It’s a typically busy Saturday of racing action across Britain and Ireland with no fewer than seven scheduled meetings, including the Betfred Rose Of Lancaster Stakes card at Haydock.
The Merseyside venue is joined by action from Ascot, Redcar, Newmarket, Lingfield, Ayr and the Curragh on the Flat, while jumps racing takes place at Kilbeggan.
Our Saturday fancies include an Ed Walker-trained filly set to open her account on the Betfred-backed afternoon card at Haydock Park.
Haydock 3.35 – Khinjani @ 2/1
Lots of quality action from Haydock this afternoon and amongst the standout picks is KHINJANI (2/1) for trainer Ed Walker in the Betfred Supports Jack Berry House Handicap over 1m2½f.
Just five go to post for this Class 5 event and, in truth, each has some sort of a claim, but this Sir Percy filly brings the strongest credentials after a good second at Newbury last time.
Over a similar trip, she raced prominently and got to the lead with a furlong to run, only to find the challenge of Gallant Lion irresistible. Tony Carroll’s winner was completing the middle leg of a treble there and has since obliged in fine style at Sandown from 7lb higher – so it’s fair to say that Khinjani faced a stiff ask conceding him 7lb at Newbury.
She pulled right away from the remainder of her rivals, however, and while rated 3lb higher, looks perfectly primed to open her account under PJ McDonald now.
Ascot 2.45 – La Yakel @ 2/1
It’s Shergar Cup afternoon at Ascot and that brings with it some big names, including Hall of Fame rider Joao Moreira.
He partners with William Haggas in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Challenge over a mile-and-a-half. It’s a contest the trainer won 12 months ago with Pride Of Priory – and that gelding is back now in the hands of Frankie Dettori, no less – but preference is for LA YAKEL (2/1).
This lightly-raced son of Time Test scored over C&D (good to soft) last September on his maiden visit to Ascot and ran well afterwards in the Old Rowley Cup at Newmarket.
After a 281-day hiatus, he made his seasonal bow here last month and ran a race full of promise, going well throughout and finding his way to the front late on only to lose out in a close finish.
He is rated 3lb higher now but surely there is more to come after just six starts and, with fitness now assured, he can get his big-name rider on the Shergar Cup scoresheet and, in doing so, justify inclusion on the Most Napped table via the Betfred Betfinder for Saturday’s action.
Curragh 4.40 – Bucanero Fuerte @ 3/1
Group 1 action from Ireland comes along late on Saturday afternoon as the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes is the first top-level sprint for two-year-olds heading into the final throws of the season.
A field of seven are going for the bounty of €180,000 and they include Donnacha O’Brien’s unbeaten filly Porta Fortuna – a key player.
BUCANERO FUERTE (3/1) is the pick for trainer Adrian Murray, who is enjoying a sparkling season with his juveniles. A winner here on debut over 5f in March on testing ground, connections went straight to Royal Ascot and saw their colt finish a close third in the Coventry Stakes before he returned to this venue in July to win the Group 2 Railway Stakes.
He had a real set-to with Aidan O’Brien’s Unquestionable that afternoon as they stretched clear of the field and, while only a short head split them at the post, Bucanero Fuerte showed real guts to get the verdict after having been headed inside the final furlong.
There is more in his locker and any easing of the ground amid forecast for rain at the Curragh will strengthen his case.
Kevin Stott is over from England for this lone ride in the Amo Racing colours and it can prove a worthwhile journey for a jockey that is proving this season he can deal with big-race pressure.