Weekend Racing: Gutsy Young Rascal Could Score Again6 min read
The Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue, but today’s final group one of the 2019 flat season at Doncaster – formerly the Racing Post Trophy – promises to be a most informative contest.
Magna Grecia (6/4) went down by a neck to French raider Persian King in the Gp 3 Autumn Stakes at Newmarket last time and lost little in defeat as trainer Andre Fabre thinks his juvenile could be a genuine Guineas contender next spring.
Turgenev (4/1) represents the all-conquering John Gosden yard who should know where they stand with Phoenix Of Spain (4.05) who was beaten less than two lengths by Too Dan Hot in the Champagne Stakes over 7f here last month.
The each way selection is 5/1 and this race was nominated as his end-of-season target by trainer Charlie Hills after he landed the Acomb Stakes at York back in August. The selection is not guaranteed to appreciate the step up to a mile on breeding, but I do feel that Champagne Stakes is the best form in the book and 5/1 looks a fair each way price.
Phoenix Of Spain
Over at Newbury in the listed Radley Stakes Ceratonia (3.55) can take advantage of the drop in grade with the drop back to 7f considered a plus for the Charlie Appleby-trained filly. The selection is a half-sister to Wild Illusion – Prix Opera winner at Longchamp this month – but is by Oasis Dream and I feel she should have too much class for her rivals although a market move for the once-raced Zofelle would be of interest.
In the race formerly known as the St Simon Stakes I hope to see Young Rascal (2.20) build on a gutsy win in the Dubai Duty Free Stakes returning from a break last time. He is penalised 3lbs for that success, but today’s additional furlong will suit the colt who would appreciate any rain.
The selection is 7/4 and I remember the excellent William Haggis interviewed after the horse had won last time – he told the owner not to come to Newbury as he thought he would need the run. With that in mind he should be spot on this afternoon.
In the opening 3m 1f Handicap Chase at Cheltenham my two against the field are Doing Fine (7/1) and Braquer D’Or (2.00) with marginal preference for the latter who should enjoy the good ground and who carries just 10st 4lbs this afternoon. Paul Nicholls has his string in good form and this inmate improved for the switch to fences last term finishing fourth in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury. At 10/1 he gets the each way vote.
In the 4-year-old Hurdle I fancy Gumball (2.35) in receipt of 8lbs from Redicean. The selection finished runner up to We Have A Dream in the Aintree Grade 1 Hurdle and looked good when winning his first couple of starts on decent ground back in the autumn.
Movewiththetimes (4.55) failed to live up to expectations over fences in a light campaign last season, but he retained his novice status and should have his optimum conditions today. Barry Geraghty takes the ride and he can take advantage of the 8lbs he receives from Monbeg Legend who had his limitations exposed at Chepstow two weeks ago.
Aintree | Sunday
The highlight of a cracking card at Aintree on Sunday is the Old Roan Chase and Value At Risk (3.00) gets a narrow vote for Dan and Harry Skelton. The horse is not the most reliable, but he put his best foot forward when scoring at Ayr last spring and first time out might be the time to catch him. He is 5/1 and is the each way recommendation.
Value At Risk