For the weekend, I’ve lined up a nice little Lucky 15 on four non-Ascot races, and we kick off with the final of the Ladies’ series (1.55 Haydock).
The lucky winner of the series last year was Emma Sayer who walked away with £20,000 having ridden a winner at the Ladies-only meeting at Carlisle.
Our selection this time out is Zubayr. This horse was good enough to win the Adonis Hurdle at Kempton at the first time of asking over hurdles for Paul Nicholls.
A handy way to gauge how a jumps horse might be handicapped on the flat is to subtract 45lbs from their jumps handicap mark.
Given Zubayr is rated 142 over hurdles he could be expected to run to a mark of 97 on the level. His actual rating of 83 on the flat may suggest that he’s well in by a sum of 14lbs.
He’ll be ridden by Megan Nicholls. Meg is not in line for this 20k bonus as she didn’t ride a winner at the all lady riders event on this occasion, whereas Rachel Richardson rode two at Carlisle; her mount, Dance King, is the biggest threat to Zubayr.
The Rose Of Lancaster stakes (2.30 Haydock) is a perfect opportunity for Sir Michael Stoute to continue his good run of form with Autocratic.
This lad is a son of Pivotal and lots of his stock handle a cut in the ground.
This horse won very nicely at Sandown last time and will take a bit of beating here. He does have a 3lb penalty for his win at the same course, which does make it a little harder. Larraib is the obvious danger as he is unexposed and open to improvement.
Next, we jump over to Newmarket for their feature (3.40 Sweet Solera Stakes). In this race for 2-year-olds, trying to find out which of the runners has reached its full potential and which fillies are on the up is the puzzle.
I cant help but look at the prices and think Mamba Noire could be the value play here. Her run behind Clemmie and Nyaleti at Newmarket could hardly look any better now that those fillies have both franked the form.
We know this filly will handle cut in the ground and that is a massive plus.
Meanwhile, Poetic Charm is beautifully bred and could be a real improver.
The last leg is going to Newmarket as well, specifically the 3.05. Josephine Gordon was supposed to be at Ascot for the Shergar cup but her riding commitments did not allow it.
She is based with Hugo Palmer and has some really good rides for him at this course, including our final selection Anythingtoday.
This horse has certainly looked the part when winning at Bath in soft ground and previously at HQ. Atkinson Grimshaw, with only 8st 4lb on its back, has to rate as a big danger.