Although this weekend’s action is a pleasurable sight, competition is high.
Whether it’s through the exciting Group 2 Hungerford Stakes, the 20-runner Great St Wilfrid Handicap, or the Group 1 Prix Jean Romanet over in Deauville, there is something for everyone over the next few days.
With that in mind, below are a few Newbury tips to consider for today, as well as one Ripon selection.
1:50 Newbury – Arrest @ 6/4 with William Hill – 3pt Win
I’m not the first, I won’t be the last, and I’m certainly not the most prominent person to tell you this, but with the rain that has hit Newbury over the last 24 hours, Arrest looks a good bet in the Group 3 Geoffrey Freer Stakes.
Does Arrest win the Geoffrey Freer Stakes tomorrow? 🤔
Watch in full: https://t.co/oiN4CYgNNx
— Racing Post (@RacingPost) August 18, 2023
As I admitted on Wednesday’s Only Fools Love Horses video, following his dominant Group 3 Chester Vase victory in May, I backed this Frankel colt for the Arc in October at 25/1.
Although that didn’t eloquently display my ability to be a good judge, the performance shown around the tight track warranted a high level of respect as he swept aside Adelaide River, a subsequent Irish Oaks and Grand Prix de Paris runner-up.
Another wide-margin winner in testing conditions!
Arrest eases to the Boodles Chester Vase Stakes 🏆
— ITV Racing (@itvracing) May 10, 2023
Two runs since on good-to-firm ground in the Group 1 Epsom Derby and Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes, the latter behind King Of Steel, haven’t seen him to the greatest effect, however, John & Thady Gosden have freshened him up since and, most importantly, the ground will be on the softer side of good.
This step-up in trip shouldn’t cause too many issues, and with the weight-for-age allowance in full force, Arrest is my horse to open up the Newbury tips.
2:25 Newbury – Whenthedealinsdone @ 15/2 with BetVictor – 1pt EW
In the very next race, Whenthedealinisdone looks like a standout contender at 8/1 in the Highclere Castle Gin Handicap.
The Roger Teal-trained five-year-old is on his lowest ever mark of 87 having only been rated this leniently back during his two-year-old season in October 2020.
The handicapper has obviously taken a strong view on his recent runs this season as he has dropped 11 pounds in six starts for a five-year-old who still contains his original ability.
This was displayed in his second-placed effort at Windsor when behind King Of Bavaria and ahead of the future Epsom Dash winner, Navello.
Absolutely bolted up!
— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) September 3, 2022
The Dark Angel gelding has a good record towards the middle parts of the season after a few runs under his belt and now he is three pounds below his last winning mark – and 11 pounds below his rating when third to Fast Response at Doncaster – today could be the day to catch him.
3:00 Newbury – Hodler @ 10/1 with William Hill – 1pt EW
Finally, the Heart Bingo Summer Sizzler Handicap is under the microscope and as the biggest price of the three Newbury tips, Jim Boyle’s Hodler at 12/1 looks like an interesting bet.
Unfortunately, at the time of writing, the 25/1 early price has dissipated to a skinnier 12/1, however, there’s plenty of reason to suggest why.
Putting his disappointing effort on good-to-firm ground on Epsom Oaks day to one side, the Sea The Moon four-year-old defeated Charlie Fellows’ Gorak by two lengths on soft ground at Chester when officially rated two pounds higher than the runner-up.
14/1 winner for our man Hugh Taylor 🙌
— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) May 10, 2023
Following that run, Gorak won a Haydock handicap 17 days later before he finished just two lengths behind Jumby in the Group 3 John Of Gaunt Stakes, a performance that saw the handicapper raise him 19 pounds to a mark of 105, 23 pounds higher than his Chester second.
Furthermore, Paws For Thought crossed the line in third during that previously mentioned Chester race, a horse who went on to win three on the bounce later this season, while the fourth, Broken Spear, was a winner Leicester on his next start and the fifth, Another Batt, has since completed a quickfire double.
On that Chester race alone, Hodler looks well-handicapped off 89 even before you look at his final start of last season where he finished second to Astral Beau, a horse that has improved 24 pounds since.
— Steven Cargill (@Steven_Cargill) October 29, 2022
Out of stall four on Saturday, there should be pace around him thanks to Isla Kai in five and Top Secret in three, and I hope that the five-pound claim of jockey Luke Catton can help Hodler make it two wins from three races.
Bonus Fancy: 2:40 Ripon – Holbache @ 9/1 with William Hill – 1pt EW
Finally, away from Newbury, today’s card at Ripon is certainly one to be excited by with the Great St Wilfrid looking as competitive as ever, but in the race directly before, Holbache is a horse I can’t let go off unbacked at 9/1.
The five-year-old by Coach House has been a loyal servant for the Worcestershire-based team during his three years on the track, a run that has included six wins from 27 outings.
Two of those victories have occurred in his last five races and in both of those successes on the all-weather last year, he delivered a very impressive front-running performance.
— Kempton Park Racecourse (@kemptonparkrace) October 12, 2022
After a winter break, he returned to the track last month with a promising seasonal opener at York under today’s jockey Connor Beasley, a run that should have him spot-on for today.
Thanks to the handicapper dropping him two pounds for the run last time out, he can certainly make a mark of 71 work, so the hopes are high for a good run today.