Olympic to strike Gold
Man On The Spot previews the eight televised races on Saturday from Ayr and Newbury.
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1350 Newbury - Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise Stakes (Registered As The John Porter Stakes) (Group 3)
Allied Powers was runner-up in this Group 3 12 months ago and should be thereabouts again, despite making his seasonal reappearance. Fattsota was second on the Tapeta at Meydan in February and will appreciate the switch back to Turf while Model Pupil may be about to start fulfilling his potential after an easy win at Doncaster. Universal defied a big weight in a decent handicap at Lingfield earlier this month but needs to take a further step forward here. NOBLE MISSION looks the one to be on as he beat subsequent St Leger hero Encke in the Gordon Stakes last July and lost nothing in defeat behind useful filly Hazel Lavery on his final start of 2012 over today's course and distance. Guarantee was a long way behind Encke in the St Leger but had won his three previous starts and could develop into a cup horse this term. Ed de Gas and Quiz Mistress will find easier opportunities in the months ahead.
1405 Ayr - Arcadia Consulting William Dickie & Mary Robertson Future Champion Novices' Chase (Grade 2)
Radjhani Express has been raised 10lb since scoring at Cheltenham but runner-up Ackertac franked the form earlier this week so the form looks solid. Changing Times was third to Benefficient in a Grade 2 at The Festival, when Desert Cry was pulled up, and was also placed behind Captain Conan in a Grade 1 at Aintree but he has quite a bit to find with TAP NIGHT on that run. Lucinda Russell's six-year-old stayed on strongly into second in that latter race and can go one better here as Rebel Rebellion was scheduled to contest a novices' handicap here yesterday. Drumshambo and Aibrean may struggle in this grade.
1420 Newbury - Berry Bros & Rudd Magnum Spring Cup Handicap
A number of these clashed in the William Hill Lincoln with Levitate coming out best, a short-head in front of Global Village with Brae Hill third and Justonefortheroad fourth. CHAPTER SEVEN wasn't far behind in sixth having looked as though he'd come on for the run and Stuart Williams' four-year-old is a sporting selection in a wide-open handicap. Captain Bertie was a leading fancy on Town Moor but never figured and is 8lb higher than when winning this 12 months ago but Educate, successful in the consolation Spring Mile at Doncaster, still looks to be heading in the right direction while Invisible Hunter could be a threat if fully recovered from whatever was wrong in the second half of last year. He beat today's rival Dream Tune in a maiden at Sandown last July. Border Legend is also fairly unexposed but Gouray Girl has more to do than when winning over 7f at Doncaster and Musselburgh second Laffan is probably also better over that shorter trip.
1440 Ayr - QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle (Grade 2 Limited Handicap)
Grumeti has clearly had his problems lately and is probably best watched here while the ground looks too soft for last year's runner-up Local Hero. Triumph Hurdle third Sametegal is worth a second look tackling older horses for the first time while Shotavodka and Ifandbutwhynot are capable of bouncing back from recent setbacks but this looks a big ask for Plumpton winner Court Minstrel and Irish raider Silk Hall at the weights. UNE ARTISTE simply wasn't good enough against Quevega and company at Cheltenham but, back over 2m on soft ground, will be more at home here and may well to be good enough to beat the boys.
1455 Newbury - Dubai Duty Free Stakes (Registered As The Fred Darling Stakes) (Fillies' Group 3)
Richard Hannon has a powerful crop of three-year-olds this year and runs both City Image and Maureen in this. The former was behind Melbourne Memories on her latest start at Newmarket in November, however, while the latter had a rear view of ROSDHU QUEEN in the Cheveley Park along with The Gold Cheongsam. Willie Haggas' star filly is stepping into unknown territory over this extra furlong but connections will probably feel they have nothing to lose ahead of a possible tilt at the 1000 Guineas and she can extend her unbeaten record. Agent Allison was second in the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot last year and far from disgraced in the Prix Marcel Boussac at Longchamp in the autumn when she may have needed the run. She'll expose any stamina limitations in her rivals and is preferred to Desert Image of the others.
1515 Ayr - Scotty Brand Handicap Chase (Listed)
Eastlake has enjoyed a successful season but was due to run here yesterday. Petit Robin wasn't disgraced back over fences at Cheltenham in a race in which His Excellency was a faller having finished third in the Arkle just three days earlier. He was also fourth in a Grade 1 at Aintree but has had a busy campaign. Pepite Rose was just touched off at Haydock last month but this looks on the sharp side for Venetia Williams' mare. Conquisto is rarely far away but SACRE TOI couldn't be in better form and has already proved himself over course and distance. Though a couple of pounds out of the handicap, we'll take James Ewart's seven-year-old to repel the southern raiders and complete the hat-trick.
1530 Newbury - AON Greenham Stakes (Group 3)
OLYMPIC GLORY only suffered one defeat last season, against Dawn Approach in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot. He won the Group 1 Grand Criterium at Longchamp over a mile in October and is difficult to oppose on his reappearance. Moohaajim was a smart performer over 6f last season, running Reckless Abandon to a neck in the Middle Park after landing the Group 2 Mill Reef here earlier. He looks a sprinter but can't be ignored and is preferred to Sir Patrick Moore, who had his limitations exposed after winning here and in France, while Musselburgh third Hiddon Coin looks well out of his depth. Correspondent also has a mountain to climb according to official figures but at least has some scope.
1550 Ayr - Coral Scottish Grand National Handicap Chase (Grade 3)
Big Occasion beat Rebeccas Choice in the Midlands Grand National when Fill The Power was fifth and Cool Operator pulled up. David Pipe's improving stayer should confirm the form with those behind but six-year-olds have a shocking record in this marathon. Bradley was a late withdrawal at Uttoxeter on account of the heavy going but he's won on the soft and is arguably the pick of the weights on his close second to Welsh National winner Monbeg Dude at Cheltenham in the autumn. He's respected with Conor Shoemark taking off 7lb while Always Right was third in this two years ago and returned to form when beating Garleton in a Listed chase at Kelso. Nuts N Bolts is another potentially well treated and he can reverse Cheltenham running with Our Mick but it's difficult to fancy Aintree hero Auroras Encore off an 11lb higher mark while this may be too tough for Haydock winner Monsieur Cadou. RIVAL D'ESTRUVAL would have been involved in the finish of the National Hunt Chase at The Festival had he not fallen two out. Pauline Robson's novice is normally a safe conveyance and would have finished well ahead of eventual third Godsmejudge had he stayed on his feet. He may well be the answer to this, though Mister Marker and the Venetia Williams' pair Rigadin De Beauchene and Relax all have place claims.