Betfair Ambassador Hugo Palmer has runners in action at four different courses on a busy Saturday afternoon. Here he discusses their chances...
It was very fast at Haydock on Thursday which saw over 20% of the declared runners come out, but there is rain forecast. The Clerk hasn't watered in anticipation of rain, but if it doesn't arrive then the ground could be dangerously quick, and it's a tricky game to play.
I'd definitely like to see the ground ease for Rashdan, and we've always felt that he would need a bit of cut on turf. He's won two from four starts, both on the all-weather, including one of these Pro-Am races at Newcastle last time under Georgia Cox. She is a very promising apprentice, and I'd far rather take 'pro' over 'am' in such races, so hopefully he can take his chance.
It's tremendously bad luck that in one of the driest summers in living memory, Unforgetable Filly has already been a non-runner three times because the ground has been too soft, and she could easily make it four here if the rain arrives.
She ran an absolute cracker at Ascot last time in blinkers, and James (Doyle) was very hard on himself afterwards, feeling he could have won. I think that's the mark of the best jockeys that they look to blame themselves before the horse, although we were just delighted that she ran a good race for the first time in a year.
She needs to run at least that well here in what looks a stronger race, but she has shown her very best form around a bend, so we've targeted this race since Ascot. She has pleased me with how she's come forward since her last race and is moving well and looking tremendous at the moment. I'm looking forward to running her provided it is genuinely fast ground, but if there are any doubts then she won't run.
Fajjaj is in the lucky position of not having to worry about the weather, as he has won on very quick as well as very soft ground. We sent him to Ayr to get some confidence and it certainly did the trick, as he went on to put up a career-best performance when third at Newbury last time in what looked a stronger race than this.
Given he's coming off the back of his best effort, and is the highest rated runner on official figures, it's a surprise to see how big he is in the betting, even if there are one or two progressive rivals in the race. The cheekpieces seemed to sharpen him up last time and are retained, and I hope he can run another good race.
This is Caliburn's first chance in a handicap. We tried to go 1m5f in the Bahrain Trophy, and I think that was a bit far for him, and possibly a bit too tough class-wise at this stage of his career; he's still a young horse with only four runs behind him, after all.
I feel that dropping back to ten furlongs will suit, as will the ground. The rain was relentless in Newmarket on Thursday and while it wasn't enough to produce genuinely soft ground, I would expect it to ride on the easy side of good, which would be ideal for him.
I'm hoping that the ground will be nice and quick at Redcar, which will suit Ghayadh, and he doesn't really like coming down hills, so the flat track there will also help.
The undulating track at Leicester was a fair excuse for his defeat last time, but despite that, I think he would have won but for getting very worked up in the stalls. He went in perfectly settled, but another runner got loose twice behind the stalls, and ran around like a hooligan for about five minutes, and by the time Ghayadh emerged, he was so drenched in sweat that he looked grey. It can be very unnerving being stuck in the stalls in such circumstances, and while Ghayadh wasn't beaten that far, he had effectively run his race in the starting gate.
We will take every precaution to keep him calm here, so we will ask to be loaded late, and I hope we will see the Ghayadh who won at Carlisle as a result, and not the version we've seen either side of that at Brighton and Leicester.
La Bass has taken a very long time to come to hand, and he may take a little longer yet, but this represents a chance to get him onto a racecourse, and we will see what direction to take with him based on how he gets on. It looks a tough enough race for the class, and we don't really know what ability he has, so we'll just have to wait and see.
Minimum Bet Guarantee
Betfair's 'minimum bet guarantee' on all Class 1 and 2 races in the UK and Ireland - which means all customers are able to bet to win a minimum of £500 - has been extended to cover all of Saturday’s Ascot, Haydock, Newmarket and Chelmsford races. T&Cs apply.