Steve Hughes spreads his Saturday selections around four meetings
Whilst the World Cup takes centre stage this weekend, there is plenty of top racing action to enjoy and I have selections from four races across Britain and Ireland, all of which fall outside the times of the two matches today. The highlight today undoubtedly being the Irish Derby. Our only selection on Friday, Copper Knight duly won at 8/1.
Newmarket 1.45: Tabarrak
A steadily improving fast ground performer, Tabarrak is of plenty of interest in this Group 3 and I expect him to overturn recent Haydock form with Larchmont Lad.
A close third that day over this 7f trip, despite winning over that same course and distance earlier in the season, I think Tabarrak will prefer today’s stiffer and straight 7f course where he can gain a better galloping rhythm.
The last time we saw him on a straight track on fast ground was when beating recent Group 1 winner Accidental Agent at Newbury in September and that form will be plenty good enough at this level.
Newcastle 2.05: Higher Power & Byron Flyer
A winner for us in this race last year, I can see Higher Power making another bold show in this year’s Northumberland Plate.
The 6yo looks a real All Weather specialist and backed up his consistent record on an artificial surface with an authoritative display in defying a big weight then. He is a strong traveller, which is just what you want for this sort of contest, but I think he finds the tactical way group races are run against his style of racing and that is the grade of race he has been forced into over the past twelve months. He did run much better on sand at Chelmsford last time and given he is only a pound higher rated than for last year’s contest I see no reason why he won’t be on the scene again.
Despite going up in the handicap for not winning, Byron Flyer offers an each-way alternative. Forget his last run where he was struck into, but prior to that he was second at Haydock and ran well in the Chester Cup consolation. He has the right running style for this race where it pays to be handy, though not necessarily leading. He also has two wins and a second place from four runs on the All Weather and looks as good as ever at the age of seven.
York 2.45: Kaeso
This represents Kaeso’s first attempt at a mile, but on the evidence of his recent runs and on breeding (his dam Bahia Breeze was a listed winner at the distance) he will be at least as good as this new trip.
His winning form last season was largely on a softer surface (although that was probably through necessity as it was such a wet summer) but each time he was coming home strongly at the finish over 6f. His form this spring has continued his upward curve an unlucky in running fifth at Ascot, followed by a 7f win at Yarmouth.
His third place here a couple of weeks ago over that trip did suggest he now needs the extra furlong again and there is still room for improvement off his current rating of 83. With plenty of pace in the race his stalking style of racing should be suited by the way this race will be run.
Curragh 5.15: Delano Roosevelt
This revolves around whether Saxon Warrior’s Epsom defeat was a mere blip – it is to be hoped it was and that we will see a real superstar today. However odds on does not offer value and instead this race could be run for Aidan O’Brien stablemate Delano Roosevelt to pick up the pieces.
He was one of three horses to run at Royal Ascot just eight days ago, but he did not have a particularly hard race in fifth having been set far too much to do by Ryan Moore. He was only just getting going as the line approached, whilst the first two home that day exerted much more energy and could pay for this quick reappearance.
Delano Roosevelt has always given the impression of being a dour stayer and Ascot’s short straight would not have suited, neither the twists and turns of Epsom where he was sixth. I am expecting a strong gallop throughout today and that could bring his stamina into play in the closing stages, especially with today’s longer run-in.
1.5pts win – Tabarrak – 1.45 Newmarket – 4/1 general
1pt win – Higher Power – 2.05 Newcastle – 10/1 general
0.5pts each-way – Byron Flyer – 2.05 Newcastle – 22/1 general (1/5 odds first 5)
1pt win – Kaeso – 2.45 York – 3/1 general
0.75pts each-way – Delano Roosevelt – 5.15 Curragh – 18/1 Paddy Power