After three terrific days of racing at the Chester May Festival, the ITV crew move onto Ascot, Lingfield and Haydock on Saturday for an eight-race card which includes the ultra-competitive Victoria Cup.
26 runners are currently pencilled in to take on the big race handicap, which was won last year by Ripp Orf. Can the mount of Hayley Turner make it two-in-a-row over 7f? Or will we see a shock from further back?
We’ve attempted to solve that puzzle, along with all seven others, in our ITV Racing Tips.
Aidan O’Brien enjoyed plenty of success in the Guineas last weekend. He’ll have more than just an eye on the Derby as Anthony Van Dyck steps up to an extended distance for the first time at Lingfield.
That could be a worry in the eyes of some. But given the three-year-old is a son of Galileo, we don’t think it’ll be a problem. Providing he takes to the distance, it’s difficult to see him getting beat here.
Our tip was also a runner-up in Group 1 company last term and that experience should hold him in good stead against a field which lacks that sort of background. The Ballydoyle runner is the one to beat.
This is an interesting race which can go the way of Red Starlight. Richard Hannon’s charge hit the post in a hat-trick of Listed races across last season and this before finishing a creditable sixth in the Spring Cup last month.
That was a red hot renewal, while the time before she was behind the smart Sharja Bridge. This is a much tamer affair which isn’t quite as deep as her last 26-runner engagement and shouldn’t take as much effort to win.
She’s had a nice break since then too, and if she can repeat that effort when second to Sharja Bridge at Doncaster in April, the filly will certainly be on the promises.
We’ve missed these big field handicap puzzles. And after nailing one longshot and hitting the post with two others at Chester during the week, we fancy our chances with Ascot specialist Ripp Orf in the Victoria Cup.
It’s not just his win in this race 12 months ago which stands out; oh no. David Elsworth’s charge has a record which reads 1312 at this course. Break that down and he’s beaten 81 of the 84 rivals he’s faced around here.
That’s not bad by any stretch. Further confidence is gained thanks to a 2lb drop in the weights since the Spring Cup, while soft ground won’t be a problem either. Regular jockey Hayley Turner retains the ride.
ITV RACING TIPS:
1:55 Lingfield – Anapurna
2:15 Ascot – Setting Sail
2:30 Lingfield – Anthony Van Dyck (NAP)
2:50 Ascot – Salouen
3:10 Haydock – Thistimenextyear (each-way)
3:25 Ascot – Red Starlight (NB)
3:40 Lingfield – Pretty Baby
4:00 Ascot – Ripp Orf (Lively Longshot, each-way)
All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication