It’s a Classic Saturday and there’s plenty in store from the Sandy Lane at Haydock to the Festival Stakes at Goodwood, not mentioning the Bronte Cup at York and the Irish 2000 Guineas at the Curragh, and last but not least, the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico. It’s a marathon Saturday.

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


L’ENCLUME is a tentative choice at 9/1 in a rather drab TV opener at Haydock on Saturday (1.25pm). Open to a bit more improvement than most of these, she ought to do better switching to turf, while her pedigree strongly suggests that the forecast showers on Friday will be a significant plus. The form of her Kempton runs makes her look fairly well handicapped.

MERVEILLO looks a crazy price at 25/1 in the staying handicap (2.00pm). He ran some good races when slightly over faced in stakes company in France, while his UK debut was pretty respectable behind an absurdly well treated mare at Newbury. He just stayed on steadily that day and looked not for the first time as though a thorough test would suit. There’s a ton of pace on here, and the booking of Tom Marquand suggests he should be taken seriously.

OUTGATE might be a little bit of value at 10/1 in the Silver Bowl (2.35pm). I concede that Mighty Ulysses is a strong favourite, but he races without the hood and I’ll take a chance he might just do a bit too much early round here. The selection looked a smart and hard knocking sort in a warm race at Chester and the five-pound rise is not too steep. The trainers could be set for a good day.

GO BEARS GO looks a very fair price of 9/4 at the head of the market for the Sandy Lane (3.10pm). He’s a super game and consistent horse, who should arguably be better suited by Haydock’s flatter six than the stiff Ascot track where he impressed the other day. Ehraz has given that form a nice boost and I see no reason why he shouldn’t win again with plenty in his favour.

TWILIGHT CALLS could end up being a dangerous horse to follow so slavishly, but I’m going in again at 6/1 in the Temple Stakes (3.45pm). Nothing really went right for him at Newmarket in the Palace House, seeing too much daylight and challenging away from where the action unfolded. Still he travelled like the best horse, and there’s little danger either of not getting cover or an insufficient pace here. Henry Candy went to Adam Kirby to switch off Limato to good effect one day, and this might be an inspired jockey booking.


GISBURN gets the nod at 6/1 in the spicy three year old handicap at Goodwood (1.45pm). His form figures are slightly misleading as he picked up a nasty injury at Ascot and needed his York run. He got back on track at Newbury in no uncertain fashion, travelling like a really smart horse, and there’s every indication that he’ll be better at this trip. He’s well drawn and should go very close here before having a go at something better.

AD INFINITUM makes a bit of appeal at 11/1 in the Festival Stakes (2.15pm). She won a Listed event for fillies here first time out last season with cut in the ground, and this looks the perfect spot for her. She’s quite talented, but doesn’t look the easiest ride, hence Jamie Spencer is likely to get the best from her. She continued mild progression into last autumn and must run well here if settling.


SUNDAY SOVEREIGN must be of interest at 14/1 in the big sprint handicap at York (2.55pm). He is now off a lower mark than when just touched off in this last year. That was a career best and, somewhat surprisingly given his trainer, he hasn’t been back here until now. The raw pace in this race is in the two adjacent stalls, so he may end up with perfect track position into the bargain.

GLENARTNEY gets another chance at 6/1 in a really trappy Bronte Cup (3.30pm). Although she has a bit to find on the figures, she is still pretty lightly raced, looks well worth a go at this trip and ran perfectly well on her comeback given she was reportedly struck into. Added to that, her two best runs have come at this track in the Galtres and the Musidora and her stable has just started to hit serious form.


IMPERIAL FIGHTER is worth a small interest each way at 22/1 in the Irish Guineas at the Curragh (3.20pm). His form with Coroebus, Royal Patronage and Luxembourg last season bears the closest scrutiny and fully earns him his rating. He is rated the equal of Buckaroo, for example, but is seven times the price. I’ll happily excuse his Newcastle run on an unfamiliar surface where he was too fresh.


EARLY VOTING is my pick at 5/1 to win Saturday night’s Preakness Stakes at Pimlico (12.01am). Chad Brown opted to skip the Derby with this horse, a move which echoes the campaign of his 2017 winner of the race, Cloud Computing, who also placed in the Wood Memorial. A step forward from his Aqueduct run puts him right among the principals here and that, allied to his possible freshness edge, untapped potential and excellent (and quite speedy) pedigree, makes him a plausible alternative to heavy favourite Epicenter.