Extremely testing conditions are likely to be in store for runners at both Doncaster and Newbury on Saturday.
The Group 1 Vertem Futurity is the feature race at Doncaster. Mogul is a very short-priced favourite but it looks a race to avoid from a betting perspective.
I am more interested in the O’Brien runner, YEAR OF THE TIGER (11/2 William Hill, BetVictor) in the Horris Hill Stakes at Newbury (2.50). He’s run 6 times in all, winning only once (beating stable-mate Innisfree, who is second favourite in the Futurity) in a Naas maiden. He then disappointed badly in the Superlative Stakes on the July course and was given a break, returning to run a fair race when fourth in the Royal Lodge. He returned to Newmarket and dropped back in trip for the Dewhurst which he found it a bit too hot, finishing fourth again.
That run was a reasonable effort I thought, he stuck on well enough and is entitled to a fair bit of respect dropping back in class to Group 3 status here. The obvious fly in the ointment is Kinross, who looked very impressive when winning by 8 lengths on his debut and who hails from a stable in good form. A son of Kingman, he has an exciting profile and could well progress further here. But there is no guarantee that will happen and that form, at face value, appears a little behind the level Year Of The Tiger has attained.
Kinross is 6/5 while Year Of The Tiger is 11/2 and, while accepting Kinross could well run out an easy and impressive winner, I’m more than happy to side with the O’Brien colt at the odds.
For the second bet I’m looking to MORANDO (2/1 generally) to do us another favour. He has an excellent record when the ground is testing, is in good form and is a course and distance winner. Royal Line comes here after a decent effort when third in last week’s Long Distance race at Ascot. This comes only 7 days after that and he has a couple of pounds to find in any case.
King’s Advice does has some form in Germany on a soft/heavy surface but that was some time ago and his UK form has generally been registered on good to firm so he has a question to answer, likeable as he is.
Morando ticks plenty of boxes and I think is over-priced at 2/1.