Racing Daily with BetVictor – Aug 16

We suggested earlier in the week that Safe Voyage had been all the rage for Saturday’s Hungerford Stakes at Newbury and John Quinn’s mud-lover is 2/1 favourite at BetVictor for the 7f Group 2 contest after eight were declared at the overnight stage.

There is further heavy rain forecast for much of Britain today and the ground at Newbury, described as good to soft on Thursday morning, looks sure to deteriorate. I feel it is safe to assume that conditions will be soft by the end of today’s seven-race card the feature of which is the listed St Hugh’s Stakes over 5f for two-year-old fillies.

Al Raya (3.30) has only won one of her four career starts and that was a match at 1/16 at Lingfield, but she had previously finished fifth in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot and she gets the vote. David Probert takes over in the saddle with regular pilot Andrea Atzeni unavailable for Simon Crisford.

There are a couple of interesting debutantes in the opening 7f Maiden and a market move for either Quadrilateral and Quickstep Lady would be worth noting but Ottoman Court (1.50) has valuable racecourse experience and can make it third time lucky stepped up to 7f for the first time. Note Charlie Appleby’s colt holds an entry in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster next month.

War Brigade (2.55) is 1lb out of the weights but is one of the few in the field who will not be inconvenienced if the rain gets into the ground and he has run well in both starts at today’s Berkshire track. Jason Watson takes over in the saddle this afternoon. The sole three-year-old in the field Battle Of Wills has been hit with an 8lb rise for winning at Epsom last time. He must prove his stamina for this additional furlong on softer ground however.

There is a valuable handicap at Nottingham over 1m 6f this afternoon and I feel that Ralph Beckett’s Nathaniel gelding Brasca (4.10) will appreciate the soft ground which he is encountering for the first time. The each way selection looked a non-stayer over 2m at Ascot last time, but this drop back down in trip on soft ground might be the key.

Teodora De Vega (4.45) was a comfortable winner at Leicester last month on heavy ground and she is taken to follow up from a 6lbs higher mark in the 10f fillies’ handicap. The lightly-raced Ojooba makes her handicap debut and this daughter of Dubawi is a fascinating contender although her ability to handle soft ground must be taken on trust.

At the Curragh this evening I’m looking forward to seeing beaten Derby favourite Sir Dragonet (6.45) back in action in the Gp 3 Royal Whip Stakes dropping back to 10f. Aidan O’Brien’s colt finished fifth at Epsom and holds Group entries ranging from 10 to 14 furlongs in the next month. One would imagine tonight’s race will decide whether he will be Ballydoyle’s Irish Champions Stakes contender or whether he will be stepping back up in trip for his next start.

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