ITV Racing Tips: Last Group 1 of the year in Britain destined for Luxembourg
There is the best of both worlds this weekend with jumps racing returning to the TV schedule from Cheltenham, as well as plenty of Flat racing featuring the last Group 1 of the year in Britain.
The Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster could well decide who goes into the winter as favourite for next year’s Derby and Aidan O’Brien and the team will be hoping it will be Luxembourg.
The meeting at Cheltenham will whet the appetite for the new campaign and no doubt there will be quotes flying about for next year’s Cheltenham Festival, which continues to dominate the landscape.
ITV will show five races from jumping headquarters where Cloth Cap, the Ladbrokes Trophy winner and favourite for the Grand National makes his first appearance of the campaign, no doubt with one eye on a return to Newbury, for his late owner Trevor Hemmings.
Races from Doncaster and Newbury make up the rest of the programme with Newbury hosting two Group 3 prizes, the St Simon and Horris Hill Stakes.
Coverage begins at 13:30pm on ITV4 and we have previewed the three most significant races of the day in our ITV Racing Tips.
A double figure field for a competitive staying handicap chase which is most noteworthy for the reappearance of Cloth Cap. Last year’s Ladbrokes Trophy winner was a horse on the up last season as he won the famous Newbury prize by ten lengths and followed that with a comfortable victory at Kelso.
Those performances were enough to earn him favouritism for the Grand National at Aintree where he went well for a long way before being pulled up after making a respiratory noise. That has been tackled over the summer by a wind operation.
He finished third in this race last year when it was won by Frodon, but he was held up that day and should give a much better account of himself under the frontrunning tactics that have been adopted so successfully since.
Only four runners for the day’s key hurdle prize, which is likely to prove a match between one of last season’s leading Triumph Hurdle contenders Tritonic and the prolific Stepney Causeway.
Tritonic finished fifth at the Festival and has run respectably in two starts on the Flat. Alan King will be hoping to see the Tritonic who won the Adonis Hurdle by ten lengths now he is back on a surface close to what he prefers.
However Stepney Causeway is much improved from the horse who finished behind Tritonic on his hurdles debut, having won his last four, the latest by 19 lengths. He has had wind surgery since so there could be even more to come.
Aidan O’Brien needs one win to equal Sir Henry Cecil’s record of ten victories in this race and there is a strong chance he will do so with Luxembourg.
O’Brien has not enjoyed the dominance he can usually rely on in the two-year-old division with Godolphin more than holding their own against Ballydoyle this season.
Godolphin are not represented this time as Luxembourg, a son of 2011 race winner Camelot, bids to end his campaign unbeaten. He followed up a debut win at Killarney to land the Group 2 Beresford Stakes by four and three quarter lengths.
Seamie Heffernan heaped praise on him after his victory, which was completed in a good time. Royal Lodge Stakes winner Royal Patronage has won his last three, but if he goes off in front, as is customary for Mark Johnston horses, he could find himself a sitting duck for Luxembourg.
ITV Racing Schedule, Saturday, 23rd October
13:45 Cheltenham – Conditions Jockeys Handicap Hurdle
14:00 Newbury – Horris Hill Stakes
14:20 Cheltenham – 3m1f Handicap Chase
14:35 Newbury – St Simon Stakes
14:55 Cheltenham – 2m hurdle
15:15 Doncaster – Futurity Stakes
15:30 Cheltenham – 2m handicap chase
15:50 Doncaster – Doncaster Stakes
16:05 Cheltenham – 3m handicap hurdle
16:20 Doncaster – 5f handicap
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing