Newmarket and Punchestown Saturday Tips Dave Stevos
Newmarket and Punchestown Saturday Tips
It is Guineas weekend at Newmarket and that’s not all. We also have top class NH racing from Punchestown and the Thirsk Hunt Cup. I have already posted tips for the 2000 Guineas and 1000 Guineas, click on this link to find out my fancies. You can check out the rest of my Newmarket and Punchestown Saturday tips below.
1.50 Newmarket – Suffolk Stakes Handicap (Class 2)
The first live ITV race of the day on Saturday comes from Newmarket. 9f is the trip for this valuable handicap and 10 will line up in the stalls. One that could potentially go well off a mark of 88 is Al Muffrih for Stuart Williams and Martin Dwyer. This son of Sea The Stars was formerly trained by William Haggas. He had his first start for his new connections at Chelmsford off a rating of 95 in January. After four more all-weather runs he returns to the turf off a rating of 88.
That means he is now 3lb lower than when landing the 10f Zetland Cup at Redcar in 2019, his last win. Both his wins have come over that trip but his form over 9f is pretty solid too. He was beaten less than 2L on both runs at that distance off 91, including in this race back in 2019. Al Muffrih is now 3lb lower than he was for that good C&D effort so he is handicapped to be competitive. I would think this race has been a target ever since connections bought this horse. So, at odds of 14/1, Al Muffrih is the each way NAP of the day.
Newmarket and Punchestown Saturday Tips: Al Muffrih e/w @ 14/1 nap (4 places paddys/betfair)
2.25 Newmarket – Palace House Stakes (Group 3)
Some seriously speedy sprinters will fight it out for the £35k first prize in this 5f Group 3. Strictly on ratings it looks to between six of them – Lazuli (109), Dubai Station (108), Garrus (108), Judicial (108), Emaraaty Ana (107) and Came From The Dark (105). All of those horses carry 9st 6lbs, bar Lazuli who carries an extra 3lb.
The one I like at the prices is Dubai Station. This 4yo son of Brazen Beau has already scored at G3 level. That was his last victory and it came on his seasonal comeback in June 2020 for Karl Burke. He has changed yards since then and he is now trained by Robert Cowell. He only had three more runs after that win last season. Two of them were at at G2 and G1 level and he struggled. However, he did run a blinder at G3 level at Deauville in between those two runs, beat just 1.5L by Royal Crusade.
This horse has been campaigned mostly at 6f but he has won over the minimum distance. He was placed behind A’Ali in the G2 Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot over 5f too. So, today’s trip holds no fears. He won first time up last season so the lack of a recent run isn’t off-putting. While Cowell’s other runners Aljady and Arecibo look to have a squeak too, I think Dubai Station is overpriced. At odds of 16/1, he is the each way selection.
Newmarket and Punchestown Saturday Tips: Dubai Station e/w @ 16/1
2.40 Thirsk – Thirsk Hunt Cup (Class 2)
The Hunt Cup is the biggest race held at Thirsk during the season. A mile handicap with a first prize of £25k, it has attracted a field of 16 runners and it looks ultra-competitive. Last time out winners Nugget and Astro King head the market for Hannon and Stoute respectively. Nugget had more to spare when winning off 92 last time out at Newbury and he has a 5lb rise to deal with. Astro King was hiked up 6lb for his short head win at Nottingham.
I put up Scottish Summit and Queen’s Sargent at Doncaster for the Lincoln and Spring Mile respectively earlier this season and they both ran really well. Queen’s Sargent finished nicely to grab 6th and while Scottish Summit finished only 10th, he was bang there a furlong out and it was a better run than the result suggests.
Queens Sargent built on the promise of that excellent effort when winning at Catterick 10 days ago (7f gd/fm). He is up 4lb in the weights but it was a pretty decisive victory. There could be more to come from him now stepped back up to a mile. Kevin Ryan’s son of Kendargent has an excellent course record (2131), including a close 2nd over C&D. Kevin Stott keeps the ride and I think odds of 16/1 are a shade too generous for this in-form gelding.
Summit No Back Number
Scottish Summit also bult on the promise of his Doncaster run on his next outing. He was beat less than a length off 95 at Newmarket in 3rd. Oh This Is Us was a head in front of him in 2nd and he did the form no harm during the week. Scottish Summit was a shade keen during that race and he is better when his jockey allows him to stride on in front.
