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uk racing preview 22 07 2023 sport preview

UK Racing Preview – Saturday 22nd July

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UK Horse Racing Preview

The racing in the UK doesn’t quite have the same level of excitement as we had last week with Super Saturday, but the adage that a 5/1 winner on a quiet day pays the same amount as a 5/1 winner of big race still applies. Our team have looked through the cards at Newbury and over Jumps at Market Rasen and found 4 selections for Saturday afternoon.

Newbury

Race 1: 2:25 Mettal UK Handicap

This looks to be quite a competitive staying contest on paper and several old stagers, most notably the Grand Visir and Cormier come here in good form after solid efforts at Royal Ascot and Chester respectively. However, there are some very promising younger horses in this line up and it will be a surprise if they don’t prove to be vulnerable to an unexposed improver with fewer miles on the clock. The 3-year-old Hadrianus has the highest rating in the field, but it is very debatable whether he is worth a mark of 101 after a series of one paced performances this year. The extra trip may help, and he does get a 3-year-old allowance, but there are still others who look more progressive.

Sweet William makes the most appeal. He has finished either first or second in each of his 4 starts for the Gosdens and after having the misfortune to bump into the now 109 rated Saint George at Southwell, he made no mistake next time at Doncaster. He powered through that Novice contest to win by 4-lengths and an opening mark of 88 looks very lenient as he enters handicap company. He is a half-brother to Hurricane Lane and everything in his pedigree suggests that this step up to 2-miles should bring out further improvement. He looks to be the best bet on Saturday’s cards.

Race 2: 3:35 Weatherby’s Super Sprint Stakes

Given the remarkable record that the Hannon yard have in this race, it is important to pay close attention to their entries more than most. La Guarida looks their best chance, especially if you forgive her poor showing in the Chesham. However, despite the bigger weight on her back, it is hard to get away from William Haggas’ Relief Rally. After promising wins in Novice races at Windsor and Salisbury, she took her form to another level when 2nd to Crimson Advocate in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot. She was beaten a nose in that Group 2 contest and may well have won if she hadn’t had to switch in the closing stages. That effort earned her an official rating of 106, which is the highest in this field and her experience gained from the Queen Mary should put her in good stead in this contest. She has already proved herself to be a pattern class performer and if she gets the necessary luck in running, she should prove very hard to beat.

Market Rasen

Race 3: 2:05 Unibet Betting Operator of the Year Handicap Hurdle

This isn’t the easiest start to Summer Plate Day at Market Rasen but the horse who appeals most is the Jeremy Scott trained Wavering Down. As an 8-year-old, he is relatively exposed, but he made eye-catching progress from the rear in a similar contest at Uttoxeter last time and on the strength of that performance he could be well treated on a mark of 107. In truth, he was given a lot to do that day and just failed to overhaul Karavomylos in the closing stages, but the winner had a much easier passage round Uttoxeter, and the pair had pulled 10-lengths clear of the rest at the finish line. He is only 2lbs higher here and looks to have been found a good opportunity to land a decent Saturday prize.

Race 4: 3:15 Unibet Summer Plate Handicap Chase (Grade 3)

Peter Bowen has a very good record in this race and so both of his runners deserve closer scrutiny. Francky du Berlais has won the last 2 renewals of this race and although he is now rated a pound higher than when winning this last year, he ran a perfectly respectable preparation for this when 3rd in the trial race last month. He should run his race despite carrying top weight and he does make more appeal than Courtland. Even though he arrives here on the back of a Hat-trick, he has been dominating small field races and may find this much tougher, especially on a career high mark.

We do like the chances of Francky du Berlais, but our marginal preference is still for the Maurice Barnes trained Saint Arvans. He is a 5-time winner over fences, including 2 of his last 5 and after some promising efforts, he produced a career best performance last time when he got the better of Presentandcounting at Perth. Once he hit the front at the second last, he was always in command and the second brought some solid form into that race to boost the strength of the form. He has been raised to a career high mark of 128, but this big field scenario should suit and with Conor Rabbitt claiming 5lbs off his back, he should still be competitive and represents some solid each-way value.

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