in for an ultra competitive renewal. There’s only been one winning favourite in the last 10 years and nine of the last 13 failed to even place. That suggests this is a contest for each way betting and the chunky looking odds of 14/1 that Coral are quoting about Double Shuffle could be the price to take. Relatively lightly raced for an eight-year-old, Double Shuffle certainly has the class to claim a place and maybe even to win.


Wetherby RacecourseAs well as the action from Ascot, ITV Racing will cover three races from Wetherby on Saturday. The pick of the bunch is the Grade 2 Charlie Hall Chase but all three races provide great opportunity for punters. The weather is set to be fairly mild, certainly by West Yorkshire standards in November, and the going is forecast to be good, so there should be great entertainment for those watching on at home as well as those making the trip to Wetherby.

  • 2:05pm Mares’ Hurdle – After securing some big wins in the earlier part of the last National Hunt season, Apple’s Shakira faded disappointingly as spring approached. Nicky Henderson’s mare is dropping down in class after Grade 1 failures at Cheltenham and Aintree and the bookies are expecting a return to winning ways. Irish Roe is the main challenger but Apple’s Shakira can set up another successful season by winning at 7/2 with Ladbrokes.
  • 2:40pm Charlie Hall Chase – Paul Nicholls will be hoping to be in the conversation for champion trainer again this season and he can claim a nice Grade 2 win on Saturday with Clan Des Obeaux. A 10/3 shot with bet365, Clan Des Obeaux was last seen finishing third to Mite Bite and Bristol De Mai in the Betway Bowl. He looked very happy at three miles back in April and can prove that this is his best distance by beating a quality field.
  • 3:15pm bet365 Hurdle – Paul Nicholls has another great chance in the bet365 Hurdle with Old Guard. The seven-year-old has already made his reappearance and although he wasn’t at his best when finishing second to Verdana Blue, that was over a mile less than the bet365 Hurdle. He’ll be happy with the good ground and should come on from that first outing even if an each way bet looks the best option at 6/1 with Coral.