His trainer Geoffrey Harker is in excellent form too. The form figures of his last 6 runners read 142215 and he would love to land this valuable pot. This fella has never run at this track but I think it may well suit his running style. He also proved that a mark of 95 wasn’t beyond him last time out at Newmarket. With 5 places on offer, Scottish Summit also worth backing e/w at 33/1.
thirsk Saturday Tips: Queen’s Sargent e/w @ 16/1; Scottish Summit e/w @ 33/1 (both 5 places)
3.00 Newmarket – Jockey Club Stakes (Group 2)
Only five runners will go to post for this 12f Group 2. Pyledriver did us a couple of favours when winning last season and I’d love to see him go well for Martin Dwyer and William Muir. He needed a run to hit top form last season though so odds of 9/4 don’t appeal. He takes on two Mark Johnston horses and two William Haggas horses. Sir Ron Priestly and Thunderous represent the Johnston yard and both are rated 112. The former won last time out at Nottingham in Listed company (14f gd/fm). Thunderous was well beaten in a G3 at Sandown.
Al Zaraqaan is the mount of Jim Crowley and he has won 4 of his 5 career starts. He landed a handicap off 95 at Kempton on his seasonal return and his sole turf win came on good to firm at Doncaster. Pablo Escobarr also runs for Haggas and he will be suited by conditions. His fitness has to be taken on trust though after a 252 day absence. I can’t really see much value in this race to be honest. It is one to just watch with a view to the future. No bet.
Newmarket and Punchestown Saturday Tips: No Bet
3.20 Punchestown – Mares Champion Hurdle (Grade 1)
Nine will battle for Grade 1 glory in this year’s Mares Champion Hurdle. Willie Mullins runs four and Concertista is the highest rated and the best suited by the conditions of the race. She has had a light campaign and she was narrowly beaten at Cheltenham. All of her four wins have come on soft ground though and that has to be a worry for her backers today.
Stormy Ireland, on the other hand, is unbeaten when completing on yielding ground. She has won her last four on that type of surface and she has form figures of U1221 at Punchestown, including a win over Concertista’s Cheltenham conqueror, Black Tears. Burning Victory brings a 2 race unbeaten record into the race. However, she hasn’t been seen for over 400 days and she would probably prefer softer ground.
Skyace won nicely for us last time at Fairyhouse and she is looking to land her second Grade 1 in a row. Gauloise boosted the form of her win here earlier this week and it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise if Shark Hanlon’s mare went close again. However, at a nice each way price I am going to take a punt on My Sister Sarah.
I fancied this mare to run well at Cheltenham and to be fair to her, she did. She was 11L behind Black Tears and Concertista at the finish but the ground probably went against her. That was her first run after a wind-op and it can sometimes take a run for a horse to realise they can breathe properly again. The penny seemed to drop with her in the closing stages at Cheltenham and she stayed on very nicely at the finish.
This mare has won on soft ground but her first four victories came on good/yielding. She is a former course and distance winner on good and she is 2/2 at this venue. She has had just two runs this season so she should come on plenty for that last outing at Cheltenham. Bryan Cooper rides again and at odds of 20/1, I think My Sister Sarah rates as a cracking each way bet.
Newmarket and Punchestown Saturday Tips: My Sister Sarah e/w @ 20/1 NB
4.00 Punchestown – Champion Four Year Old Hurdle (Grade 1)
There is lots of Cheltenham form on offer in this 16f Grade 1 for the Juveniles. Quilixios heads the market for De Bromhead and Blackmore. He dotted up in the Triumph in March but his yard’s form is a big worry. De Bromhead withdrew a couple on Saturday because they were coughing and given how his horses have run so far this week, they may well be off the boil.
Denise Foster has hardly had a good week either so it is hard to be too confident in Zanahiyr. He was sent off fav in the Triumph but he could only finish a well beaten 4th. Haut En Couleurs is the next best in the betting and he has to be feared given the form of Willie Mullins. He has 3.5L to find with the fav on Cheltenham form and he has the scope to improve on just his third start over timber.
Palace Could Rock The Boat
The Caseys are a family that know a good horse when they see one and Francis pitches Palace Rock into Grade 1 company here on just his second start over hurdles. This fella really impressed me when he won his maiden at Navan (16f yld/sft). He did plenty wrong and his jumping has room for improvement but he clearly has a serious engine. The third home from that Navan race won a maiden next time out so there is a bit of substance to the form.
That made it 2 wins from his last 2 starts after he scored in a 12f maiden at Dundalk back in February. Denis O’Regan retains the ride and he should have learned plenty from his first spin aboard this fella at Navan. This is obviously a huge ask on just his second run over timber and he may not be up to this standard yet. However, he is completely unexposed. Given the worries about the well-being of the De Bromhead and Elliott horses, I think Palace Rock is worth chancing each way for small stakes at odds of 66/1.