Horse Racing tips: Paul Jacobs’ value plays for Saturday’s ITV Racing

PJ's been studying the form and has delivered his ones to watch.

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*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

14.20 Haydock – Speycaster

This is for all intense and purposes the three-year-old Old Burrough Cup which takes place 35 minutes later and as such looks just as competitive as the senior event and worth exactly the same prize money. By the way, only one three-year-old to have accepted the invitation to take on his elders, getting weight for age, is the recent Melrose winner Soulcombe. The weather forecast makes it hard to put a finger on the going which as I pen this piece is good to firm, but with up to 6mm of rain forecast from midnight on Friday night and through the morning and afternoon, that could change.

The William Haggas trained Tamilla looks just the right type for this staying contest having hosed up in a Ffos Las maiden on soft ground and then eased home to a comfortable victory in a fillies’ handicap at Kempton Park off a mark of 80. A 5lbs penalty looks fair enough and if this extra yardage brings out more improvement on just her seventh career start (fifth on turf) then it wouldn’t surprise me if she started favourite over the even less exposed Open Champion from the in form Varian camp.

Furthermore as a daughter of Nathaniel any rain shouldn’t be an inconvenience and I will be having a saver on her behind the selection, Speycatcher. I suspect my pick will need at least some rain to take any sting out of the ground (two best runs to date have come with give) and like the back-up wager looks sure to relish an end to end gallop at this trip. The youngster was very awkward coming out of the stalls when running over the course and distance last time out, but made up her ground smoothly down the long home stretch only to flatten out in the last 150 yards or so. That run should have sharpened him up and this kind of test looks made to measure albeit in a very competitive heat.


14.40 Kempton – On A Session

This looks a wide-open renewal of the London Mile series Handicap Final with the likely favourite being Godolphin’s First View who since his Leicester success has run a cracking close up seventh of 22 in the classy John Smith’s Handicap at York. That extended mile and a quarter may well have just stretched his stamina and back over this sharper mile where he can be settled in midfield, his turn of foot could prove to be a potent weapon.

However, despite the open nature of this race, I have a strong fancy for the top weight On A Session. I have always felt that even seven and a half furlongs, has run mainly over seven of late, has been on the sharp side for him and a solid pace over this trip would see him to even better advantage. A mark of 95 means that the Barron representative has no easy task here and will need a career best to land this valuable prize, but he is unexposed on the all-weather, has a lovely stall sit in five and has already shown this tight track holds no fears for him when a running on third of nine to La Tihaty in his qualifying race in February.


15.10 Ascot – River Nymph

There are so many collateral pieces of form in this line-up that it would take all day and night to go through them. In fact, several of the 17-runner field have crossed swords on more than one occasion this season. I backed Aratus in the Moet and Chandon over the course and distance at the back end of July, but in the final analysis he was simply drawn on the wrong side of the track (first of nine on the stands’ side).

Of course there is no knowing for sure if he would have been at the sharp end with Fresh and Co. had he raced down the middle of the track, but the chances are the son of Free Eagle wouldn’t have been too far away. Along with the never nearer fifth, Documenting, and Accidental Agent (second on the near side to Aratus and lost a shoe) you could make arguments for each of the trio.

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Tactical was an also ran in that race and hugely disappointing after travelling okay through the first half of the race before simply not picking up. The display was even more of a let down when you consider he had a nice tow in to the contest down the advantaged middle of the course; he could very well bounce back.

On a more forgiving surface, last year’s Victoria Cup hero and RIVER NYMPH has to be the call off a mark only 2lbs higher. This will be only his fourth start in nearly a year and there was plenty to like about his third behind Vafortino when defending his title off a 56-day break. There was nothing wrong about his 8th of 29 in the Buckingham Palace at the Royal meet and the key to his chance is that the word ‘firm’ doesn’t appear in the going description. Good or softer will suffice and at a double figure price he should be hard to keep out of the frame.



16.05 Haydock – Sunday Sovereign

Despite a rather severe 7lbs penalty for winning at Thirsk last time out, Alligator Alley remains of interest and although severely up in grade this race should be run to suit for his come from behind style. But the margins always remain fine with this under performing, yet talented five-year-old. The one factor that has led me down another line is the weather forecast which could turn the ground to good and possibly softer. That same reasoning has taken me away from the top weight Mountain Peak. He is finally being shown some mercy from the handicapper and would be a huge player should the ground remain on the fast side of good.

But should we get the anticipated rains then both Barbill and Sunday Sovereign are sure to benefit. The former has been taken out of several recent engagements and needs to be able to get his toe in. Down from a high of 102 to his current mark of 86 even good ground would make his a player, softer even more so. But the same applies to my pick who has been running well at his home track of York of late without the best of luck.

The bay gelding was beaten a neck by Illusionist on good to soft in a class two event in May off 94 and now is able to run off a rating of 92. Of course he can be a hostage to fortune being a hold-up horse (didn’t get a clear passage last time out) but at a double figure price he is worth chancing here.

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

Paul Jacobs’ Saturday horse racing tips

14.20 Haydock – Speycaster
14.40 Kempton – On A Session
15.10 Ascot – River Nymph
16.05 Haydock – Sunday Sovereign


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