After a great Chester May meeting, we’re swiftly on to more top-class flat stuff at Ascot and Lingfield, but that’s not to discount the summer jumping at Haydock with the Swinton Hurdle.

Read on for Nick’s thoughts on NINE races this Saturday.


 MASCAT looks a likely one at 8/1 for the TV opener at Ascot on Saturday (1.45pm). He resumed last year’s progression on his first run for the Tizzard’s and should have no issue with this slightly stiffer test. He has a readiness edge on his chief market rivals and gets an excellent apprentice claiming three pounds.

MANDOOB looks interesting one at 12/1 in the Buckhounds (2.20pm). Any race in which Al Aasy dominates the market is a tempting betting event, and the selection looked a serious prospect when belying his inexperience to finish second to Yibir in last season’s Bahrain Trophy. Soft ground and a breathing issue undid him next time, but he shouldn’t have those worries here after his winter operation.

 AURIA was my outside pick in the Dahlia last weekend (non-runner), so I have to pick her here racing off her correct mark at 8/1 (3.30pm). She simply looks very well treated on the balance of last season’s form and – as I said last week – her pedigree strongly hints that she should be improving this year. Her half-brothers have been particularly effective on this track, too.

ONE RULER can take a strong Victoria Cup at 8/1 for Godolphin (4.05pm). This is his first ever foray outside stakes or conditions races and it should be much to his liking. A straight, stiff seven should see him in his element and he’ll be finishing off his race really strongly, with plenty of pace drawn around him to suck him into it.


 VERREAUX EAGLE is the answer at 9/4 to a trappy little seven furlong affair at Lingfield (2.05pm). The stable is enjoying something of a renaissance this year, and this filly looks to have been found a lovely spot after a promising return to turf in an okay race at Brighton last time, which she was unlucky not to win. A two-pound rise won’t stop her.

LIONEL can upset the applecart at 15/2 in the Derby Trial (2.40pm). He was all over the best horse in the race won by today’s rival Natural World at Newbury, yet is twice the price. His trainer never has them cranked up first time out and I expect a very bold showing from this colt here (still in the Derby).

ROGUE MILLENNIUM might be good enough at 11/2 to take the Oaks Trial (3.15pm). A really smart buy out of the Shadwell dispersal by Tom Clover, she bolted up against some nice-looking fillies on her debut at Wetherby, strongly suggesting that another step up in trip would be the order of the day. She is from a fabulous family going back to Epsom winners Generous and Imagine and is easily as promising as those around her in the market.

WREN’S BREATH could have the most potential in the Chartwell Fillies Stakes at 13/2 (3.50pm). A very smart winner at Naas last year, she was rather disappointing subsequently at Doncaster. She was sluggish from the start there, however, as though something was amiss, and I’d rather look positively on her chances of staying the seven furlongs here.


HERBIERS is ready to run a big race at 11/1, and connections have found him one in the shape of Haydock’s Swinton Hurdle (3.00pm). The key to this horse is genuine spring ground and, provided there isn’t a massive amount more rain, he should be very competitive off this mark judged on his excellent recent run at Cheltenham.