Royal Ascot may be just around the corner, but there’s still plenty of action to enjoy before we head to Berkshire, with seven live races from Newbury and Sandown on ITV4 this Saturday.
It’s a pretty tasty card, too, with the Group 3 Diomed Stakes headlining an afternoon which also includes a hat-trick of Listed contests and three interesting small-field Handicaps.
That’s plenty to get us excited before the main event next week, and we’ve previewed three of the televised races in our ITV Racing Tips.
Race of the Day – Diomed Stakes – Newbury, 15:35
There’s lots to like about several of the contenders in this rescheduled contest, with the highly-rated King Of Comedy, Listed winner Tabarrak and Marie’s Diamond, who scored on ITV last week, all expected to go close.
That being said, they could all find it difficult to see off the challenge of Zaaki. Sir Michael Stoute’s inmate won this race 12 months ago at Epsom and is two from two when fresh, which bodes well for this one.
The five-year-old is also a dual Group 3 winner and was only beaten a nose by the late Beat The Bank in a quality renewal of the Group 2 Summer Stakes at Ascot last summer, which is excellent form.
With the yard in excellent nick at the moment, it’d be no surprise to see Zaaki go close once again.
Next Best – Abingdon Fillies’ Stakes – Newbury, 15:00
This Listed renewal looks set to revolve around the exciting Cabaletta, who’s making her seasonal reappearance for Roger Varian after landing the odds on her only racecourse start at Yarmouth.
The form of that October Novice race could hardly have worked out any better, with runner-up Frankly Darling coming out and demolishing the field by 5l at on her return at Newcastle to earn a quote of 12/1 for the Oaks.
Now it’s down to Cabeletta to prove she can do it on better ground, and with the Dettori-Gosden partnership in opposition with Frankel filly Franconia, this could turn out to be a right ding-dong battle over 1m 2f.
One to Watch – Scurry Stakes – Sandown, 14:40
If we’ve said it once we’ve said it a thousand times, there’s nothing we love more than a furious 5f dash. And with Scurry Stakes alumni including multiple-Group 1 winner Battaash, this could be a race to keep an eye on.
It’s a four-way fight at the top of the market, with Lazuli, Al Raya, Dream Shot and Sunday Sovereign all vying for favouritism, although it’s the latter who could have the credentials to come out on top.
Roger Varian’s hopeful won a couple of minor events last term, including when ahead of Arizona at The Curragh, before disappointing when eighth in the Norfolk at Royal Ascot on his last racecourse start.
Now with a new trainer, the three-year-old is clearly a class act who has all of the credentials to pick up the winning thread once more here.