Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Neil Morrice: UK Racing Best Bets - Saturday 31 October 2020

Neil Morrice: UK Racing Best Bets - Saturday 31 October 2020

UK Best Bets - Saturday 16 October 2020

Neil Morrice brings us all of his best bets and tips for Saturday's racing coming your way from Wetherby, Ascot, and Newcastle.



WETHERBY

Race 4: No6 - VERDANA BLUE
Trainer: Nicky Henderson - Jockey: Jerry McGrath

Restricted to just three outings this year, VERDANA BLUE sits head and shoulders above her foes in this mares’ Listed hurdle and can post a first success for her new connections. The eight-year-old ran blinders in both the Ascot Stakes and York’s Ebor Handicap before getting turned over by Silver Streak as a 1-2 chance back over hurdles at Kempton. However, she might have been a gallop short for that mission and is strongly fancied to put the record straight on a first visit to this track.

Race 5: No9 - ROKSANA
Trainer: Dan Skelton - Jockey: Harry Skelton

The Grade 2 West Yorkshire Hurdle heralds the return of Stayers’ Hurdle victor Lisnagar Oscar, but more attractive and in receipt of almost a stone from that rival is the mare ROKSANA. The Skeltons have campaigned her exclusively on Grade 1 tracks for her last nine outings, over which time she’s rubbed shoulders with the best. The likes of Buveur D’Air, If The Cap Fits, and Honeysuckle have proved too smart for her, but with a summer on her back she looks sure to have a big say in what should shape into a fascinating contest.

Race 6: No8 - MISTER WHITAKER (Each Way)
Trainer: Mick Channon - Jockey: Jonathan Burke

Connections of Cyrname gamble that the eight-year-old can, at last, prove he’s effective going left-handed in this featured Charlie Hall Chase. On the figures, the Grade 2 three-miler is his for the taking, but a deeper examination of the other protagonists suggests horses like Sam Spinner, Vindication and MISTER WHITAKER represent value options. Sam Spinner defends an unbeaten record over fences while Vindication is the subject of positive vibes from his trainer. However, Mister Whitaker runs well off a break and has done plenty of work ahead of this first run since March. That effort, to finish third to Simply The Betts in the Brown Advisory Plate, would almost certainly have been bettered had lockdown not arrived, and at a big double-figure price he’s worth risking.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

ASCOT

Race 5: No5 - CAPTAIN MORGS
Trainer: Nicky Henderson - Jockey: Nico de Boinville

Runners from this stable have been thin on the ground through the week, but CAPTAIN MORGS forms part of a stronger assault from Seven Barrows today. Greenness almost certainly brought about his downfall as a heavily-bet favourite on his Warwick introduction where he would have won in another two or three strides. His trainer is wasting no time turning attention from bumpers to hurdles, a clear sign that he’s one of the more highly regarded novices in the team.

Race 6: No9 - COUNTISTER (Each Way)
Trainer: Nicky Henderson - Jockey: Nico de Boinville

Henderson will be keen to make up for lost time with COUNTISTER after the mare’s sparing campaign last season. In fairness, those two outings happened in the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham for which she started one of the favorites, and the Ladbroke Hurdle at Ascot won in runaway fashion by Not So Sleepy. The former French-based mare embarks on a new season off a fair mark and has sparkled in her readying work.

Race 7: No5 - COMMANCHE RED
Trainer: Chris Gordon - Jockey: Tom Cannon

Having taken his rivals apart in one of the novice chases at Kempton on Boxing Day COMMANCHE RED now goes down the handicap route and whatever happens today is a horse to follow. He’s proved a standard-bearer for his underrated trainer and at the tender age of seven should have more to offer. There are some familiar names amongst the opposition, but in reality, the likes of Might Bite and Blaklion are now past their sell-by date. It should be left to horses such as Regal Encore and Valtor to give the selection most to think about.

Jockeys Ride Horses

NEWMARKET 

Race 1: No10 - URBAN VIOLET 
Trainer: Mick Channon - Jockey: William Buick

Cracksman’s sister Hopefully Darling is one to watch in the market but URBAN VIOLET has an experience edge and ran well against the impressive Enteine over course and distance earlier in the month. The selection has taken those exertions in her stride and is the one to beat.

Race 4: No12 - RAINS OF CASTERMERE
Trainer: Mick Channon - Jockey: Hollie Doyle

RAINS OF CASTERMERE has crept into this at the base of the handicap fresh from a game success in an incident-packed race at Windsor. The gelding enjoyed the run of things from the front to take out that soft ground Class 5, gaining a confidence boost that should serve him well in this step up into a Class 4.

Race 6: No3 - HEADMAN (Nap)
Trainer: Roger Charlton - Jockey: Ryan Moore

Big things were expected of HEADMAN at the start of the year, but the Kingman colt was unable to back up his dual Group 2 triumphs in France. On his return in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot the handsome son of Kingman ran with the choke out and ultimately trailed in last behind Lord North. His patient trainer now brings him back for an end-of-year campaign in this James Seymour Stakes, a move that represents a big class drop into Listed company. And as long as he avoids the tendency to pull, he should get back on track by outclassing his foes.

Race 7: No5 - ZAKOUSKI
Trainer: Charlie Appleby - Jockey: William Buick

If there’s a proper Group performer in this Listed Ben Marshall Stakes then that horse is ZAKOUSKI, who owing to training issues has seen the track a mere five times in three seasons’ racing. The Shamardal gelding took the notable scalp of Headman on debut two years ago, and although falling short in his bid for the Craven Stakes, then landed a valuable handicap and a Group 2 at the Dubai Carnival. His earning run behind Happy Power at Newmarket came after an eight-month break and is there to be improved on against the likes of Stormy Antarctic and Epic Hero.

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