Richard Hoiles: My 5 picks for Saturday’s racing

Home » Richard Hoiles: My 5 picks for Saturday’s racing

The horse racing broadcaster reveals his fancies for Saturday’s action, as well as four runners from his stable of tracked horses.

With Royal Ascot just around the corner, this weekend’s focus is largely on impenetrable handicaps, but the Listed Races at both York and Sandown both look to throw up decent betting opportunities.

First up is REAL DREAM


(15:00 York) who can continue the excellent start to the season for Sir Michael Stoute and book himself a slot in the Ebor by winning the Race To The Ebor Gold Cup. The winner of this automatically wins a place in the biggest staying handicap in Europe, and while many major Newmarket yards like William Haggas, John and Thady Gosden and Simon and Ed Crisford have been struggling for consistency this season, Sir Michael has made a good start (9/46, Actual/Expected Ratio 1.17) and his first two-year-old runner of the season won at Kempton this week.

Real Dream was one place ahead of subsequent winner and opponent today Relentless Voyager at Newmarket and looks certain to be suited by a return to 1m 6f. Two other horses from the Newmarket race, Geremia (6th) and Hope You Can Run (7th), also won next time and the form looks solid.

ITV4 coverage also comes from Sandown, where the emphasis is more on speed for their feature race, the 5f Listed Scurry Stakes. The consistent and likeable ADAAY IN DEVON


(14:40 Sandown) can continue her already excellent season. Her second in the Group 3 Commonwealth Cup trial at Ascot should be enough to repel improvers like Nighteyes and No Half Measures. They both arrive at the race with a decent set of form figures, but in lower-level handicaps, and will need to improve further to beat Adaay In Devon.

Flora of Bermuda, meanwhile, has become increasingly slow from the gates and completely blew her chance at Haydock. Using the Race IQ data of speed from 0-20, she has clocked 2.90 (slowest in field), 2.93 (11th of 13), and last time a disastrous 3.93 (slowest). Adaay in Devon is very straightforward and hopefully the race can be set up nicely by Dawn Charger, who is in the next stall.

Later at Sandown, PALMAR BAY


(15:15) can make a successful return to action after showing progressive form as a juvenile last season. This ended with him being too keen in very deep ground at Doncaster and saw him gelded during the close season, which may make him easier to settle. There also looks to be a decent amount of pace on with Star Style having led the Guineas field and Swindon possibly being sent forward to overcome a wide draw.

Away from the ITV races, GHATHANFAR


(17:20 York) is not the force of old but has dropped to a mark that could see him run well in the 6f handicap. He has placed off similar marks in the low 70’s on his last three runs but generally runs well here and has won off 83 and placed off as high as 92 at the track. York often favours front runners on the sprint track and he is nicely drawn right in the middle to take whichever route Dale Swift desires. Five of Tracy Waggott’s last seven runners have run in the top three, with the two that missed the frame both being outsiders.



(17:48 Leicester) has shown more than enough in his two runs to date to win at this level. This race is restricted to those that cost less than £19,800 and so even though there are a few newcomers in the field, none particularly catch the eye on pedigree. The prize money for a couple of these low-level races has been boosted, including the race at Bath where Fearless Freddy last ran, and the prize of over £20,000 to the winner means it attracted many of the better horses capable of running in this low grade. With the conventional prize money back at just over £3,600, this represents a hidden drop in grade and the stable’s horses are in good form. He will be very hard to beat.


Our regular list of jockeys in action at venues where they historically have a good record.

Hexham – Charlotte Jones (11/34, A/E 2.33). Two rides for course chairman James Walton, including West Lawn, a dual hurdles winner at the track.

Uttoxeter – Harry Skelton (116/390, A/E 1.26). Likely to get off to a winning start with Jafimgoso in the 17:10 on his hurdles debut.

York – Connor Beasley (25/184, A/E 1.60). Three rides for Michael Dods, including last start winner Boy Douglas (16:45), who he has ridden twice to victory.


One winner, one second, one unplaced, and one withdrawn at the start this week with two more scheduled to run on Friday as well in OLD CHUMS (14:15 Chester) and GAMES PEOPLE PLAY (15:50 Sandown). Old Chums is under far more suitable conditions than last time but will need to overcome a wide gate while Games People Play makes her handicap debut off what looks a lenient mark of 81.

The runners this week started with Principality winning at a short price (1/2f) at Goodwood. While he won in decisive fashion, he is going to be discarded as quite lofty targets were being spoken of for his next start and I am not convinced he is that good.

It’s Life once again ran in a race where he had little chance, as reflected by his 100/1 starting price. It’s puzzling why connections are persisting with open novices and maidens. Given that he now also has the option of nurseries and the big process means there is very little damage to our A/E stats, he is retained.

Expert Witness (second, 100/30) again ran well in finishing runner-up for the third time in succession. She continues to frustratingly edge up the weights as a result but is retained for her final start next time.

Global Asset spread a plate and was withdrawn at the start on the same card, which may be a blessing as the Haggas yard is not quite firing and he didn’t overly impress in the paddock beforehand.

There are two runners on Saturday in CHORUS (15:50 Sandown) and CROSSING THE BAR (20:15 Uttoxeter). Chorus looks to have a major chance but was taken out the other day as a precaution due not scoping great, indicative of the tricky time the Haggas stable is enduring. She will stay further when going handicapping but the level of form she has shown so far is competitive here.

Crossing the Bar, like It’s Life, hasn’t quite followed the expected path after keeping on at Plumpton two starts ago. He was off for nearly three months before running a lifeless race at Ffos Las but has an eye-catching jockey booking in Danny Mullins, having just his second ride for the yard and the first since 2016 when he rode Ebony Express at the Punchestown Festival.

One addition this week in KNIGHTSWOOD who got no luck at Haydock last Saturday in a very messy affair. He looks the type who could go well in a big field handicap before too long with Goodwood at the end of July likely on the agenda.

Removed: Principality

Added: Knightswood

For a full list of current tracker horses, click here.

COLUMN PERFORMANCE 2024 (Actual/Expected)

Selections: 25/27.95, A/E 0.89

Jockeys For Courses: 28/30.78, A/E 0.91

Stable Tracker Horses: 13/14.28, A/E 0.91

Total: 66 / 72.93, A/E 0.90

Visit Betway’s horse racing betting page.

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