This Saturday is an unusual in the context of the Flat season, with two Listed National Hunt races live on ITV Racing alongside the Flat action at Newbury. Whilst I haven’t been punting on the Summer Jumpers as much as I usually would – mainly due to the Flat Racing content taking priority – I do have one selection in the Listed Summer Hurdle up at Market Rasen. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @JakePriceRacing for updates throughout the day. Good luck!
13:50 Newbury – bet365 Steventon Stakes (Listed Race) 3yo+ – 1m2f
Although he’s a shorter price than I’d normally put up, at 5/4 I think there’s still value in Fox Chairman. A course winner here at Newbury on his debut in April, this King Power Racing three-year-old bolted up by four lengths – beating a decent yardstick in Migration (88). Having shown such promise on his first start at a racecourse, Andrew Balding stepped this son of Kingman up into Listed class at Chester’s May Festival when running in the Dee Stakes over 1m2½f. Struggling to get a clear run under Silvestre De Sousa, Fox Chairman was trapped on the inside with a furlong left to go, before finally breaking out and staying on in eye-catching fashion to finish third. The form of the race has worked out very well since, with Aidan O’Brien’s Circus Maximus following up this success at Royal Ascot when landing the Group 1 St James’ Palace Stakes.
Fox Chairman himself boosted the form at Royal Ascot when contesting the Group 3 Hampton Court Stakes. On a day which was taken over by Frankie Dettori’s magnificent quadruple, Sangarius was very impressive in landing this competitive contest by two-and-a-quarter lengths. I think he’s a very smart horse to take forward into the rest of the season, so Fox Chairman finishing second behind him is top form. Again not getting a clear run under Silvestre De Sousa, our selection stayed on strongly once the gap appeared to ensure he finished ahead of the useful King Ottokar (106). Back to the same track as his maiden success here, Fox Chairman clearly has a huge chance in Listed company on form alone. A rating of 107 means he is the second highest rated horse in the race, but as a three-year-old he receives an allowance of 9lbs from the older horses. Newbury provides our selection with a big galloping track, and as there are only six runners there shouldn’t be much chance of meeting traffic in running for a third consecutive start. I’ll be extremely disappointed if Fox Chairman can’t get his head in-front here. Any potential rain on Friday/Saturday shouldn’t bother our selection, as he won on good-to-soft ground here in April before that good effort on soft at Royal Ascot.
Fox Chairman @ 5/4 1st
14:10 Market Rasen – Betway Summer Handicap Hurdle (Listed Race) – 2m½f
Although the Summer Jumps haven’t been on the forefront of my mind in recent months, one horse who I have been closely following is Longhouse Sale. Having won his Maiden point-to-point in good style, Dan Skelton snapped him up and put him into training under his ownership last May. What’s transpired since has been fairly incredible, with this Son of September Storm landing four bumpers in a row between June and August last year – three of which coming before he was gelded! Clearly he didn’t beat much in those contests when pissing up at long odds on, but two of those runs did come at Market Rasen – so our selection does have some course experience (albeit he didn’t see another rival when making all by seven and fourteen lengths respectively). Longhouse Sale was purchased by Paul and Clare Rooney after the first of those victories, and he finally started life over Hurdles at Ludlow in May. Jumping extremely well for his debut over timber, our selection readily pulled clear of the useful Santani (130) to score by four-lengths without coming off the bridle. Having again bolted up in impressive style at Warwick later that month, Longhouse Sale carried a double penalty to success at Ffos Las last month. Despite having to give 17lbs to the four-year-old Manor Park, Harry Skelton again didn’t have to lift his stick when cheekily scoring on the bridle by one-and-three-quarter lengths – but that winning margin does flatter the second. Now unbeaten in all seven starts under rules, Longhouse Sale undoubtedly faces his toughest task to date stepping up in class to this Listed Handicap Hurdle. The Handicapper has given him an opening mark of 141 for his efforts to date, so this clearly will be a tough assignment having to give away upwards of 6lbs from top weight. My initial thought when he crossed the line at Warwick was that he’d take some beating in early season Listed/Graded Novice Hurdles (e.g the 2m3f Grade 2 Persian War Novice Hurdle at Chepstow in October), and he can prove to be in a different league to his rivals here.
