This Weeks’ Races: Who Are the Key Runners?

October 10, 2017

- Grant Whittington

While you may not immediately associate horse racing with the month of October, the sport of kings is one that continues all year long.

In fact, this week will see a bumper crop of races, stretching from Brighton in the South to Ayr in the North of Scotland. With the going likely to be soft in most places and a fascinating meld of flat and jump races available to punters, you main challenge is likely to be choosing where to focus your attention in the coming weeks.

This week is no exception to this rule, and in this post we will look at some of the stand-out races that are likely to wow fans across the UK. So, let’s get started!

Tuesday, 10th October

There are four meetings on Tuesday this week, including an interesting, eight-race card at Leicester. There is certainly a broad mix of races scheduled during this meeting, with everything from Class five and Class six contests on the flat to intriguing Class two events.

One of the latter is the Small Breeders’ Conditions Stakes, which is a turf race where the winner can look forward to banking a £15,562 cheque. Nine runners are scheduled to take part in the race, including the highly-fancied, bookmakers favourite Indomeneo (who can be backed at 9/2). He delivered an exceptional performance in similar circumstances at Ripon on September 30th, while the Richard Fahey-trained horse  has placed in the top two in five of his six races to date.

Trainer Eve Johnson Houghton may also fancy her chances of success with the 5/1 shot Statuario, who impressed during a win at Chepstow on September 14th (when the going was also soft). The horse struggled manfully last time out at Newmarket, however, finishing in last place and casting doubt over his chances at Leicester.

You should also look out for the Class 2 Squirrel Handicap race, which features on the same card starts at 15:55. There is no doubt that jockey Jim Crowley will expect to ride the 5/1 shot My Reward to success in this one, but he is likely to face stern competition from Blakeney Point (5/2) and Jonjo O’Neill’s Minotaur (who is priced at 9/2 and has won two of his last five flat race meetings).

Wednesday, 11th October 

Wednesday takes us to Ludlow and Kempton Park, with the former offering us seven jump races on an action-packed card.

The pick of these contests is the Rowles Fine Art Handicap Chase, which is a Class 3 race that has a total prize fund in excess of £19,000. There are 25 runners currently listed to compete, and while the odds have not yet been finalised many are tipping the excellent Meldrum Lad to lead the way. Now eight-years old, the Seamus Durack-trained horse has won three of his last four chase events, including a superb run at Huntingdon back in April in a competitive field of 10.

Look out for Henry Oliver’s seven-year old Ozzy Thomas too, who won impressively at Southwell last time out and failed to place outside of the top two at a jump event since February (apart from an unfortunate fall at Uttoxeter in July).

Kempton is an evening event, with the pick of its races coming at 19:55 in the form of the Conditions Stakes. Another Class 3 meeting, the field of 17 runners will compete for a £9,649 winners prize and a total fund of around £15,000.

Roger Varian’s Solomon’s Bay is considered to be one of the early front-runners for this event, having placed well in recent events and won impressively at Epsom Downs on June 2nd. Spring Loaded will also enter the race in excellent form, having romped to a win at Doncaster last time out from a strong field of 22 runners. Trained by Paul D’Arcy, it also placed well at Chester at the beginning of the month and certainly has the pedigree to prevail.

Thursday, 12th October

Another evening meeting is scheduled to take place at Chelmsford City the following day, as the week’s racing draws to a thrilling conclusion.

This meeting will come to the boil at 19:15, when the runners for the Bet Toteexacta At Conditions Stakes gather under starters’ orders. The winner here will walk away with a cheque of £9,704, while there are entrants from some exceptional trainers including John Gosden scheduled to compete.

Gosden’s entrant here is the four-year old Linguistic, who has failed to place outside the top two only twice in his eight outings to date. While he may have disappointed when finishing 18th at Newmarket last time out, he performed well when finishing second at Kempton Park in April and undoubtedly has the pedigree to challenge.

Other than Linguistic, Jonathan Portman’s Ickymasho may be the best placed to challenge, with his win at the same course in June likely to stand out in the mind’s of punters.

Friday, 13th October

Friday is always a hotbed of horse racing activity, and this week is no exception. The flat turf meeting at Newmarket is certainly one to look forward to, with four Class 1 races scheduled alongside a Class 2 and a Class 4 event.

The pick of these is the Bet365 Fillies’ Mile race, which will feature some of the best fillies in the sport. With a winners cheque of £283,550 on offer, the field of 14 runners will certainly compete hard for first place in what should be a keenly contested meeting.

Stellar trainer Aiden O’Brien has four entrants listed to take part, as he looks to continue his exceptional performance in Class 1 races so far this term. His win in the St. Ledger Stakes during September was his 18th Class 1 success of the season, and he remains well on course to beat Bobby Frankel’s all-time record of 25 in a single year. His filly September is highly-fancied to win this race, particularly after winning two of his last four outings (at Royal Ascot and Leopardstown) on the flat.

The Godolphin Stud And Stable Staff Awards Challenge Stakes is also likely to be a keenly-contested race, with a winners’ prize of £68,052 available to participants. Hugo Palmer’s Gifted Master is widely tipped to win here, with many pointing to the foal’s superb win at Newmarket in August to support this view.

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