While the Champions Day at Ascot is the headline attraction on what is a decent day of racing on Saturday, there is an underrated card over in Ireland as well with a particularly appealing handicap late in the afternoon.
We have found a selection in that race as well as a couple that we like in the closer of the big meeting at Ascot in a bid to pick up a few quid of profit in a short space of time either side of the Irish Sea.
A mile and a half handicap for 3 year olds awaits with 18 runners & several in with chances. Favourite Son Of Hypnos has won his last 2 but his mark continues to rise whilst Jeff Kidder has less of a rise to overcome but only prevailed narrowly last time. Knight Of Malta, Toora Loora & Loved Out are all just coming out of maiden company & none of the 3 looks that well handicapped.
The top weight, Camorra, is the bet for us. He won on debut at 2 before being pitched into Group 2 company where he finished 4th of 5. Whilst he was somewhat outclassed, he went off at odds of 6/1 so is clearly well regarded by his yard. As a 3 year old, he’s been pitched in against St Leger winner Galileo Chrome so again has been highly tried but, in his last 2 starts at a more realistic level, has finished 3rd of 11 & 5th of 14 in handicaps off marks of 85 & 84. He races off 84 today but his jockey claims 7lbs which may make the difference. 2 starts ago over this trip, when 3rd off 85, the front 3 came 5 lengths clear of the 4th so that form looks really solid & reverting to that trip (having been tried over further last time out) looks the right move. The stable is in good form, he has a good inside draw & is now back racing in his own age category. In a weak looking race, he rates a good each way bet.
WON – Back Camorra (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 11.00 Betfair BOG (⅕ odds 1-5)
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20 runners for another excellent renewal of the straight mile Balmoral handicap. The favourite is the 3 year old Raaeq for Brian Meehan & Jim Crowley, who’s won 3 of his last 4 including an impressive 5 length beating of Breanski in a handicap here over a furlong shorter. He’s looked impressive and could progressive into Group company but remember Lord North was turned over here 12 months ago before finding Group 1 success as a 4 year old. King Ottokar has been well backed & it would be no surprise to see him run well here but he’s got a wide draw & I’m thinking low drawn horses might be favoured. Tempus & Alternative Fact appear to have been overbacked whilst Ascot specialists Kynren & Raising Sand should run their race once again. I’m taking 2 against the field here.
Njord is the Jessie Harrington raider & it’s unlikely she’d send a horse over if it didn’t have a genuine chance. Tom Marquand is a good jockey booking but of more interest is his form in big field handicaps. He’s run in 14 handicaps in the last 2 years, winning 4 and finishing in the places on a further 8 occasions. 10 of those runs have been in 14+ runner races so he’s proven in this sort of event. He’s finished 2nd in 2 of his last 3 Premier handicaps off marks of 98 and was then a close 5th of 20 in the Irish Cambridgeshire off 104 where he may have won granted a clear run. Last time, he failed to fire in a Listed race but he was wrong at the weights & would have preferred a bigger field. Off 102 here, he must surely rank as a brilliant each way punt.
The second bet is Bell Rock and this one’s credentials are easy to pick out. 2 wins from 8 career starts and, since winning on reappearance in a Newmarket handicap off 98, he’s had 3 subsequent runs off today’s mark of 103. He’s finished in the money in each, and you could argue they were 3 of the most competitive handicaps of the season. 6th of 23 in the Royal Hunt Cup, 3rd of 18 in the Unibet at Goodwood & then 3rd of 27 in the Cambridgeshire. First time cheekpieces are enlisted, the Balding yard continues in red hot form & the champ, Oisin Murphy, continues in the saddle. The other question mark is the ground but, assuming he handles it (and breeding suggests so), he must go well too.
WON – Back Njord (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 9.50 Skybet BOG (⅕ odds 1-6)
Back Bell Rock (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 15.00 Skybet BOG (⅕ odds 1-6)