Longhouse Sale @ 4/1 11th
14:25 Newbury – Marsh Cup Handicap (Class 2) 3yo+ – 2m½f
Who Dares Wins has had a very successful career for Alan King over both Jumps and on the Flat, so he would be a fitting winner on a day where both codes are highlighted on ITV Racing. A winner of races such as the Cesarewitch Trial on the Flat before, Who Dares Wins has enjoyed a fruitful campaign thus far. Third on seasonal reappearance at this track when needing the run after a 336 break in April, Alan King’s seven-year-old ran well in the Class 2 Chester Cup in May. With lots of rain around meaning conditions were in favour of this 151 rated Hurdler, Who Dares Wins stayed on strongly to finish second under Tom Marquand – unable to land a glove on the runaway winner Making Miracles. Given a fifty day break to recover from his tough escapade in Cheshire, connections decided to take their chance in the Class 2 Northumberland Plate at Newcastle. I was pretty keen on Dubawi Fifty‘s chances that day at a track he loves so much, but Who Dares Wins stayed on dourly to ensure he scored by a head – with Karen McLintock’s stable star in second. Having won such a competitive Handicap off 101 and still looking like a steadily improving horse, a 3lbs rise to 104 seems very fair. The Northumberland Plate might just prove to be the best piece of form in the book, and many rivals have questions to answer; has Carnwennan reached his ceiling now (up to 94)? Can The Grand Visir win off a career high mark (105)? Can Withhold defy a 269 day absence? One thing we do know for sure is that Who Dares Wins looks very good this season. Any potential rain around at Newbury clearly won’t do his chances any harm, but an interesting caveat to this horse is that his record on good-to-firm ground is equally as impressive.
Who Dares Wins Each/Way @ 10/1 4th
15:00 Newbury – bet365 Hackwood Stakes (Group 3) 3yo+ – 6f
Charlie Hills has won the Hackwood Stakes in two of the last four renewals, and he looks to have an excellent chance again here with the three-year-old Khaadem. Third behind Calyx (115) on his debut at Newmarket in June last year, this Hamdan Al Maktoum Colt followed that effort up with two victories; comfortably winning a Novice event at Newmarket before landing a Class 2 Conditions Stakes race at Doncaster in September. After a useful Juvenile campaign, Khaadem was stepped up into Listed class on his seasonal reappearance over today’s course and distance when contesting the Carnarvon Stakes. Following in the footsteps of his full-brother Log Out Island, Khaadem battled on well under James Doyle to beat Oxted by half-a-length. I was at the Berkshire track that day where he made a good impression, and the form has since been boosted by the staying on third Space Traveller landing the Group 3 Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Khaadem himself took his chance at the Royal meeting when contesting the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup. Despite looking on form to have a good chance stepped up to Group 1 level for the first time, Dane O’Neill never really got him into the race from the rear. Although finishing ten-lengths behind Advertise that day the form has received numerous boosts since, headlined by Ten Sovereigns (4th) winning the Group 1 July Cup at Newmarket last weekend by two-and-three-quarter lengths back to Advertise (1st). Royal Intervention (5th) has also won since, seeing off Shades Of Blue to land the Group 3 Summer Stakes at York. Returning to Newbury should hopefully see this Son of Dark Angel return to form, and Jim Crowley takes the ride for the first time since Doncaster. The Tin Man clearly sets a decent standard, but as a seven-year-old he could be vulnerable to our improving selection, who receives a 5lbs three-year-old allowance. It’s worth noting that if the forecast rain does arrive, Khaadem won on good-to-soft ground last season.
Khaadem @ 6/1 2nd
Good luck! – Jake Price