David Massey has four Saturday bets including a 22/1 fancy in a Newbury handicap.
1pt e.w Blackrod in 2.30 Ayr at 9/2 (General - 1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6)
1pt Khaadem in 2.15 Newbury at 4/1 (General)
1pt win King Of Clubs in 3.25 Newbury at 11/2 (Betfair & Paddy Power)
1pt e.w Melayu Kingdom in 4.00 Newbury at 22/1 (Sky Bet - 1/5 1,2,3,4)
Not much to choose between Euchen Glen and Juan Elcano on form, but we both agree that the weight concession is perhaps the deciding factor between the pair. The latter was biting off more than he could chew in a strong International Stakes at York last time, and will appreciate both the ground and the return to Listed company, having scored at this level at Royal Ascot.
He followed that with an excellent second in the Group 2 York Stakes when just denied by Bangkok, and a repeat ought to be just enough to seem him home ahead of Jim Goldie’s top-weight, who took the Gala Stakes at Sandown in the summer, and is not judged harshly on his last two runs.
BLACKROD looks to have an outstanding chance in the Silver Cup, and despite a shortish price, he’s hard to oppose. The Michael Dods-trained three-year-old arrives in a progressive vein of form, his penultimate win at Newmarket is working out really well, and he can race off the same mark as when winning a competitive apprentice handicap over five furlongs at York last month. He won that day despite finding the drop in trip against him, and was forced to race away from the favoured rail, so his win deserves to be marked up. He will appreciate the return to six here, and simply looks well ahead of his mark.
In terms of dangers, the same owner’s Bickerstaffe is well worth a second look having got bogged down in appalling ground in the Stewards’ Sprint at Goodwood last time. He was behind Blackrod at York in June, but improved to win well at Ascot next time, and he remains on a workable mark with the Goodwood flop very easy to forgive.
David’s keen on Lord Rapscallion running a big race, having been in the frame in a couple of big handicaps this season. Despite running most of his races over 7f this year, he’s got the toe to lead the high numbers and the stamina to finish off. It’s a question of whether the high numbers are still disadvantaged after last night’s rain, or whether it has brought them into play.
The Ayr Gold Cup is often a nightmare, and it could be argued that it’s almost impossible to unpick once again, but I’ve had my eye on one for this since the middle of the summer, and while I’ve already thrown a few shekels at Ostilio at big odds for a couple of other engagements, this has always looked likely to have been his primary target, and he very much caught the eye in the Beverley Bullet last time. However, the 12s and 14s yesterday has long gone and the 8s this morning looks short enough.
It’s a tough race, and in an effort to find something we both liked at bigger prices we came up with a couple of old warriors in Hey Jonesy and Mr Lupton. The case for the former is simple enough in that he’s got a chance to lead the low numbers (who, to varying extents, all want some cover) and is well handicapped, being a pound lower than his 2020 Wokingham win. Ideally, we’d have liked to have seen a change of headgear, but nevertheless he makes some appeal.
Mr Lupton’s last three runs need forgiving, but he’s been banging his head against a wall in competitive handicaps on a mark probably a bit on the high side. This, of course, is equally competitive but he’s starting to drop in the handicap, Oisin McSweeney can take seven off his back, and he’s the sort of horse to bounce back from a few poor efforts to run well. Cheekpieces are applied today, and he’s starting to drift to an appealing price.
We will revisit this around 10am when prices have settled to see if one, or either, can be made a full bet.
The going on the straight course at Newbury was, according to one veteran punter who walked it prior to racing on Friday, better under the stands rail than in the centre of the track, and that seemed to be confirmed when 12/1 shot Deodar took the widest course to land the opener.
If the stands side is the place to be, then Scarborough Stakes winner KHAADEM is in pole position, and the switch to front-running tactics seemed to suit him well at Doncaster, where he broke the track record on his first try at five furlongs. It’s taken connections some time to work out that the minimum trip is what he needs, but that does seem the case, and he should once again be very hard to catch, for all the going won’t be quite as quick here.
We’ve been with KING OF CLUBS a couple of times this year after David saw his potential at Nottingham earlier in the season (you might recall the trainer was less than impressed with his defeat on seasonal debut) and we’re with him again today.
He has been involved in some close finishes this season, always the one finishing best, but coming off worst at Nottingham and Sandown before finally getting the better of a close finish at the latter track on his latest start. The narrow margin of victory has seen him go up only 7lb for that improved effort, but the pair were five lengths clear of the others, and runner-up Victory Chime won at Chester last week to underline the strength of the form.
We’re both of the opinion that King of Clubs needs a long straight in order to show his best as he doesn’t quicken instantly, and Newbury is the perfect track for such a horse. He can progress again in the circumstances, and is a narrow choice in a competitive event.
It may be that MELAYU KINGDOM does not have the best of the draw in stall one, but if they all come across then it may not be such a disadvantage. He is the rank outsider at the time of writing, but is the least exposed and ran a remarkable race in the Champion 2-y-o Trophy at Ripon last time. Poorly away and not striding out on the infamous Ripon ridges, he looked more likely to be tailed off than win after two furlongs, and did not pick up until well after halfway.
From that point he had a wall of horses in front of him, and had to be switched around most of the field, but he finished off with a tremendous burst, albeit the winner had flown. That was Melayu Kingdom’s first run since a debut win at Thirsk in April, where he overcame considerable greenness. He has it to do on form, but I believe he’s a colt of genuine potential, and if his draw doesn’t scupper his chances, then he can spring an upset.
If you can’t get the four places with Sky Bet then a win only bet at 25s is more appealing than taking shorter odds with less places with other firms.
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