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Racing on ITV this Saturday comes from Haydock where we have the big field Old Newton Cup handicap and the Lancashire Oaks, while at Sandown we have a small but select field for the Coral Eclipse.
We kick off at Sandown where the five furlong track can be a real horses-for-courses affair. Lazuli won the Scurry Stakes at this track over course and distance last year, beating another of today’s runners, Keep Busy easily. He then went on to finish fifth in the Group 3 Coral Charge at this venue.
He was running well in Dubai during the winter and won nicely on his return at Newmarket. He has a lot of things in his favour for this contest and he gets the nod.
He won very easily over one mile and four furlongs at this track and has since gone on to win again at Musselburgh so Dhushan looks a progressive type who should have no problem with the step up in trip. The fact that handles Haydock is a big plus. The danger could be the Sir Mark Prescott-trained Summers Knight who won easily at Bath last time – but this will be harder.
The one mile Challenge is a tough race to sort but Sir Michael Stoute’s lightly-raced Ransom got a little stuck in slow ground here last time. Prior to that had looked progressive and with only 8st 3lb to carry he has to be of interest with that experience under his belt. Frankie Dettori rides Magical Morning for John and Thady Gosden. He ran well in the Royal Hunt Cup (when eighth to Real World) at Ascot and has to be respected.
Trainer George Boughey was ecstatic after this filly had placed in the Epsom Oaks. It was slow ground that day, but Mystery Angel has also won the Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket on quicker ground. She looks progressive and one to keep on the right side.
Statement will likely head the market but I was a little disappointed with her run at Epsom. She showed a lot of promise at Newbury and didn’t back that up at Epsom. William Haggas’ Ready to Venture interests me most. She bombed out last time at Goodwood but it was slow ground and she got trapped down the inside rail. I’m willing to forgive her that poor run.
If she bounces back to the level of form she displayed at Ascot when finishing just behind another of Saturday’s rivals, Auria, she has a good each-way chance at a decent price.
Simon and Ed Crisford’s runner fifth in the Duke of Edinburgh handicap at the Royal meeting having absolutely trotted up at Newmarket the time before that. Aaddeey got a hefty 13lb hike from the handicapper for that so connections are using Mark Crehan’s 3lb claim and that could prove a good move.
It is fantastic to have the three-year-olds in this contest as it adds much needed spice to an otherwise disappointing affair with just the four runners turning up. Saint Mark’s Basilica won the French 2,000 Guineas and looked at a smart prospect. Addeybb has thrived since spending the winter in Australia and is a multiple Group one winner there and transferred that level of form to the UK when winning the Champions States at Ascot last October. He hasn’t run for a little while and that is a concern.
I really like Mishriff though who won the French Derby last year and then went to Dubai and won on World Cup night. He would be at deserved winner of this and I think he is the one to deliver.
Mick Fitzgerald’s best bets for Saturday:
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