WEMBLEY (2.55) can give Aidan O’Brien a remarkable tenth Vertem Futurity Trophy scalp at Doncaster.
This Group 1 prize is the end-of-season Cup Final for juveniles, so Wembley would be an appropriately-named winner for the master of Ballydoyle. The colt was something of a slow-burner earlier in the summer but looked a strong middle-distance horse for the future when chasing home stable companion St Mark’s Basilica in the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket a fortnight ago.
The home defence is spearheaded by Godolphin’s One Ruler, third to New Mandate here in September but since victorious in a Group 3 event at HQ. Andrew Balding saddled Kameko to win this race last year and relies on King Vega, twice runner-up at Sandown this summer. Oisin Murphy’s mount may well improve now encountering slower ground.
Joseph O’Brien’s UK raids are always worth noting and State Of Rest ran a fine third to New Mandate and Ontario in the Royal Lodge at Newmarket last month.
There is rain forecast and that will play to the strengths of FISHABLE (1.10) and strong market leader Laafy in the 1m 4f handicap. Fishable, a dual Ripon winner this summer, ran a cracker over ten furlongs at York when reeled in late by Marronnier and should stay this longer trip. There are no stamina worries over Laafy but he has to concede quite a lot of weight to all his rivals.
At Cheltenham, ALLMANKIND (2.05) sets the bar high after ending the season with an excellent third in the JCB Triumph Hurdle. Dan Skelton’s gelding was unbeaten in third starts prior to that Cheltenham run and remains an exciting prospect. His best form has come in the mud, so the forecast rain will be welcomed by connections.
The ITV cameras are also on duty at Newbury for a couple of interesting Flat races. The track is riding very deep and that suits EUCHEN GLEN (4.10). Jim Goldie’s Scottish raider defied big odds to land the Cumberland Lodge Stakes at York and has an impressive CV when the mud is flying. It will not be easy giving weight all round but the ability to handle conditions counts for plenty.
TEMPUS (4.45), my tip at Ascot last week, was pulled out at the start due to veterinary advice but is worth sticking with in the 1m 2f handicap. His sixth in the Cambridgeshire came on drying ground and he'll be more at home on this testing terrain. Snow Ocean pulled too hard when beaten at Nottingham but should be able to sit off a stronger pace here. He'll carry an each-way saver.
New to horse racing? Check out our horse racing abbreviations guide as well as racebets for a fantastic welcome offer.