York may be done and dusted but a week of relentless top level action continues on Saturday afternoon, with the Channel 4 cameras heading to Newbury and Newmarket for a televised double header.
The Betfred London Gold Cup (3.15pm) is a contest which has thrown up numerous good horses in recent times – think of the likes of Green Moon and Monterosso – and this year’s renewal also has some fascinating contenders…
The unbeaten Kitten On The Run makes his first start for Luca Cumani after rattling in four on the bounce in Italy.
His first run in this country looks to be a stiff ask to say the least in a handicap off 102.
Mark Johnston has enjoyed a good degree of success in this event and fields Nottingham scorer Salutation, who looks to have improved for being gelded before returning for the 2013 campaign.
He must be a danger, but on a line through Andrew Balding’s Soviet Rock then if you fancy Salutation then you have to consider backing Sir Michael Stoute’s Hillstar.
Salutation went down by three parts of a length to Soviet Rock at Newmarket on Guineas weekend, in receipt of five pounds.
Contrast that with Hillstar, who got to within a length of Soviet Rock when conceding six pounds at the Craven meeting.
What’s more, Stoute appears to have his team back in really good nick for this vital part of the season, and a workable looking mark of 92 shouldn’t be enough to stop Hillstar in his tracks.
A little later in the day the big race is the Group 1 JLT Lockinge (3.50pm), in which the progressive Declaration Of War is as short as 13/8 at the time of writing.
There could be a lot more to come from him, but there’ll need to be given the ratings gap that exists between him and the likes of Farhh and Cityscape.
Declaration of War did well in France for Jean-Claude Rouget, and has completed a hat-trick for Aidan O’Brien, but this is a first step beyond Group 3 level and demands a step up.
He may well find the required improvement in spades, but at the prices the proven class of Farhh is hard to ignore at a generous 9/2 with any of bet365, BetVictor, Paddy Power, Coral or William Hill.
Given that he won first time out in 2010, 2011 and 2012, it’s pretty conclusive to suggest he goes well fresh.
What’s more, this fella was a rock solid campaigner at Group 1 level last year, with placed efforts when third at Royal Ascot, second to Nathaniel in the Eclipse, second to Frankel in both the Sussex and the Juddmonte, before losing out to Moonlight Cloud by a nostril in the Prix du Moulin at Longchamp in September.
If ever there was a horse who deserves to win a race!
Expect a bold bid in the hands of Silvestre de Sousa.
Saturday’s best bets at Newbury:
3.15 – Betfred Mobile Sports London Gold Cup Handicap – 2 Hillstar (win)