We’ve got some top class, competitive races to look forward to on Saturday but with seven meetings taking place in Britain and Ireland alone, where should we look to find the best of the action?
Here we highlight some of the best events and the most intriguing clashes of the weekend.
Gold Cup the Highlight at Ayr
The biggest day of flat racing in Scotland is hosted at Ayr, when alongside some valuable support races the west coast track lays on the Ayr Silver Cup, a consolation race for the Ayr Gold Cup, a 25-runner 6-furlong dash worth £200,000.
Punters have been latching onto Buffer Zone, an easy winner of a valuable handicap at the Curragh last time, and Summerghand who has close form with the likes of Cape Byron, Khaadem and Dakota Gold giving him a rock-solid look form-wise.
Newbury hosts a fascinating match-up in the Group 3 World Trophy Stakes over five furlongs too. Michael Dods’ Dakota Gold, now rated 110 having won four races in a row including the Great St Wilfrid and a Listed event at York, goes up against Charlie Hills’ Equilateral who won recently at Doncaster.
Dakota Gold is on a great run at present and is rated 2lbs higher than his rival, although the son of Equiano has long been thought of as a Group performer and was beaten only a neck by Dods’ own Mabs Cross at the start of the season. Should he finally show his best form here, he could be great value against the favourite.
The Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes is one of the top sprinting events for juveniles of the campaign and this year it seems Mystery Power and the unexposed Pierre Lapin are the ones to concentrate on, the race being run at Newbury at 2.55.
It’s All About the Prep
While the above action is about the here and now, some of this weekend’s races are a nod to the near future. Newbury hosts the Group 3 Legacy Cup Stakes, formerly known as the Arc Trial, and while it is no longer considered a reliable precursor to the big one in Paris it still features some promising future middle-distance types with Owen Burrows’ 4-year-old Wadilsafa capable of so much more now stepping up in trip.
Over at Newmarket this year’s Cesarewitch Trial is run with the proper course and 2¼-mile distance used. Last year three of the first five home in the trial went on to contest the Cesarewitch itself, so it’s a very reliable prep race indeed. Land Of Oz and Charles Kingsley are among the principles, each priced up at 33/1 for the big one on October 12th.
Over in the States too there is a top-class event for the three-year-olds, the $1million Pennsylvania Derby at Parx.
Naturally this is a big race in its own right with Improbable, War Of Will and Kentucky Derby ‘first past the post’ Maximum Security all present, but the point is that the winner here will be considered a viable threat to McKinzie in the $6million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on November 2nd and so winning this race is about so much more than a bit of glory on the day.