Steve Hughes has selections for the big betting races at Chepstow and Newmarket on Saturday
We have the best of both worlds on Saturday with top class flat racing at Newmarket and the best day over jumps of the new season at Chepstow. However recent incessant rain at both tracks means stamina is the key word with betting in mind. Joe Farrell was placed for the each-way bet on Friday (advised 10/1.)
Chepstow 3.20: Ballyoptic
Last season was not a fruitful one for Ballyoptic, but the Twiston-Davies yard has made the usual flying start to the autumn and I expect the 9yo to bounce back after a drop in his rating and with his proven stamina to the fore in such testing conditions.
He only completed the course once in four outings last term – falling twice over the National fences and finding the going too fast at Haydock. However he was a more than respectable sixth in the Welsh National here and is 3lbs lower today.
He had a cracking novice campaign, landing the Grade 2 Towton in bottomless conditions at Wetherby, placing fourth in the RSA and just getting touched off in the Scottish National in a photo. He also won the Silver Trophy on this card in 2016 and he will profit more for the unseasonably slow going than most.
Newmarket 4.10: Time to Study & Great Trango
A fascinating Cesarewitch for big money with plenty of unexposed 3yos, a big Irish contingent and a horse placed in a Group 1 last weekend. From this illustrious group I have picked out two.
Time to Study has rampaged back to form in recent weeks with wins in France and most recently on very soft ground at Haydock. It could be argued he got the run of the race last time, but Cieren Fallon simply used the horse’s proven stamina to best effect and the pack could not get back to him. He is already proven at marathon trips having placed third over 2m4f at Royal Ascot in the summer and he probably came from farther back than ideal into the short straight. The recent application of cheekpieces has sharpened up this lazy individual and he is technically 3lbs well in after reassessment of that Haydock victory.
Of all the major Irish stables represented Great Trango comes from the most unheralded yard, of David Kelly. However the continuous rain surely enhances his chances greatly. He enjoyed a fair summer campaign on good going, headlined by a win over nearly 3m in a Galway Festival hurdle. However he won over 3m on heavy at Limerick at this time last year and won at Galway on the flat in very testing conditions in 2018. In short the more rain that falls the better – especially as he has a nice low weight.
Chepstow 4.30: Remastered & Champagne Court
A cracking renewal of the Silver Trophy which well worth two darts with so many unexposed promising horses in the line up.
The one I think has the most potential to improve to graded class is Remastered. Having shown promising bumper form in Ireland he was an all the way winner of his only bumper for David Pipe at this track. He then put in a stunning performance on heavy going on hurdling debut at Ffos Las. He probably came back too quickly when disappointing next time out, but his one run in the spring was decent when chasing home the top class Dashel Drasher at Newbury. He will relish the testing ground and 10-8 is a lovely racing weight.
Considering he was placed at the Cheltenham Festival it is surprising to see Champagne Court right at the bottom of the weights. He ran a cracker to be fourth in the Martin Pipe and was subsequently third at the big Sandown meeting on the final day of term, especially as the ground was faster than ideal. Trainer Jeremy Scott campaigned him at a high level last season and so a mark of 126 (plus 5lbs allowance for his jockey) could look very lenient.
Chepstow 5.05: Templehills
I am banking on a fine record fresh plus a recent change of yards will do the trick for Templehills.
He has moved to Jonjo O’Neill for the new campaign and on a good day he loves to front-run and jump his rivals into submission. His record fresh in recent seasons reads 12110 (the one unplaced run coming at the Cheltenham Festival and given his exuberance it is perhaps understandable that he can’t repeat big performances every time.
He has shown in the past he handles soft/heavy going winning at Warwick and finishing a close second on Welsh National day two seasons ago. With promising conditional Ed Austin taking off 7lbs he only has a featherweight 9-10 to carry which could prove decisive on such testing ground.
1.5pts win – Ballyoptic – 3.20 Chepstow – 9/2 general
0.5pts each-way – Time to Study – 4.10 Newmarket – 22/1 general (most bookies 1/5 odds 1st 6)
1pt each-way – Great Trango – 4.10 Newmarket – 18/1 Coral (1/5 odds 1st 7)
1pt win – Remastered – 4.30 Chepstow – 6/1 general
0.75pts each-way- Champagne Court – 4.30 Chepstow – 7/1 general (most bookies 1/5 odds 1st 5)
0.75pts each-way – Templehills – 5.05 Chepstow – 8/1 general