Frankel stars on what should be an insatiable Saturday afternoon of not just racing action, but sport in general, providing of course that you like football too. Channel 4 racing has designated itself to the southern courses of Newbury and Newmarket for their coverage this afternoon, with no doubt the main focus will be Frankel and the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes.
My bets will be few and far between on the racing front but there is one horse I am quietly intrigued by and think will run very well. Let us hope that profit arrives this afternoon, in any case.
Here are my thoughts:
2.00 - JLT Aston Park Stakes (Listed) 1m 5f 61yds
Nehaam sets the standard and despite his ability to go well fresh, there has to be doubts about him performing to his best abilities given the trip and the slightly softer than good ground. The unknown quantity Ibiceno runs for trainer Luca Cumani meanwhile and he may not be at his best first time out either, although it is clear to see he has the best long term potential of this sextet.
The filly at the bottom of the weights catches my eye the most, despite racing in the second colours of owner Hamdan Al Maktoum. Trainer Marcus Tregoning has got his stable in a good working order at present and this filly HAWAAFEZ could be able to make her 5lb filly allowance tell in this event.
She has progressed gradually over the course of her career and now a 4yo can take a further step up on her previous efforts. Her performance when last seen was quite awesome, as she ran out a seven length winner, albeit against much lesser opposition. Whilst she may be some 15lb less rated than Luca Cumani's charge, her 5lb allowance bodes well and if she can improve just 5lb on her current mark, she could be able to take advantage on this first outing.
2.30 - Bluesq.com Handicap (Class 2) 6f 8yds
An interesting little sprint event with several hold up performers quantifying the large 15 runner field. There has been very good support for Bertiewhittle overnight, who was a horse I backed on his seasonal debut, but I am not as keen as others at this 5-1 price.
Lutine Bell would have been an option, but his tendency to set off slowly continues to negate his chances of winning a big race and I am willing to pass him over in favour of a runner, who should race much more prominently.
The selection given the way the race is likely to be run is WHAILEYY for trained Marco Botti who has signed up his preferred jockey Silvestre De Sousa for only the 11th time in five seasons. Together they have a 50% strike rate when teaming up and I anticipate it improving further still, after this race is over.
In headgear this horse has shown a new level of form and having already had two spins on the All Weather this year, he should be in fine fettle for this test. He rates a good chance to improve again back on turf and his present 6-1 odds seem fair.
3.05 - Blue Square London Gold Cup Handicap (Class 2) 1m 2f 6yds
An extremely intriguing handicap I find this, with a field of 14 runners to assess. I began analysing this race yesterday evening and at one stage was going to have it as my only bet of the day. Therefore it is safe to assume that I like the selection in this race, above-averagely.
The clear favourite is the Sir Henry Cecil trained Thomas Chippendale who has impressed many with his maiden win over Went The Day Well. That horse has since swapped racing here for America and been tested in Group 1 company, showing a definite level of class. The assumption seems to be that Thomas Chippendale will improve in similar fashion, but with no guarantees and the Cecil team not fully finding their feet as yet, it could be worth taking him on.
The one I want to eagerly take the favourite on with is the topweight REWARDED who himself has done nothing but impress on his three proper starts so far. Long term he looks to be the potential stable star of the James Toller trained yard and I find it impressive that this son of Motivator has been able to win over a mile, considering it is likely the wrong trip for him now aged three.
A step up to this 10f distance, on good to soft ground, may well be the making of the horse and I readily feel he can put his best foot forward and cause the favourite problems. This comes despite conceding 3lb to the Cecil horse.
The strange fact here is that despite this being a 0-105 rated handicap, Rewarded is chucked in as topweight despite only having a rating of 89. This typifies that this is potentially a weak race for the grade and those at the head of the weights holding an advantage.
Potentially Rewarded may progress and be Group class, and with this possibility in mind, he looks great value each way at general odds of 8-1 available in most places.
There are only two races at Newmarket televised and one further race at Newbury, involving Frankel. However, each of them appear to be a non-betting contest in my eyes and I am more than happy to allocate the days betting stakes to the three selections already advised.
For any interested parties I am going to entertain myself with a Frankel, Blackpool to be promoted and Chelsea to win the Champions League accumulator! (Please note that this means the bets on Blackpool and Chelsea are not solely for 90mins)
A £16.38 stakes brings about a returned profit of £150.05 with Stan James, which will do nicely and enables me to cheer on the underdogs, whilst enjoying Frankel's return to action at the same time.