ITV Racing Saturday Newbury & Ayr Preview - 23/09/23

James Mackie | @JMackieRacing

Ayr - September 22 2023
Ayr 12:15
Jason Hart

Titan Rock

J: Jason Hart
T: John Quinn
Age: 5
Weight: 9-0
OR: 85
Days: 22

The first selection of the afternoon on ITV Racing is the Class 2 Handicap over a mile from Ayr and Titan Rock looks one of the more likelier winners here.

Reaching a mark of 93 last season it saw him in the handicappers grasp and it was a mission to get him back down to a more workable mark.

Having started this year off higher marks and running to the same standard of last term, he finally dropped to a mark of 83 and got back to winning ways at Wolverhampton.

Upped 2lb for that run at York in May he finished a neck second in a competitive handicap of 20 runner but that saw him creep up the handicap.

Putting in two bad runs off marks of 87, he was last seen back down to a mark of 85 and put up a much better run when second to Persuasion at Thirsk in a Class 2 event.

Running off the same mark and getting back to a track he has already won at before off a 5lb higher mark, he should go close.

Newbury - September 22 2023
Newbury 12:30
Oisin Murphy


J: Oisin Murphy
T: Andrew Balding
Age: 4
Weight: 9-0
OR: 104
Days: 29

The first race of the afternoon from Newbury is the Group Three Dubai International Airport World Trophy Stakes over 5f and although the owners have the favourite Sense Of Duty, we are siding with what the betting suggests is the second string Nymphadora.

The ground is set to be testing on Saturday and with Sense Of Duty unproven on anything with soft in the description we are looking to take on the favourite who has not been seen for 455 days.

Seen just three times last term when second at Chester to Nunthorpe winner Live In The Dream, she then went to Royal Ascot and finished a superb second in the 27 runner Palace Of Holyroodhouse.

Finishing last term in the Group Three Coral Charge when two lengths behind the winner Raasel who she takes on again, this term she has proven that soft conditions is what she needs.

Needing her first start at Bath, it set her up perfectly for Chester where she landed a Class 2 Handicap over 5f on soft ground in good style off a mark of 97.

Sent to Ayr in a Listed Fillies' Stakes on good ground she was a good third behind the likes of Makarova and Royal Aclaim and then got back to winning ways at York when seeing off Silky Wilkie by nearly two lengths on good to soft ground in the Listed City Walls Stakes.

Underperforming on both her runs at Glorious Goodwood in the Group Two King George Qatar Stakes and at York's Ebor meeting in the Nunthorpe Stakes, she now drops into a much lesser race.

Also returning to softer conditions she looks dangerous if bouncing back.

Ayr - September 22 2023
Ayr 12:50
Clifford Lee

Royal Rhyme

J: Clifford Lee
T: K R Burke
Age: 3
Weight: 9-0
OR: 108
Days: 51

One of the better races of the afternoon at Ayr on Saturday is the Listed Doonside Cup over 1m2f and Royal Rhyme is the pick of the bunch in a weak renewal of the race.

A horse that loves cut in the ground and should get some of it on Saturday with the going at Ayr currently good to soft.

A winner three starts back at Newmarket on his first try at 1m2f when bolting up by five lengths on his second handicap start off a mark of 85.

Upped 10lb for that success he was sent to Newbury in the London Gold Cup and the quicker ground went against him with him running no race, but that was a hot handicap.

Given some time since that run in May, he returned at Glorious Goodwood in another good Class 2 Handicap over 10f and getting back to his beloved soft ground made a mockery of the field to win by over six lengths.

Gets soft in the description here and it looks a very weak Doonside Cup with favourite My Prospero coming out of the race.

Newbury - September 22 2023
Newbury 13:05
Tom Marquand


J: Tom Marquand
T: William Haggas
Age: 3
Weight: 9-2
OR: 95
Days: 91

Another nice event from Newbury on Saturday is the Class 2 Autumn Cup Handicap over 1m 5 1/2f and we are giving a chance to the lightly raced Laafi for William Haggas who is having his first run since a wind operation.

Making his debut last term at Newmarket over 7f on good to soft ground hen bumped into some nice types including Military Order, Enfjaar and Arabian Storm.

Upped to 8.5f at Nottingham on soft ground he got off the mark in good fashion staying on well towards the finish to suggest over further he would be better.

