Saturday Racing Preview: Top Tips From Ascot, Lingfield And Haydock

Betfred's Matt Hulmes gives us his best tips ahead of Saturday's horse-racing action
15:58, 12 May 2023

It has been quite an informative week at Chester in terms of the Betfred Derby and Betfred Oaks picture with the Frankie Dettori ridden colt Arrest and Aidan O’Brien trained filly Savethelastdance both announcing themselves as major contenders at Epsom next month.

The Lingfield Derby and Oaks Trials will unearth more leading players on Saturday afternoon which forms the centrepiece of ITV’s live coverage alongside action at Ascot and the competitive Swinton Hurdle at Haydock.  


The Victoria Cup is one of these big field handicaps that punters can’t help themselves from attempting to solve and I am no different, as finding the winner is very satisfying. 

Plenty of Ascot straight course regulars feature like Fresh, Accidental Agent, Ropey Guest and Orbaan back for more course success while Vafortino bids to defy a 10lb higher mark (factoring jockeys claim) in a bid for repeat success.

With 23 runners spread across the track, I will take one from each side. 

REBEL TERRITORY has won first time up for the last two seasons now and can build on his Newmarket reappearance success off just a 2lb lower mark when a cosy half-length verdict over Vafortino suggested he had more to come. As a winner over ten furlongs on soft ground I expect him to see his race out well.

PEROTTO is the one I like drawn stands side. He won the Britannia Stakes at Royal Ascot as a 3yo and now finds himself 2lb lower on his first star for Roger Varian. His soft ground form features a third in a big field Newmarket sales race and fourth to the great Baaeed at Goodwood two seasons ago proving he can handle cut in the ground. He returns 3lb lower than when mid pack in the Balmoral Handicap on Champions’ Day here in October and the drop in trip should also help him see it out well.


The Swinton Hurdle has served us well in recent years having strongly fancied the ill fated Copperless in 2021 and going for Severance who was only denied by a revitalised N’Golo last season. 

Both of those found their way to the head of the market and a similar scenario will probably apply to BRENTFORD HOPE here. He was once thought of as a Derby type by connections after making an impressive winning debut at Newmarket as a 2yo, but he was off the track for ten months. 

He is a strong traveller who Jamie Spencer has won very cheekily on more than once and was second to the very useful Victor Ludorum in a group 3 in France back in July 2021. He continued to mix it in group company in the continent before the Richard Hughes yard decided to try hurdling last November. 

A pair of seconds in novice hurdles saw him get a very favourable mark of 113, compared to his flat rating of 102 (usually about 30-35lb difference in the two codes) and again he finished second 0n handicap debut. 

It was enough for rookie trainer Harry Derham to part with 90,000 guineas to secure his services and he has landed two races subsequently with the minimum of fuss. He has incurred a 9lb rise for the latest victory but he surely still has plenty of mileage in his mark on just a sixth hurdles start. A fast pace around Haydock will suit him ideally.


The King could himself have a live Betfred Derby contender in CIRCLE OF FIRE if he is victorious in the Lingfield Derby Trial. With Aidan O’Brien not declaring his runner, Ryan Moore takes the ride on the Sir Michael Stoute trained 3yo who started his season with a staying on second at Newmarket last Friday.

On that effort and on breeding he will relish another quarter of a mile in trip while his half-sister was a winner on the all-weather which bodes well. 

Military Order is a full-brother to 2021 Derby hero Adayar and is the one to beat after a pair of novice race victories but is a short price partly on reputation while Circle Of Fire is already proven in pattern company.

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