Horse racing fans have been starved of action to enjoy at home for the best part of three months so the return to a Saturday of racing with action from three British tracks is incredibly welcome. The fact that we have Classic to enjoy makes things even more exciting and this is a great way for the sport of kings to come back to the fore. The Guineas meeting will see the pick of the three-year-old milers face off but the all-weather action from both Newcastle and Lingfield is well worth getting excited about in its own right and that is our focus here.
We’ve taken a look at the best of the races from both of those courses to pick out our best Saturday racing tips from the action away from Newmarket. Check them out and let’s find some winners!
Newcastle played an important role in the return of British horse racing this week as it was the first track to host a meeting since the action was postponed.
The course has seen a higher calibre of horse than usual and has another classy card on Saturday which is headlined by the Group 3 Sagaro Stakes which has been rerouted from Ascot.
2.05pm Heed Your Hunch at Betway Handicap
Otherwise known as the Washington Handicap Stakes, this 7f, Class 2 handicap for horses aged four and older is the first contest from Newcastle covered by ITV Racing on Saturday. There is a nice mix of established, experienced campaigners and horses with scope for improvement in the field. The favourite, Daarik, fits into the latter category and could well make another step forward on Saturday.
He made some very nice steps forward on the all-weather last season, prompting John Gosden to enter him in the Listed Burradon Stakes at Newcastle last April. Although he was the favourite, Daarik was unable to live with the strength of Fox Power’s finish but it was still an encouraging enough run. He missed the remainder of the season but he has twice won after a break and is the worthy favourite at 11/4 at bet365.
2.40pm Sagaro Stakes
The move from Ascot to the all-weather at Newcastle adds another level of intrigue to this year’s renewal of the Sagaro Stakes and might render a lot of the trends somewhat meaningless. The quality of the field remains as strong as you’d like for this Group Three, which pits together several proven stayers over the 2m½f trip.
You can make a good case for several in the field but to our eyes it is Withhold who stands out in the betting at a generous 11/2 with Coral. Roger Charlton’s seven-year-old showed he had further scope for progression last season. That campaign began with a gutsy win in the Marsh Handicap at Newbury and then also included a dominant win of the List Rose Bowl Stakes at Newmarket.
Although he wasn’t ever really in with a chance of winning the Long Distance Cup at Ascot in his most recent performance, there is no doubt that he has a Group winning run in him. He can earn it on Saturday at odds we think look very generous indeed.
3.15pm Betway Heed Your Hunch Handicap
The final race of note from Newcastle on Saturday comes via the Betway Heed Your Hunch Handicap. This contest for three-year-olds has attracted eight entries but Palace Pier is the one horse that everybody is talking about in the lead up to the contest.
John Gosden has already started this most unusual of seasons in good form and he would have loved to have sent Palace Pier to Newmarket on Saturday for the 2,000 Guineas but a leg injury has put paid to those plans. Whether he would have been a real Guineas contender on the back of two admittedly eye catching wins over inferior opposition is debatable but he should put his competition to the sword once again at a best price of 8/11 with Coral.
As with Newcastle, Lingfield has hosted some very good racing already this week and there is more excitement to come on Saturday thanks to a string of competitive handicaps which provide punters with a lot of chances to win big.
5.30pm Heed Your Hunch At Betway Handicap (Div I)
This 1m handicap promises to be a tough race to win and equally tough for punters to call. With so many potential winners in the field it could make sense to avoid those at the top of the market, especially as there are joint favourites in the shape of Dragon Sun and Lady Bowthorpe who both look a little weak.
The value option in the field may well lie with the highest rated horse, Corazon Espinado. Clearly, Simon Dow’s five-year-old will need to run very well to cope with top weight but he is only 2lbs higher than his last win so he has every chance of utilising his relative class to land at least a place at nice double-digit odds of 10/1 with Coral.
6.05pm Heed Your Hunch At Betway Handicap (Div II)
The new (and hopefully temporary) measures that racing will have to follow mean that a maximum of 12 horses can run in any one race. That’s why the Heed Your Hunch At Betway Handicap has had to be split into two divisions so we have a very similar race here.
Just like in the first part of this double bill, it is a 10/1 shot with Coral who catches the eye, this time in the shape of Family Fortunes. It’s been some time since this six-year-old won but he has come down in the ratings to the point where he is ready to win again.
7.15pm Betway Handicap
This is the last of the three handicaps that we’re featuring form Lingfield. Once again, a maximum complement of 12 horses is set to go to post with many of them in with a realistic chance of winning. This is a lower class of race than the first two featured but one horse who can raise up to compete at a higher level is Fujaira King.
Connections have tried to get the best out of him by moving him about to four different trainers. He ran well enough on debut for Michael Attwater in March and can come on for that run at odds of 9/1 that we feel are more than fair (with Betfair).