Where to Watch the Horse Racing This Weekend
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With the weekend nearly upon us, it is time to look ahead at the upcoming race meetings and events that will invigorate your weekend plans. While the next few days may not be the busiest in terms of the sheer volume of meetings nationwide, there are one or two exceptional races to look out for at iconic locations such as Ascot and Kempton.
The question that remains, of course, is which destinations should you head to if you are in search of high quality racing this weekend? Here are our top picks…
Ascot on Saturday, 18th February
A reference to Ascot on the racing calendar always attracts attention, as this remains one of the most iconic and popular locations in the UK. Saturday will be no exception to this rule, as thousands of fans will flock to witness a pedigree day or jump racing and hurdles.
There are a number of intriguing races scheduled on Saturday, some of which will have a bearing on the soon-to-be concluded Trainers’ Championship. The pick of these is the elite-level, Grade one classified Betfair Ascot Chase, which is ran across two miles and carries a hefty winning prize of £85,425. Colin Tizzard’s Cue Card is the clear favourite in a select field of six runners, and a win would help the esteemed trainer to close the gap on the current Championship leader Paul Nicholls (who is not represented in the race).
Nicholls is well-represented in Les Ambassadeurs Casino Handicap Hurdle, however, which features a more competitive field and a first prize of £28,152. The Championship favourite has two runners in the event, including the fancied Connetable. Third placed Nicky Henderson and fourth place Nigel Twiston-Davies have two and one runners competing respectively, so this is sure to be a keenly-contested race that could have a significant bearing on the seasons’ end.
Kempton on Saturday Evening, 18th February
As the event at Ascot draws to a close, the night meeting at the iconic Kempton Park will just be getting underway. Despite the less lucrative nature of this meeting, the combination of the venue, its atmosphere and a selection of close races means that it is definitely one for the purists to enjoy.
The headline event is undoubtedly the 32Red/EBF Stallions Breeding Fillies’ Handicap, which has a current field of 14 runners and a winners’ prize of £9,649. The form guide suggests that the William J. Haggas-trained Bargain Buy is a fair favourite for the race, having earned three wins from six runs in 2016 and placed third in its last outing at Lingfield.
For those in search of a darker horse and a little more value, however, the Irish-owned Bahaarah (trained by the esteemed Richard Hannon) represents a good pick. Priced at around 16/1, he has a good pedigree and an outside chance of prevailing despite placing poorly during his last outing at Chelmsford City a mere 10 days ago.
These are just a select few of the meetings and races scheduled for this weekend, so be sure to check the calendar and see which events are being hosted close to you on Saturday and Sunday!