ITV Saturday Preview - 25/05/2019

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The opening race on the Sussex Downs at Goodwood and on ITV is the Betfair Best Odds On ITV Races Festival Stakes - a Listed contest over ten furlongs.

Elarqam - beautifully bred son of Frankel; it's never quite worked out for him, losing his unbeaten record in last year's 2,000 Guineas, and never jumping back up to the hype.

He only finished fourth in the Group Three Earl Of Sefton Stakes at Newmarket on return, but that form has worked out really well, with Forest Ranger scoring in a Group Two at Chester, and Mustashry hosing up in the Lockinge at Newbury on Saturday.

Time to up his game once more.


The first race of the day at Haydock and second on the ITV broadcast comes in the Class 2 Handicap over a marathon distance of 2 miles and we have gone for the Mark Johnston trained Lucky Deal.

This four year old has produced all of his best performances on quick ground and opposed to that has been poor in soft conditions giving him great scope on Saturday with firm ground.

Stamina should not be an issue running well over this distance and slightly further in the past and when last running on good ground last time out he finished second behind a stablemate who has since gone on to win again.


Alhakmah finally got his head in front at the fourth attempt at Lingfield in a Novice event on his latest start, and now heads back to the home of his impressive debut at Goodwood for the Betfair Each Way Edge Handicap.

The three-year-old absolutely flew home here under Ryan Moore in his juvenile days on his first ever start for Richard Hannon, and certainly went into everyone's notebooks as a future winner next time out.

He failed to get the job done at Newbury or at Salisbury on reappearance, but now a winner, he certainly enters calculations in this big handicap.

Well in at the weights, a big run will be expected in the colours of Al Shaqab.


The next race of the day at Haydock is the Class 2 Amix Silver Bowl Handicap over 1 mile and we have sided with the William Haggas trained Awe.

This three year old colt looks a very progressive youngster only racing four times but showing plenty of ability in all of them especially his seasonal return.

He finished a much improved second on his handicap debut at Ascot and stepping up an extra furlong could bring even more out of him.


Next up, we head North to York for the Group Three William Hill Bronte Cup Fillies' Stakes, and Bayshore Freeway takes all the appeal in her first Group appearance of her career.

The Mark Johnston-trained four-year-old - who is a daughter of Declaration Of War, has come through the handicap route to get here, prevailing at Bath and Musselburgh in the space of a fortnight.

This is much tougher than those contests, but she is certainly on a roll and bidding for a possible hat-trick, which could come here if she arrives to the occasion.

Jason Hart is in the saddle.


The second Group race of the day comes over six furlongs in the Sandy Lane Stakes and we have gone for John Gosden's superstar Calyx to continue his unbeaten run.

He had two runs last season before getting injured with his win in the Group 2 Coventry Stakes being his highlight and really putting him on the map as a serious sprinter over six furlongs.

This season he made his seasonal return at the same track in the Commonwealth Cup Trial and he blitzed the Group 3 field with ease to show that punters were right to get excited about this colt.

This should be a routine victory for the three year old and another run under his belt before his first Group 1 outing at the Royal meeting.


The feature race of the day at the Curragh is the Irish 2,000 Guineas and we have gone for the Aidan O'Brien trained Magna Grecia and an each way shout with the Dermot Weld trained Shelir.

Starting with the Ballydoyle contingent and this three year old comes into this race on home soil off the back off two wins in Group 1 company and is eyeing up a hat-trick.

On his seasonal return he landed the British 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket which looks the form to beat but does have stronger opposition in this one with Too Darn Hot coming across the pond to challenge him for the milers title.

Our each way pick is the Dermot Weld trained Shelir who is currently unbeaten in both his runs to date, winning over course and distance last time out and if getting a strong pace at the front he could be dangerous at a nice price.


Leodis Dream - nicknamed The Cash Machine, can make it six from his last six for David O'Meara in this tricky handicap, the William Hill Sprint Handicap Stakes.

Three out of three in handicaps this season, he does not always win by much but keeps finding the necessary improvement to rise to the occasion.

Successful at Thirsk, Sandown (despite slow start) and Chester, York's track dynamics should certainly suit his needs, and a strong bid should be put forward by Daniel Tudhope on this rapidly climbing three-year-old.

Big player.


The other feature of the day at Haydock is the Group 2 Temple stakes over five furlongs and it hosts some of the best sprinters around, on ITV's final contest.

We have gone with the highly rated Charles Hills trained Battaash. He is one of the fastest animals over five furlongs in the world but you have to catch him on his day with sometimes him being very expensive to follow.

However, saying that he is a high class, pacy athlete who was won some very smart races, including this one last year on his seasonal debut showing that he goes well fresh.

His stand out performance last season was at Goodwood in the Group 2 King George Qatar Stakes where he completely dominated the field giving one of the runs of the festival.

If he was to produce that he would surely get off the mark for the season but should run a good race and is the one to beat on ratings.

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