The opening contest is the Heed Your Hunch At Betway Handicap. There are five runners but, every time I look at the race, I find a different angle – which just goes to show how competitive it is.

Master The Stars won the race in the stewards’ room at Newmarket last time, but it really appeared as though the penny had dropped for him. He’s been running well – if a little green – for a long time but has shown that it’s all coming together in a few starts this season.

He’d be shouldering top weight without his rider’s 5lb claim, and that could make all the difference.

Any market support for either Quickthorn  or will also be significant.

The same can also be said for Doubling Dice .


The Betway Handicap is a 16-runner, 6f sprint. Like most of these big-field sprint handicaps, you need plenty of luck in running and for things to go your way.

Bielsa  looked the likely winner at York before getting swallowed up 50 yards from the line, but that track often sees leaders get snatched if they’re too far from home. His rider will no doubt bide his time a little longer on Saturday, and this once very promising juvenile can start to fulfil his potential.

Hyperfocus  has conditions in his favour. He’s steadily dropping down the handicap and, with his yard having been in good form all season, he’s one to keep on side. He’s a previous course winner, too.

Bernardo O’Reilly  doesn’t win all that often, but he does run well in big handicaps. He was a big eye-catcher last time out and, if things fall right for him, he could have a say in the matter.


The Betway Achilles Stakes is a Listed race over 5f and has attracted a quality field.

El Astronaute  sets the standard on his recent Chester win.

But I think King’s Lynn  – who is trained by Betway ambassador Andrew Balding – can turn the tables on a more conventional track.

He’d shown plenty of promise as a juvenile, but things didn’t go according to plan last season, so I’m inclined to put a line through that. He’s got plenty of pace and seems to act on soft ground, too.

At a bigger price, Glamorous Anna  can run well under David Egan. She’s very fast out of the stalls and will no doubt make the running. She ran very well in a similar contest to this at Newmarket on her seasonal debut and will be in front a lot longer if she can handle the softer conditions.


The Betway Pinnacle Stakes is one of two Group 3 races on the card.

At the time of writing, I’m struggling to see how Oriental Mystique  isn’t the favourite, and think she will go off much shorter on the day. She seems to really need this 1m 4f trip now and has gone well on soft ground in the past. Her third at Goodwood last time out sets the standard on recent form and I think she’ll be too good for her rivals under Oisin Murphy.


The second of two Group 3 races on the card is the Betway John Of Gaunt Stakes, run over 7f. This race has been won by some of the best 7f specialists in recent years and I think Toro Strike  might be adding his name to that list.

He was very highly tried as a two-year-old, which suggested how good the level of his homework had been. Some horses, despite showing plenty at home, just take time to mature and learn how to race, and this horse is one of them. He improved last season, getting off the mark at Goodwood, and then ran two very good races in defeat in a Group 2 and a Group 1.

He was a ready winner at Thirsk on his only start this campaign, and I think he’ll be able to step up from that run here.

Brad The Brief  has a good win-to-run ratio. If there is any market support for him, he could be one to try and sneak into the places at a bigger price.


The Read Andrew Balding on Betway Handicap is a race for three-year-olds run over 6f. These races are always tricky puzzles to solve and some horses really start to improve when it all clicks for them.

I don’t think we’ve seen the best of Tipperary Tiger , who was a very well-backed winner on debut at Doncaster on rain-softened ground. He’s run well in defeat since and was OK at Chester last time despite losing a shoe in running on a track that wasn’t ideal. Conditions will be in his favour here and I think he can go very well.

At a bigger price, a return to soft ground should suit Imperium Blue . He’s run well in two starts this season, but perhaps needs a softer surface to what he got away with last season. With his yard in good form, he could outrun his odds.


The final race on the card is the Betway Casino Handicap where there are two horses I think have a good chance of getting their head in front again.

The first is Elakazaam , who has been a touch unlucky in his career so far. He’s not had the rub of the green but did run well at York last time out when things went better for him. He is still unexposed and has the in-form David Probert on his back.

The other is Street Kid , who needs to need to settle better if he’s to get home. He was trained in Ireland last season where managed to win a Cork maiden and was only beaten around four lengths in a £127k sales race. He’s got ability – it’s just about eking it out of him, and it could be the softer ground that does just that.

Visit Betway's horse racing betting page.