Charlie McCann of BetVictor.com with the best bets from day one of Future Champions Weekend
There is a terrific card at Newmarket this afternoon with the feature contest the Group 1 Fillies’ Mile. Aidan O’Brien has saddled the winner three times in the last four years and, with Ryan Moore down under for the ride on US Navy Flag at Randwick tomorrow morning, it will be Donnacha O’Brien who rides BetVictor’s 10/3 joint favourite Hermosa (3.35) who gets the vote.
The selection made most to win a Naas Group 3 over 7f last time when the further she went the better she went – today’s step up to a mile should suit. The same sentiment can also be applied, however, to the unbeaten Prestige Stakes winner Antonia De Vega (10/3 with BetVictor) who looked in trouble for much of that Goodwood contest before getting on top close home.
Both Hermosa (25/1) and Antonia De Vega (33/1) are at the forefront of the betting for the Oaks with BetVictor and on breeding the O’Brien filly makes more appeal. She certainly won’t be 25/1 for the Epsom classic if she wins this afternoon.
Angel’s Hideaway must give 3lbs to the once-raced unbeaten pair of Frosty and Hidden Message (2.25) and it is the latter who gets the vote in the Oh So Sharp Stakes over 7f. The selection (10/3 with BetVictor) was well backed when winning a 6f Yarmouth maiden on debut and is fitted with a hood for this afternoon’s Group 3 contest. Today’s additional furlong should suit, but she is certainly not bred to be an Oaks filly despite heading that market, surprisingly, at 16/1.
Frosty (5/2 fav) created a very favourable impression when scoring at Dundalk (all-weather) on debut and there is no reason why this grey should not be at least as effective on turf.
John Gosden is a brilliant trainer and places his team expertly, but I’m not convinced he has covered himself in glory with his handling of Ben Vrackie. The Newmarket trainer has campaigned the latter over distances in excess of a mile-and-a-half in recent starts despite the colt looking a non-stayer at 1m6f behind Maid Up in a listed contest three starts back in August.
He is a fascinating contender dropped back to 12f this afternoon, but he would be running from a mark 4lbs lower if the handicapper could frame the weights today. The each way vote goes to Berkshire Royal (4.10) who has the assistance of Franny Norton this afternoon. Norton was in the plate when the selection won at Chester in mid-summer and he will be doing one of his lightest weights of the season at just 8st 1lb.
The each way selection is 14/1 at BetVictor and the form of his recent third at Ascot has been franked by the subsequent win of the runner up Ghostwatch in listed company.
Mary Sommerville (4.45) looked an unlucky loser when runner up at Kempton on debut and she is taken to go one better for Gosden and Dettori in the first division of the 7f maiden. The newcomer Firebird Song looks a likely type on breeding as does Nearooz. It should be an informative contest.
There is rain forecast at York which would suit Surya (3.50) who looked a potential group horse when scoring at Haydock from a 5lbs lower mark last time. The Gosden colt won’t have things his own way though as Canford Heights is another progressive young stayer who has plenty more to offer. , but I hope he can help set the race up for the selection who looks a real galloper.
There is heavy rain forecast for Newton Abbot and that should suit Anteros (2.50) in the marathon three-and-a-quarter-mile handicap hurdle. Irish amateur Damien Skehan comes over for the ride on this thorough stayer who may have most to fear from the Philip Hobbs-trained Vodka All The Way.
The 2m Novice Chase could easily have been run at Cheltenham later in the month. The ground may go against Lough Derg Spirit and Paul Nicholls believes Mont Des Avaloirs – a brother to the yard’s Cheltenham Festival winner Le Prezien – could make up into a near top-class novice chaser.
The vote, however, goes to the mare Maria’s Benefit (3.25) who is another exciting novice who was a slightly better hurdler than the Nicholls’ runner and has always hinted that she could make up into a decent chaser.
Sideways (4.35) is a winning pointer who has gone well fresh in the past and is worth a second glance having his first start for Christian Williams. The selection looked a thorough stayer when runner up for his previous yard at Ayr over 3m and he is one who should not be inconvenienced if the rain arrives.
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