A bumper Saturday of TV racing from Ascot and Lingfield where the action from the Berkshire track is a competitive as you can get.
Roger Varian’s Appeared could head the market in the 2.15pm but my worry is that he needed a couple of runs to sharpen him up last season and he’s making his seasonal debut.
Owen Burrows has been really patient with Hamdan Al Maktoum’s Mohatem. He was gelded during the winter and looked one to follow this season when drawing clear at Yarmouth to win over 1m 2f first time out.
I’ll give him the nod ahead of James Fanshawe’s top weight Lord George with George Wood taking 5lbs off. He was third to Mistiroc at Newcastle on his seasonal bow and looks to have a decent each-way chance.
Burrows has a chance to double up in the Listed race 2.50pm with Muntazah. He had just two runs last season and the first of which was a promising fourth to Wings of Desire in York’s Dante Stakes, before running below par in a Group 2 race at Newmarket in July.
Deauville – a Belmont Derby winner – was just ahead of him at York (and Sandown last month) and won the Huxley Stakes at Chester earlier this week. A repeat of anything like that form by Muntazah should be good enough on Saturday. David Allan’s Knights Table is the danger after a convincing win on his reappearance at Ripon.
The 1m Fillies handicap at 3.25pm looks competitive with Sir Michael Stoute’s Aristocratic likely to head the market.
However, Marco Botti’s three-year-old Raven’s Lady gets 9lbs off her. She has run some good races and will strip fitter for a comeback second to Sibilance at Kempton. She gets my vote.
Big betting heat
We’ve a couple of Derby and Oaks Trials at Lingfield on Saturday. The stage is set for a filly to burst into the Epsom Oaks picture and for once it’s an English runner who is favourite for the Listed Oaks Trial at 1.55pm.
William Haggas’ The Sky is Blazing was very impressive on her sole start at Newcastle when quickening clear over 1m and looks the most likely to break the Ballydoyle stranglehold on the Classic trials.
O’Brien’s Pocketfullofdreams isn’t to be underestimated though and Ballydoyle will know exactly what they have to go to war with at Epsom when all the trials are run.
Aidan O’Brien has dominated these contests so far this year and sends over the promising Sir John Lavery for the Derby Trial at 2.30pm.
He was a very impressive winner at Gowran Park last season and already takes high rank in the Epsom Derby betting on June 3. He’ll be shorter again if he wins this.