Front Man

Steve Hughes has selections from across the country on Saturday

With no single outstanding meeting today I have decided to spread my quartet of bets across four meetings today.

Haydock 3.35: Mankib

With plenty of form with cut in the ground, Mankib is favoured today in the hope he can handle the extreme conditions faced by the horses at Haydock.

The key to this contest could be a race over course and distance last month where Mankib was a good second to today’s favourite Safe Voyage. Mankib is 3lbs better off today, but perhaps of more significance is the face Mankib will be sharper today, whilst Safe Voyage has traditionally been a better horse fresh and whether he can repeat his two spring wins here is open to question.

Mankib is 3-4 on good-to-soft going so he certainly handles a bit of cut. His only attempt on proper soft ground was in a group 1 (French 2000 Guineas) where he was a perfectly respectable eighth. Therefore I have plenty of confidence he will be ok on heavy.

Chelmsford 3.40: Qaroun

With a consistent and progressive profile overall, especially on the All Weather, Qaroun makes plenty of appeal in the feature at Chelmsford.

He showed plenty of early promise on turf with victories at Newbury and Goodwood, but since going handicapping his best efforts have been on sand. He finished his 2018 campaign with a win over this mile trip at Kempton.

He started this season with a perfectly decent second here over 7f and was a little outpaced over the same trip back on grass at Goodwood last time. I think he is well worth trying again back at a mile and as a 4yo is likely to have plenty more to offer as an older horse coming from Michael Stoute’s yard.

Newmarket 5.35: Caradoc

In the expectation that the ground does not soften up too much, Caradoc looks thoroughly unexposed after just four starts and at his first attempt at 10f, for which he was bred for.

A son of the Derby winner Camelot, Caradoc has yet to run beyond a mile. He made little show on the Rowley Mile course here on his comeback, but being hold up of a slow pace in a small field was never going to see him in his best light.

His win at Chester last season was in a style that suggested he could be up to group class in time, but he has clearly had his problems since given he only ran twice in 2018. Gelded over the winter, I am sure there is more to come up in distance.

Chepstow 8.00: Sir Roderic

A very useful animal back in 2016 when he was rated as high as 97, Sir Roderic has refound his consistency this term, albeit back at a less exalted level.

He has yet to finish outside the first four in four outings this season, and at a variety of distances between 6f and a mile. He came from way off the pace to finish in a big field at Salisbury over 6f and whilst he has a win to his name at that trip, he is surely better off over further. He was a fair fourth over today’s 7f distance at York last time in a more competitive contest, but his one win this season came right here over a mile.

The ground will be very different today to what he has been running on this season, but he has plenty of decent form on soft going in the past including two wins and a placed effort in class 3 company.

Recommended bets:

1.5pts win – Mankib – 3.35 Haydock – 7/2 general

1pt win – Qaroun – 3.40 Chelmsford – 4/1 general

1pt win – Caradoc – 5.35 Newmarket – 8/1 general

0.75pts each-way – Sir Roderic – 8.00 Chepstow – 7/1 general

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