Adrian Mills' racing tips for Saturday include selections from Ayr, Newbury, and the Curragh.
There is lots of quality racing in store across Saturday afternoon, including the Ayr Gold Cup and the Mill Reef Stakes from Newbury.
All eyes on Scotland are for one of the major sprint handicaps of the autumn as Summerghand bids for an historic back-to-back Ayr triumph.
Those cards at Ayr and Newbury are joined on the Flat by Newmarket, Catterick, York, the Curragh and Wolverhampton (AW), while Listowel provides the only jumps action of the day.
We have three fancies for Saturday’s racing including a big-price selection in the feature up at Ayr.
Paws For Thought (Ayr, 15:35) @ 22/1
Mister Sketch (Newbury, 15:15) @ 11/4
Cherry Blossom (Curragh, 15:40) @ SP
McCain’s runner well worth some Thought in Ayr showpiece
All eyes will be on Summerghand as he goes for successive Ayr Gold Cup wins. The likeable veteran rarely gives anything but his best and he’d be a hugely popular winner but, with 10st 1lb on his back, this is a major challenge for him.
Ante-post favourite Orazio is a solid contender for Charlie Hills on his Wokingham form this summer and can be forgiven getting stuck in the mud since when favourite for the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood most recently.
He, along with Richard Fahey’s progressive three-year-old Ramazan, must be on any shortlist but perhaps a big run may be coming from PAWS FOR THOUGHT (22/1) for trainer Donald McCain – a man much better known for sending his jumpers to Ayr over the winter.
The Requinto gelding is a six-time winner and three of those came in succession this summer following a wind operation. He made good strides forward in winning at Chester and Haydock over 7f and had plenty in hand over this 6f trip at Hamilton in July.
He was held in a Listed race at Chester at the start of August and again on the Roodee in a handicap early this month, but getting drawn wide in both instances was no help for a horse who likes to lead or be up on the pace.
Maybe he is a little under the radar after those defeats, but he has scope to defy this mark of 94 and his case is aided here by Robert Whearty taking a very useful 5lb off in the saddle. He is a jockey in form and Paws For Thought looks overpriced in a race where Betway are offering a stunning seven places each-way.
Mister Sketch ready for step up
At Newbury the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes is possibly not the strongest of Group 2 races.
Seven Questions and Array finished second and third recently in the Sirenia Stakes at Kempton on the Polytrack and are players once more for George Scott and Andrew Balding, while the penalised Haatem may be up against it.
Most interesting may be MISTER SKETCH (11/4) for Eve Johnson-Houghton after the Territories colt routed his rivals in a Salisbury novice last month by nearly 10 lengths. He clocked a good time in doing so and was also second here over C&D on debut in July.
He is entitled to make more progress now and has been snapped up by the Wathnan Racing team since his win five weeks ago. The stable form is hot, with a 23 per cent strike-rate from 30 runners recently, and this exciting colt fully merits the step up in class.
Goffs Million ripe for Cherry picking
Over at the Curragh one of the Saturday highlights is the Goffs Million, Europe’s richest 2YO race with a top prize of €616,000 on offer.
With Ryan Moore absent, Aidan O’Brien has drafted in supersub Frankie Dettori for the afternoon and they team up here with CHERRY BLOSSOM (SP).
The No Nay Never filly was only fourth on her debut at Naas (5f, soft) in July, but stepped up since to win a maiden over this C&D handsomely by five-lengths and then went to York where she was second to Relief Rally in the Lowther.
That Group 2 form behind one of the star performers of the season in Britain, who is unfortunate not to be a perfect 5-5 given her slender defeat in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot, sets her up nicely for this assignment and – on these terms – she should collect a tidy payout for connections.