RACING comes thick and fast tomorrow with nine fixtures across Britain and Ireland, as Newbury’s Hungerford Stakes card takes centre stage, writes CHARLIE CROASDALE.
With York’s Ebor meeting around the corner, there's a relatively low-key feel to this weekend but that shouldn't distract from a couple of good bets to be had, starting with The Ladies Day Handicap (3pm), and Roger Varian's Sun Lover can improve to land a decent pot.
Sun Lover is developing into one of those frustrating animals who has been running well in defeat, with fine seconds at Doncaster and York this year, but this looks a good chance to poke his head in front under Andrea Atzeni, who appears to have a fine book of rides.
That good book of rides includes Spangled, who is taken to defy a lengthy lay-off to land the feature Hungerford Stakes (3.35) over seven furlongs.
Off the track since winning the Group 3 Spectre Stakes at Doncaster on September 9, Spangled appears to have met with a setback or two this summer but is in the capable hands of Varian and could make be waited with at the back of the pack by Atzeni before being launched to challenge. The 16s available makes appeal.
Ripon hold their Great St Wilfrid Handicap tomorrow (3.15) and the six furlong affairs looks typically competitive.
Tom Dascombe has declared Kachy – who will have to shoulder a big weight off a mark of 107 – and that could leave the race open to a few down the field on handy marks.
The one who makes most appeal after yesterday’s declaration is Shanghai Glory for trainer Charlie Hills, with Jamie Spencer heading to Yorkshire to take the ride.
Well-backed for the Goodwood Stewards’ Cup a fortnight ago, the four-year-old did best of those drawn low from stall three, to finish fifth and looks to have a live chance here off a mark of 101.
Shanghai Glory’s record in sprint handicaps on good ground or softer now reads four from seven, with those defeats by a neck, a head, and that encouraging fifth last time out. Spencer can hopefully deliver him with a textbook ride and land this big prize.
Tommy Taylor – who was guaranteed a run off a mark of 100 – would have been of major interest but hasn’t been declared by in-form trainer Kevin Ryan and is one worth putting in the tracker for next time.
Elsewhere at Ripon, Related can claim the William Hill Silver Trophy Handicap (2.40) for Paul Midgley.
This seven-year-old has snuck into the race off a mark of 84, and considering he was rated as high as 97 just over a year ago, Related looks a well-treated animal.
His lowly mark is a result of several uninspiring runs on the all-weather in the winter followed by three poor results at the start of this year, but Related was back to form last time out at Nottingham, landing a class five handicap despite not looking the most straightforward.
Despite the jump back up to a class two, Related remains on a good mark and there’s a fair chance this has been the plan since that Nottingham win.
Over at Wolverhampton tonight, Indian Affair can improve to land the Birmingham to Doha Handicap (2.20) for Milton Bradley.
Indian Affair has been running consistently of late, including a good second to Our Lord at Bath last time out under 7lb claimer Kerrie Raybould.
All-weather specialist Luke Morris takes over in the plate and this course and distance winner can take advantage of a reduced mark of 63.