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Richard Hoiles: Four Saturday picks from around the UK

24 May | BY Richard Hoiles | MIN READ TIME |
Richard Hoiles: Four Saturday picks from around the UK

The horse racing broadcaster offers his Saturday selections and provides an update to his stable tracker.

On the weekend before the Derby it is good to see two high-profile horses light up the action, with Rosallion (15:40 Curragh) looking to get his Classic in the Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas, and Vandeek (14:25 Haydock), who makes his seasonal return in the Sandy Lane en route to Ascot and the Commonwealth Cup.

It is Vandeek who I am most looking forward to, as the Sprint division is very much crying out for a headline act. His four wins last season included two Group 1’s – the Prix Morny, which has proved very strong form, and the Middle Park, after which connections made the decision it would be a sprint campaign this season. This means there is not the complication of trying to get a three-year-old ready for a Classic and the stable have also picked up nicely this month.

He can hopefully again make short work of these, but with the perils of City of Troy fresh in the memory I am happy to watch rather than get involved, especially as Inisherin has rather surprisingly turned up in opposition. I expected him to go up rather than down in trip after his run in the 2000 Guineas, and it will be interesting to see whether connections’ move to drop back to 6f is a wise one.

Both races are part of ITV3’s 10-race coverage, as is the Temple Stakes, where last season’s Nunthorpe winner Live In The Dream makes his return. Conditions will hopefully have dried out slightly after the deluge the track experienced on Wednesday, and it’s worth reiterating that the stands-side home straight will be used on Saturday, rather than the inner home straight on Friday, so it will be fresh ground.

It is also worth a reminder that last season, on very different fast ground, there was a clear draw bias in favour of those who raced on the stands rail (high draw) so it will be interesting to see where the straight course winners travel.

Of most interest to me on the betting front are the following:

ENGLISH OAK / (15:00 Haydock) looks set for a good season based on his return at Newmarket, where he finished a solid second. While a July Cup entry might be stretching things a bit, he looks by far the most progressive of this field. The ground is the major query as he has never tried ground any softer than good, but on the sire’s side at least Wootton Bassett lends hope he will handle it (Actual/Expected of 1.22 on soft ground). The dam’s side is more questionable as Forest Crown never tried ground with this much cut either (once withdrawn when it turned soft) but at present it is an unknown rather than an unsuited. If it does ride very deep then it will improve the chances of Zip, who rates the main danger.

At York, RABAAH / (14:45 York) ran really well over 6f at the track last season in a race that has worked out really strongly. Fifth that day to bang-in-form sprinter Quinault, the second- and third-placed horses were Washington Heights and Mill Stream, both of whom have been victorious in Pattern company this season. Rabaah ran very fresh on his own return, having been absent since that York run last June, but with that under his belt and dropping to 5f he has a chance to show that a mark of 95 is lenient.

My port of call is Salisbury, where I hope to be calling home HORSE WHISPERER / (17:20 Salisbury). This represents an angle that I used to follow prior to Silvestre De Sousa departing to Hong Kong, in following closely when he rides for Chris Dwyer given his wife Shelley is Silvestre’s agent. Historically, their record together is 65/322 for an A/E of 1.22 and, with extra effort no doubt being made to get Silvestre back up and running in this country, then so far in 2024 it is 6/25 with an A/E of 1.37. Horse Whisperer is very much a point-and-run horse who needs taking to post very steadily, but Silvestre knows him well having ridden him on all his starts this year.

LADY MENDOZA / (17:10 Cartmel) may have more to offer over staying trips over hurdles and this Irish Point-to-Point winner looks to have been found a soft opportunity to get off the mark under Rules. She stayed on well at Uttoxeter over 2m 7f and could well cut out the running here to ensure it is not a crawl.


One runner on Saturday with OLD CHUMS (15:55 YORK), who was added to the tracker last time after faring best of those who forced a strong pace at Chester in a 6f handicap. To be honest, I was expecting a similar 6f race round a turn – possibly back at Chester – as the next port of call rather than a big field York handicap over 7f, so stakes will be reduced but if he can get loose on the lead then he may give a bold sight.

Four runners since the last update with HOSAAMM (first, 5/4f) and GAMES PEOPLE PLAY (third, 8/1) appearing in the same Newbury race, SUMMERGHAND (0, 10/1) again disappointing and EXPERT WITNESS (second, 100/30) finding only a 25-1 shot too good at Yarmouth.

We are now releasing winners and those having a third start since they first caught the eye, so both Hosaamm and Summerghand are now removed from the list.

There are three additions starting with MIDDLE EARTH, who was very impressive at Newbury when coming from last to first in a steadily run race. It was a very smart turn of foot for a stayer, clocking 33.68 for the final three furlongs, which was actually faster than Elite Status in the sprint (33.71).

Also added are two juveniles. IT’S LIFE is a slightly speculative one in a race where several caught the eye, which means it may not be overly strong for the track. What marks It’s Life out is that he only cost £8.5k so is eligible for Restricted D races, which are considerably easier than the level he was pitched in here.

The other is more straightforward in PRINCIPALITY, who was given an educational ride at Newmarket and found the highly touted Godolphin winner Ancient Truth had gone beyond recall. He beat the rest comfortably and looks likely to win next time as long as his sights are realistically set.

Released: Hosaamm, Summerghand

Added: Middle Earth, It’s Life, Principality

A full list of the horses currently on the tracker can be found here.


Our weekly list of riders heading for tracks at which they have a good career record. Last week’s list provided a 14/1 success for Paddy Mathers at Thirsk and a 7/1 winner for Lee Edwards at Bangor-On-Dee from just five rides between them.

CARTMEL – Richie McLernon (17/93, A/E 2.03). Includes course winner Dr Sanderson in the 19:20 who has dropped a long way in the weights on his first run at the track for quite a while.

HAYDOCK – Callum Shepherd (12/52, A/E 2.23). Five rides for five different yards including Story Horse 16:45, who Callum has ridden for the horse’s two placings at Wolves, the closest he has yet got to winning.

WINDSOR – Eddie Greatrex (11/67, A/E 1.90) has five rides for Jack Channon but also partners the unbeaten Al Anoud for Ralph Beckett in the 19:45, his first ride for the yards since 2016.

YORK – Connor Beasley (25/178, A/E 1.64) is another in for a busy afternoon where his six rides feature Gather Ye Rosebuds, who he has a 100 per cent record on, having ridden her twice to victory at Newbury and Hamilton.


Stable Tracker (Actual Winners/Expected Winners): 11/12.16, A/E 0.90

Day Selections: 21/23.93, A/E 0,88

Jockeys For Courses: 24/26.01, A/E 0.92

Overall: 56/62.12, A/E 0.90

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Richard Hoiles

Richard Hoiles

Richard is a horse racing broadcaster and commentator who has been involved in the sport since 1992.

Richard Hoiles

Richard Hoiles

Richard is a horse racing broadcaster and commentator who has been involved in the sport since 1992.