ITV Racing tips: John and Thady Gosden seek first big race victory together with Haqeeqy
The Flat is back – Flat racing on turf that is, as all-weather racing has been on the go all winter.
But it takes centre stage on Saturday as Doncaster hosts the Lincoln, the traditional curtain-raiser for the new campaign – a curtain that will be drawn shut again after the weekend with the next fixture on grass not until 3 April.
We will have to wait until the Craven meeting at Newmarket on 13 April for the turf campaign to get under way in earnest.
So the ITV coverage has a bit of everything. The eight race schedule will show four races on turf from Doncaster, two Ladbrokes-sponsored races from the all-weather card at Kempton plus two jumps races from Newbury.
Remember that 12 months ago the country was in lockdown and the Lincoln was lost, so plenty will be up to the challenge of unravelling two 22-runner 1m handicaps like the Lincoln and it’s Spring Mile consolation race after a two year absence.
It all unfolds from 1:25pm on ITV and we have previewed the three most significant races of the day in our ITV Racing Tips.
Other than prize-money there is rarely much between this race for horses that don’t get into the Lincoln field and the Lincoln itself.
Two years ago Petrus struck at Doncaster and on his next start followed up at Bath where he beat Salute The Soldier, who has a leading chance in today’s Dubai World Cup, which is not being shown on terrestrial TV. Petrus’s handicap mark rose to 100.
It is going to be wide open but the market points to Acquitted, who finished runner-up to top miler Palace Pier in a Newcastle handicap last June but was well beaten in his next two starts.
He’s been gelded since and having run only six times there is still time for more progress, but don’t rule out Dubai Souq, also gelded since he last ran over 1m4f in July.
He made all to win a 1m2f nursery by six lengths on his previous start so if he gets free on the front he could be difficult to peg back.
The John and Thady show could be one of the narratives of the season as father and son, John and Thady Gosden, operate in partnership for the first time this year.
Thady, short for Thaddeus, is the 25-year-old heir apparent to the family business at Clarehaven stables in Newmarket, and what would be better than to consummate the arrangement by winning the first big race on turf.
They have very strong claims as they saddle Haqeeqy who will bid to provide a poignant win for Hissa Hamdan Al Maktoum, whose father Sheikh Hamdan died this week.
He has won three of his five starts to date and won over the course on his final start last year. He is another to have been gelded over the close season but has yet to win over 1m.
He went up 8lb for his last win but the Gosdens are making use of their talented apprentice Benoit De La Sayette who will negate most of that rise by taking 7lb off.
And if not him then what about the improving Danyah or the likes King Ottokar, Orbaan or Revich, who have each shown glimpses of being able to handle these big field handicaps?
You don’t often get a Group 1 winner making an appearance at the first Turf meeting of the year but Kevin Ryan has chosen this Listed contest to launch Brando on his latest campaign.
The now nine-year-old gelding won the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville in 2017 and despite advancing years has maintained his form admirably, even if hasn’t won for nearly two years.
He closed out last season by being beaten a nose by Glen Shiel in the British Champions Sprint Stakes and was a beaten favourite in a Listed race over course and distance, when he missed the break.
He has plenty in hand on ratings but cannot afford another slow start.
ITV Racing Schedule, Saturday 27th March
13:45 Kempton – Ladbrokes Magnolia Stakes
14:00 Doncaster – Doncaster Mile
14:15 Kempton – Ladbrokes Rosebery Handicap
14:35 Doncaster – Spring Mile
14:50 Newbury – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle
15:10 Doncaster – Lincoln
15:25 Newbury – EBF Novices’ Mares Handicap Hurdle
15:45 Doncaster – Cammidge Trophy
All odds and markets are correct as of the date of publishing.