Ascot Saturday preview

2019 Epsom Handicap

Following an 11/4 winner (EARTHLIGHT) and a 25/1 2nd place (BERINGER) from 4 selections last weekend, Tom Wilson in collaboration with GIVEMEBET takes a look at some of the feature races on the Ascot card on Saturday.

2:00 Ascot 5f Rous Stakes (Listed Race) (Class 1) (3yo+) 

The Rous Stakes kicks us off for Saturdays’ racing at Ascot. 

DAKOTA GOLD heads the market for Michael Dods’ Northern-based yard, a year on from the victory of stablemate Intense Romance in the same race. 

This son of Equiano has claims to be one of the horses of the season, he racked up an impressive winning run of four in a row in the middle of the season, culminating in victory in the Garrowby Stakes Listed race at York in early September. His form looks solid and he deserves his place at the head of the market.

I’m going to side with a horse away from Dods yard in STAKE ACCLAIM, representing the Dean Ivory stable. He’s got course and distance form in the book already, being 1/2 at the track.

Conditions will suit, he gets the Soft ground that he thrives on, being 3/6 when the ground comes up Soft. It’s his run at Newbury in April that really stands out for me and why he gets the nod as a selection. The ground was soft that day and he ran a startling speed figure, higher than any of the rest of this field have ran all season. I think he’s good each way value.


3:10 Ascot 7f bet365 Challenge Cup (Heritage Handicap) (Class 2) (3yo+)

The Challenge Cup is one of those great big field Saturday handicaps that it can really pay to get stuck into from a betting perspective, particularly as it’s one made unique by the specialist 7f distance. It nets £112,000 to the winner and trainers will be going all out to take home the pot prior to the culmination of the flat season.

Last years’ winner Raising Sand lines up again here and is currently heading the betting at 5/1 with GIVEMEBET.

With the ground coming up Soft, a great starting angle into this race is to look at the likely draw bias that we could see emerging. I took a look through all the 7f races ran at Ascot over Soft – Heavy ground since 2008 to try and gain an edge. As displayed in the table below, there is a distinct benefit towards Quarter 1 of the draw, so we will be focussing on Stalls 1-5 for the analysis.


Two horses that I feel have an excellent chance this year are BEDOUINS STORY from the Saeed Bin Suroor yard and SUMMERGHAND for Northern trainer David O’Meara.

BEDOUINS STORY is going to love conditions here today, he’s 1/1 on Soft ground and 4/6 over the 7f trip. The big field wont phase him at all and he’s 1/1 in fields of 16+ runners. 

SUMMERGHAND steps up to 7f for the first time after running over 6f this season. On pedigree, the trip move is really going to suit; his Dam Kate the Great has had progeny winners from 5f – 1m2f and has a record with progeny running over 7f of 2/11 with 6 places. His sire Lope De Vega has had 5 Group winning horses at 7f, so it also suits on that side of the pedigree. He’s 2/8, with 4 places on Soft ground so no worries with the conditions either. 

They both have plum draws in 3 (BEDOUINS STORY) and 5 (SUMMERGHAND) and I think they can go very close here.


3:40 Ascot 6f Bengough Stakes (Group 3) (Class 1) (3yo+)

2019 Epsom Handicap

We’ve seen some good horses come out of the Bengough Stakes in recent years, the most notable being Blue Point, who won this race as a three-year-old in 2017 prior to going on to a number of Group 1 successes.

There’s only horse that I’m interested in here and that’s CAPE BYRON from the Roger Varian yard. Varian’s horses are absolutely on fire at the moment, with the yard operating at a 4/16 25% +6.13pts strike rate in the last 7 days.

This race represents a class drop for CAPE BYRON, his last two races have come at Group 1 and Group 2 level and he drops to Group 3 here. In the July Cup at Newmarket, he was 1.5 lengths behind Glorious Journey who subsequently went and won the Group 2 Hungerford Stake at Newbury in August.

At York last time out he was ahead of subsequent Group 2 winner Sir Dancealot who won the Park Stakes at Doncaster on St Leger Day and Speak in Colours who followed that race by taking the Group 3 Renaissance Stakes at the Curragh. I think he’s rock solid here and I’m very happy with the current price.


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