Chris Day looks ahead to Saturday's action and has three bets across the meetings at Newmarket and Chester.
1pt Zinc White in 2.05 Chester at 8/1 (bet365)
1pt e.w Haunted Dream in 3.40 Newmarket at 25/1 (bet365, Betfair, Paddy Power 1/5 1,2,3,4,5)
1pt e.w Dutch Decoy in 3.40 Newmarket at 40/1 (William Hill, Coral 1/4 1,2,3,4)
There was a time not so long ago when the perceived wisdom was that three-year-olds held a big advantage over their older rivals receiving 5lbs when it came to the bet365 Cambridgeshire but it’s taken a really good one in recent years to prove the fact.
Lord North was the most recent and he’s gone on to win countless Group One races and almost £7,000,000 in prize money since swooping late to beat Beringer under an ice cool Frankie Dettori ride four years ago.
That win came from a mark of 98 and the Juddmonte-owned Greek Order, a facile winner of a strong looking Newbury three handicap after getting up late at Sandown, looks to become the latest member of the Classic generation from a 3lbs lower mark.
He really does have the look of the proverbial Group horse in a handicap and, granted a decent draw, it’s easy to see him becoming the third winner of this toughest of handicaps for the Charlton stable.
Held up off the pace by Oisin Murphy at Newbury last time, he travelled like a good horse and quickened in some style and could easily be competing at the top level by Royal Ascot next June.
As usual, the issue is his price and it’s been a decisive advantage to be drawn high in recent years so it’s worth waiting to see how the draw pans out on Thursday if you fancy his chances.
The James Bethell-trained Oviedo, who won the Zetland Gold Cup at Redcar in May, is another three-year-old who looks to be still progressing and was an excellent second to Astro King at York’s Ebor meeting.
His stamina can be an asset over the straight nine furlongs but he’s not weighted to turn the tables on the winner here and could possibly need further already although he’s another sure to be plying his trade in Pattern company before long for a stable who have enjoyed an excellent season.
Astro King has been a shrewd purchase out of the Stoute stable for Daniel Kubler and should have won at York’s Dante meeting before disappointing in the Royal Hunt Cup so the York success was well deserved although he does have a mountain to climb off top weight.
Last year’s winner Majestic has not gone on from that but finds himself well treated as a result and Jack Channon has also had a great start to his training career and a win here would set the seal on a great campaign but his runner will need to show quite a bit more zip than has been evident of late.
In recent times, this race has seemed to go to some pretty exposed winners and in HAUNTED DREAM Ed Dunlop could have the horse to cap his best season for some time.
This horse normally seems to find one too good but is a tough type who invariably runs his race as he did in third behind Astro King and Oviedo at York and this could be his day over a slightly shorter trip on ground with a little more ease in it.
His previous Goodwood effort when splitting Ancient Rome and Pride Of America reads very well now and I can see him taking up the running a furlong out and being difficult to pass, so the 25/1 each way (five places) with the sponsors looks the value at this stage for a horse who should not be phased by anything he’s likely to face at the weekend.
The other horse I think worth taking a big price each way about is the ultra consistent DUTCH DECOY, who led to the furlong pole here last year and confirmed his liking for the Suffolk air when having his day in the sun at the July meeting. On Saturday he is 3lbs better off with Liberty Lane despite holding a two lengths advantage at the line.
That horse has subsequently won a good race at Doncaster but Dutch Decoy can be backed at 40/1 and, if his jockey can keep him covered up for longer, there’s every chance he can be there at the finish so another each way play is the recommendation as a saver.
There are some high class two-year-old races on the card but it’s hard to know what Aidan O’Brien will run from a big entry numerically and I think these will be much easier races to analyse after the declarations are known so the other bet goes in the Watergate Handicap at Chester run over the Chester Cup distance.
Ian Williams looks to hold a strong hand including the six-year old, Zealandia, a comfortable winner at Sandown last time although I’m far from convinced the runner-up Nathanael Greene is a horse who fancies a battle and this could take a lot more winning over a half mile extra.
The trainer does very well in these races and his ZINC WHITE, who won the Chester Cup consolation race in May, gets his ideal conditions having found the ground at Ascot too fast and being drawn out of things at Galway subsequently.
At his best he’s a strong stayer with a very smart turn of foot and he won’t find anything as good as Novel Legend, who he beat here in May, in this line up, so he has to be the choice at 8/1.
Published at 0950 BST on 26/09/23
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