Our Man At HQ spotlights four great bets for Saturday
William Haggas’s season just keeps getting better and better and it won’t be long before he is given the mantle of “Master Trainer” by his peers, a title that any racehorse trainer worth his salt longs to have. For the past two seasons he has smashed through the million pound barrier in prize money which is proof if proof were needed that he and his team can get the job done if they are given the right horses. Haggas saddles Muthmir in the 2.05pm at Ascot where he takes the step out of handicap company for the first time. His trainer has found him a perfect stepping stone into Group race company with this Listed race over the minimum trip. Three weeks ago he won The Portland at Doncaster and if you remember that day he stumbled out of the stalls then had trouble in running before switching and running on strongly and winning in great style. I saw him being put through his paces earlier in the week and he is still thriving. I’m sure he can win this en route to the big sprint on Champions Day.
One of the biggest handicaps of the day is the Challenge Cup at Ascot and Haggas runs Princes Trust in the 3.50pm. He had a late start to the season but got off the mark very convincingly at Yarmouth in August. Although he went up twelve pounds for the facile win he is ridden by the very capable Cam Hardie who claims a valuable three pounds off his back. So basically he runs off a mark of 97 and on his recent spins up the Limekilns he has continued to shine. He holds a Group Two entry later in the month and believe me it’s not just a token entry. I’m convinced he can take this valuable prize for Her Majesty The Queen and be a serious miler for next year.
James Fanshawe runs Knight Owl in the 4.55pm at Redcar. Having won at the track a couple of times before he will be well at home and he has been showing himself to be in top form of late. I spotted him with his head down forging clear of two work mates up the Al Bahathri last weekend and with top jockey Dane O’Neill keeping the ride everything looks in place for a big run. Also a couple of the lads from the yard said he hadn’t done much work before his last win and he has come on a lot for it.
I think I’ve found another Sir Mark Prescott filly on the up! He saddles Wunderkind in the 9.00pm at Wolverhampton. She was heavily backed last time out in an amateur race at Beverley, but as you may know Beverley can be a very unforgiving place. Outpaced at the four furlong marker she finally came with a decent challenge approaching the final furlong before being hampered and her chances were totally wiped out, she was then soon eased. The good thing is though she looks to have learned so much from that experience and I really think that the new Wolverhampton surface will play to her strengths and will suit her down to the ground.