Horse Racing Tips

Saturday Racing Tips: Benbatl to make a winning comeback

Benbatl
Benbatl can make a winning return on Saturday

"There's little doubt that he's a genuine Group 1 performer on his day and Saeed bin Suroor could well be rewarded for his patience here"

Mark Milligan has selected three bets on a packed day of racing, including a high-class performer making his return...

There is a feast of high-quality racing action taking place on both sides of the Atlantic on Saturday, with a host of Group and Listed races at Goodwood, Newmarket, Beverley and Windsor in the UK, while Saratoga stages no less than six Grade 1 contests well into the evening. It's probably fair to say there's a bit of something for everyone on a packed day.

Starting off at Goodwood, the Group 2 Tote Celebration Mile at 15:35 sees the return of Goldolphin's high-class horse Benbatl, who hasn't been on the track since finishing a solid third to Kameko in the Joel Stakes at Newmarket almost a year ago, a race in which he was also returning from a layoff.

Clearly a somewhat fragile individual, there's little doubt that he's a genuine Group 1 performer on his day and Saeed bin Suroor could well be rewarded for his patience here, with Benbatl looking to have been found an ideal comeback opportunity.

This won't be all plain sailing, however, as the son of Dubawi does have to concede weight and match fitness to a couple of three-year-olds who have banged heads with the best of their generation this year.

Chindit made it four wins from his first five starts when landing Greenham at Newbury on his return in April, though hasn't quite been up to Group 1 company since. However, he has performed with credit against some of the best milers around and is respected with his sights lowered slightly.

Mutasaabeq looked on the fast-track to the top when making an impressive winning return in minor company at Newmarket, a performance that persuaded connections to supplement him for the 2000 Guineas. Not disgraced in seventh there, he ran poorly in the Jersey at Royal Ascot next time (when yard was out of form) but bounced back with an easy defeat of three rivals in a small race at Haydock last time. He has the talent to make a mark at this level, though this is no easy task.

In summary, Chindit and Mutasaabeq both bring strong three-year-old form to the table, but Benbatl has been a top performer in this sort of race for a few years now and has a good record fresh. I wouldn't expect him to lack for fitness and he looks to have been found a nice spot for this comeback run.

Tabdeed to land the odds at Newmarket

Over at Newmarket, the Listed Close Brothers Hopeful Stakes at 14:45 looks a good opening for Tabdeed to record a sixth career success. Owen Burrows' gelding is a smart performer who won Group 3 Hackwood Stakes at Newbury last year and ran up to his best when a close third in the latest renewal of the same event last time. Beaten only narrowly by a pair of progressive younger rivals there, he faces nothing of that calibre here and should go mighty close.

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The beautiful Beverley racecourse stages its biggest meeting of the year on Saturday, where the headline event is the Listed Beverley Bullet Stakes at 15:15. Dakota Gold and Judicial - the last two winners of the race - head the market, and course form can be important at a venue that doesn't suit every horse.

That pair have an experience edge over the younger Hurricane Ivor, who has acquitted himself well in some competitive sprint handicaps this season having joined the William Haggas yard from France at the start of the year.

This will be fast and a furious, with a watching brief advised.

Strong Group 3 at Windsor

The Group 3 Winter Hill Stakes at 18:30 headlines Windsor's evening meeting, where a relatively closely matched field of four head to post. Solid Stone has been a consistent performer for Sir Michael Stoute this year and has course form courtesy of his win in a Listed contest here in May. He was a creditable fourth to Megallan at this level at Salisbury on his most recent outing.

Bangkok rarely puts a foot wrong at around this sort of level and he proved just about as good as ever when taking a Group 2 at York last time. He does have to shoulder a 5-lb penalty here, though, and will need to be at least as good again to shrug off that imposte.

The three-year-old Fancy Man is the one who catches my eye. He's a big colt who will have taken a bit of time to grow into his frame but there were signs last time that he could be about to fulfil his potential. A very good ¾-length second to Foxes Tales in Group 3 company at Haydock last time, he had a couple of smart performers in behind him that day. Getting all the allowances from the older horses in this contest, he makes plenty of appeal.

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Japan hoping to prevail in America

Aidan O'Brien has had plenty of success in the US this year courtesy of Bolshoi Ballet and Santa Barbara, and he looks to try and claim another big Stateside pot when Japan lines up at Saratoga in the Grade 1 Resorts World Casino Sword Dancer Stakes at 22:25.

This isn't the deepest Grade 1 ever run and Japan has a strong chance on the pick of his best form.

However, that best form is going back over a year or so ago now and he hasn't been quite at that level this year despite claiming two victories, the latest in a Group 3 at Leopardstown earlier in the month.

There's a plethora of other Grade 1 races at Saratoga on the Saturday card, with the clash between Jackie's Warrior and Life Is Good potentially the highlight in the H. Allen Jerkens Memorial Stakes at 21:12.

Jackie's Warrior is one of the fastest three-year-olds around and he's sure to blaze a trail, though Life Is Good looked one of the best of his generation earlier in the year before injury sidelined him. This looks a clash to savour.

Elsewhere on the card, the best three-year-old in the States, Essential Quality, continues his preparation for the Breeders' Cup Classic in the Travers Stakes at 23:12. The whole card is jam-packed with quality and should give us plenty of clues as the countdown to Del Mar in early November begins in earnest.

Recommended bets

Mark's P&L

Staked: 33
Returns: 38.75
P/L: +5.75

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