Back as a three year old this term he was stepped up to 1m4f and into a hot race when finishing a fair fourth on seasonal debut in the Listed Lingfield Derby Trial behind the likes of Military order Waipiro and Circle Of Fire.

Tried in the Golden Gates Handicap at Royal Ascot, he ran a race too bad to be true on the step down to 1m2f and he has not been seen since June, having a wind operation.

The step up in trip is a positive with his pedigree suggesting the further he goes the better he will be and the return to softer conditions is also a positive.

Ayr - September 22 2023
Ayr 13:25
Connor Planas


J: Connor Planas
T: Michael Herrington
Age: 7
Weight: 9-4
OR: 77
Days: 9

Next up is the Class 2 Ayr Silver Cup Handicap over 6f and with 25 runners heading to post we have picked out two runners that should go close.

The first is the inform Rathbone for Michael Herrington who has had a resurgence in form of late dropping to a mark of 77 having been massively below par and he got back to winning ways at Sandown over 5f when bolting up in a Class 4 Handicap.

Upped to a mark of 84 for that win, he stepped back up to 6f this time on soft ground and he made it two wins on the bounce when seeing off rival Jump The Gun by a neck under a superb ride by Conor Planas who takes the ride again.

He was giving away 9lbs to the winner that day and now running off 2lb lower, with Planas taking off a further 3lb, he essentially races off a mark of 79 which makes him very interesting.

The gelding very much looks like a horse that have to strike when the Iron is hot and his handicap mark for this event presents him with another big chance, albeit in a much tougher event.

Stall 16 is nice.

Ayr - September 22 2023
Ayr 13:25
Cam Hardie

Admiral D

J: Cam Hardie
T: Richard Fahey
Age: 4
Weight: 9-7
OR: 85
Days: 90

At the other end of the market a horse that does need to bounce back but can on Saturday is the Richard Fahey trained Admiral D.

A horse last year that was performing well in competitive handicaps off marks in the mid 90s, this term he has been tried between 6f and 7f and has not performed to the same level.

When last seen at Pontefract off a mark of 86 he looked to be getting back to somewhere near his best when three lengths back in sixth in a Class 3 Handicap and dropped a further 1lb for that run, he now runs off a career low British mark of 85 which could see him get involved at a big price.

Stall 4 not ideal but he can overcome it.

Newbury - September 22 2023
Newbury 13:40
Oisin Murphy


J: Oisin Murphy
T: Andrew Balding
Age: 3
Weight: 8-10
OR: 90
Days: 44

Newbury host another hot handicap on Saturday with the Class 2 event over 1m2f and the progressive Totnes can stay on an upward curve.

Getting off the mark on seasonal debut on just his second run of his career at Wolves over 7f, he then struggled on handicap debut, but got back to winning ways at Lingfield when upped to a mile off a mark of 71.

Sent to Newmarket off 5lb higher he underperformed again and then on rapid ground at Salisbury upped to 1m2f, again did not take a step forward.

However since then on slower surfaces has resumed his progress, finishing third of eight at Chester behind two progressive types at the time in Sparks Fly and Market Value on good to soft ground.

This set him up perfectly for a return to the all weather where he got back to winning ways in taking style off a mark of 75.

Upped 7lb for that win he was last seen at Chepstow in the Racing League bolting up on good to soft ground over 1m2f, with that run suggesting there is still more to come.

Now racing off a mark of 90 he will have to come forward again in a better race but seeking a hat-trick he could go close.

Ayr - September 22 2023
Ayr 14:00
Oisin Orr

Pretty Crystal

J: Oisin Orr
T: Richard Fahey
Age: 2
Weight: 9-2
OR: 97
Days: 28

One of the feature events of the afternoon is the Group Three Firth Of Clyde and we are taking a swing at the Richard Fahey trained Pretty Crystal with the favourite a short price.

Seen four times this term the filly made a very pleasing debut at Ripon when readily scoring over 6f, looking more comfortable the further she went.

Sent to Royal Ascot in the Group Three Albany Stakes she ran a cracker to finish a solid fifth of 17 behind some smart types including Porta Fortuna, Matrika, Soprano and Persian Dreamer.

