Saturday Racing Preview: Flat Season Steps Up Another Gear This Weekend

Classic trials at Newbury and competitive handicaps at Musselburgh are the order of the day
16:02, 15 Apr 2022

With the jumps season drawing to a close next week, the flat really took hold this week with the Craven meeting at Newmarket and it steps up another gear this weekend with classic trials at Newbury and competitive handicaps at Musselburgh the order of the day. 


The Fred Darling is a trial for the 1000 Guineas and with the blue bandwagon of Godolphin sweeping all before them this week, it is hard to look past William Buick’s mount, Wild Beauty, here. She was last seen finishing fifth in the Group 1 Filles Mile when sent off just 15/2 and brings the best form into this contest. 

However, Roger Varian’s team struck form with a vengeance this week and I can’t let MISS CAROL ANN go unbacked each way. 

She made a very eye-catching debut at Newmarket in September and was far too keen on soft ground when well held behind Jumbly in October. That wasn’t her running as she had no chance of seeing it out and back on better ground here, she is taken to show that form all wrong and is worth an interest at a double figure price.



A competitive sprint handicap can go to Julie Camacho’s MAKANAH. His course record reads 1123 and he runs here off his lowest mark since June 2020. That obviously coincides in a drop off in form, but he goes well fresh, we know he likes the track, has a fair draw in 6 and will get the decent pace he needs to be at his best with trailblazer Copper Knight drawn nearby. 

The likes of Copper Knight, Dakota Gold and Justanotherbottle have high marks to defy, and the first named pair will no doubt benefit from their seasonal debuts. Raasel was a winning machine when last seen last season racking up a five-timer and returns 21lb higher in the handicap for those victories.



SIR RUMI ran some good races in decent 3yo middle distance handicaps last season, including a fifth at Royal Ascot. His seasonal return was full of promise when having to make his own running in a small field at Doncaster, getting just 1lb from a rival rated 10lb higher. 

Rossa Ryan looks set for a successful season in the saddle and although stall 13 is far from ideal despite the long trip, the young Irishman can plot a path on a horse I think can continue to progress through the ranks this season. 

Zero Ten for Grand National winning trainer Emmet Mullins tops the weights and the market. He is a useful jumps performer but ran sixth in the Group 1 Prix Royal Oak in October, form that entitles him to leading claims back in handicap company.



ZABEEL CHAMPION looks a very well handicapped horse right at the foot of the weights here. He is rated 103 on the flat for Mark Johnston and after three runs over hurdles for Jonjo O’Neill, is just 116 here. Rule of thumb is usually around 30-35lbs higher in the National Hunt sphere, so the potential for ZABEEL CHAMPION to be ahead of his mark is huge. 

Only fourth last time out, soft ground at a stiff track could have been a reasonable excuse, but a quick two miles around Haydock should suit ideally. He won on hurdles debut and even his second to Nurse Susan, subsequently fourth at the Cheltenham Festival, gives him massive claims here. With the prospect of more improvement, he has the potential to take this contest apart.


3.52 HAYDOCK – BAVINGTON BOB          

The story of the Hamilton’s is a heart-warming one with the small outfit who have just the four horses operating at a 42% strike rate this season.

BAVINGTON BOB is responsible for four of those thirteen wins, his only defeat over fences was trying to give 6lb to the now 150 rated Sounds Russian on chasing debut. He has won his last four over this trip on a variety of grounds and he can take another step up the ladder in this series final. 

Another 9lb rise for his latest victory may not be the ceiling of his ability and despite other last time out winners in here like Musical Slave, Breizh Alko and Kap Auteuil, nothing has the progressive profile of the selection. Kap Auteuil needs to prove his stamina for this trip, Musical Slave has plenty of miles on the clock and Breizh Alko is a lightly raced 11yo who is 2lb out of the handicap.


*18+ | BeGambleAware

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