While the weather may have taken a turn for the worse this week as autumn approaches, the exciting horse racing season is set to continue without interruption this weekend.
There are thirteen events taking place over the course of the next three days, with eleven flat race meetings scheduled across the length and breadth of the country. But where should you watch the racing this weekend? Here, we pick some of the best meetings…
Ascot, Friday 7th September
We start at Ascot, which will host the Festival of Food and Wine Race weekend on Friday 7th and Saturday 8th September.
Friday will see seven exciting flat races take place, with the pick of these being the 16:20 Weatherby’s Handicap. This Class II race will feature 10 outstanding runners, with the winner expected to walk away with a hefty £18,675 cash prize.
There are a few likely winners here, with Gurkha Friend being one of the most widely backed. Trained by Karen McLintock, this six-year old gelding will enter the race in exceptional form, having won two of his last three flat races over a similar distance in Ripon.
He also placed second in a competitive field at Ripon last time out, performing well in good to soft conditions at a starting price of 9/2.
Zwayyan is another runner who boasts exceptional value as an each-way bet, with this five-year old horse having romped to victory at Chelmsford at the end of August. This Andrew Balding trained horse also placed third at Ascot just three weeks ago, so he’s definitely one to watch here.
Haydock, Saturday 9th September
The iconic venue at Haydock will host another flat race meeting on Saturday, with a number of outstanding runners and riders scheduled to compete. There are three Class I races set to take place at Haydock on Saturday, including the hotly anticipated 2Red Sprint Cup Stakes.
Part of the coveted British Champions Series, the Group I outing will feature 12 talented runners and a total prize fund well in excess of £250,000.
The four-year old colt Harry Angel is the early favourite here, with bookies offering an average price of around 5/4 for the win. Trained by Clive Cox, this horse has won three of his last five sprints dating back to July 2017, including an excellent victory at York on 16th May. He also powered to victory at Haydock in heavy conditions last September, and has performed consistently on the flat since his debut in 2016.
However, he fell short at Royal Ascot in June, finishing 11th in a field of 12 despite starting at odds of 5/2. This type of performance could open the door for the four-year old Sir Dancealot to mount a series challenge, with this gelding having been superbly trained and primed by David Elsworth.
He has also won all three of his last spring outings, including his last two at Goodwood and Newbury respectively. His win at Newbury on 18th August was particularly impressive, although it has yet to be seen whether he can thrive in potentially heavy conditions.
York, Sunday 9th September
He complete a hat-trick of flat race meetings on Sunday, as we head to York in the North of England. Seven flat races are scheduled to take place here, in the type of good to firm conditions that should suit the majority of runners.
There’s a clear standout here in the form of the Class I Ryedale House Garrowby Stakes. This listed race has a total of 21 runners scheduled to compete, win a winners’ cheque of £28,355 up for grabs.
Of the likely participants, there are a number who will appeal to experienced punters. Take Sandra’s Secret, for example, as this five-year old horse has performed exceptionally well under Jim Eyre’s care.
Sandra’s Secret has enjoyed a stellar 2018 to date, having placed in the top three in each of his last six sprint outings dating back to April. This excellent run included three consecutive wins between May and June, the latter of which was achieved at York against some tough competition.
Paul Cole’s five-year old Baron Bolt is another likely contender here and there’s no doubt that this gelding will enter the race in exceptional form. After all, he achieved a superb win at Goodwood last time out, at a starting price of 8/1.
He also performed admirably at Epsom Downs at the beginning of July and is more than capable of winning over a short sprint distance.