Put into another classy Group Three over the same C&D she finished a better second having to chase home the runaway winner Sacred Angel who made all from the front, but Pretty Crystal showed a good attitude to see off Symbology for second.

Last seen up to 7f on soft ground at Goodwood in the Group Three Prestige Fillies' Stakes she finished just over two lengths back in fourth behind next time out scorer Darnation which looks solid form.

Dropping back to 6f having got some smart form to her name, she looks overpriced at 10/1 and with three places on offer should hit the frame.

Yard have two of the last three renewals with Barefoot Angel and Umm Kulthum.

Newbury - September 22 2023
Newbury 14:15
Charles Bishop

Mister Sketch

J: Charles Bishop
T: Eve Johnson Houghton
Age: 2
Weight: 9-3
Days: 38

The final event on ITV from Newbury sees their feature event of the afternoon and we are siding with the Eve Johnson Houghton trained Mister Sketch who has recently been bought by Wathnan Racing.

Seen just the twice to date, he made an encouraging debut over 6f when a neck second over C&D on good to soft ground, but next time out at Salisbury over the same trip he had improved a massive amount to bolt up by 9.5 lengths.

This is a different ball game, but it does not look the strongest renewal of this race and with more improvement to come and having form on softish ground, he look the most likely type in the field to turn into a superstar.

Ayr - September 22 2023
Ayr 14:35
Ben Curtis


J: Ben Curtis
T: David Evans
Age: 5
Weight: 9-12
OR: 104
Days: 14

The feature event of the afternoon in Scotland is the Ayr Gold Cup Handicap over 6f and we have picked out two runners that could hit the frame at double figure prices.

The first is the potential group horse in a handicap Rohaan who has struggled this year in better races, but now dropping back into a handicap can prove his class.

A horse that has reached a peak rating of 116 now is down to a mark of 104 and if overcoming a wide stall of 25 might just be better than these.

A horse with a phenomenal career going from a rating of 55 up above 110, winning back to back renewals of the Wokingham Handicap in 2021 and 2022, he has also took races like the Group Two Sandy Lane Stakes and Group Three Pavillon Stakes.

Having been on the decline last year, he bounced back to a bit of form at the back end of last season when third in the Group One Sprint Cup at Haydock behind Minzaal, got back to winning ways in the Group Three Bengough Stakes ahead of Summerghand and finished the season with a good fourth at 18 behind Kinross in the Group One Champions Sprint Stakes.

This term he has been well below form which has seen his mark drop from 113 to 104, with his best run coming two starts ago in the Racing League at Newcastle when not given the best ride by Saffie Osbourne over 5f, finishing back in sixth but rallying later to make up some good ground.

He does need to bounce back to his form of old but now dropped into a handicap again, if overcoming a wide draw could have a part to play on his back class.

Ayr - September 22 2023
Ayr 14:35
Tom Eaves

Magical Spirit

J: Tom Eaves
T: Kevin Ryan
Age: 7
Weight: 9-3
OR: 95
Days: 56

At a huge price of 40/1 Magical Spirit for Kevin Ryan and Tom Eaves has some smart form at Ayr and down to a mark of 95 could nick a place from a nice draw of stall 18.

A winner at this meeting in 2020 in the Ayr Silver Cup off a mark of 88, a season later he looked to land back to back renewals of the race when fourth of 24 off a higher mark of 94.

Rounding at 2021 with a good win at Doncaster over 6f on soft ground and a good second over the same C&D in the Listed Wentworth Stakes, he could not follow that up during all of 2022.

This term he needed his first run at Doncaster, but then went to Redcar and was a better fourth on soft ground not finishing far behind the winner off todays mark.

Dropped 1lb to a mark of 94 he got back to winning ways at Doncaster on soft ground again and then went to York in May and ran a cracker off 3lb higher to finish a narrow third to Bielsa in a competitive 21 runner handicap.

Below par two starts ago on the all weather, he returned to turf when last seen at York off a mark of 96 and finished a fair sixth behind the likes of Aberama Gold, Manilla Scouse and Summerghand who have all won since and now dropped 1lb back at a track he has performed well at he looks a big price to grab a place.

He meets top weighted Summerghand on much better terms having been receiving 1lb off him when last meeting up and only finishing 2 1/4 lengths behind him, but now receives almost a stone.