The sports schedule takes a dip this summer with the domestic football leagues sent off on their pre-season break. That reduces the interest for punters on the highlight of the week but we’re glad to report the horse racing schedule is happy to pick up the slack as we move towards a busy flat season of UK and Irish racing this summer. Here are our top Saturday May 18 Horse Racing betting tips.
This weekend we see meetings of note take place at Doncaster, Newbury, Newmarket, Thirsk, Uttoxeter, Bangor and Navan and that’s enhanced by international racing from countries such as France, South Africa, Germany, Canada and America. There’s more than enough to hold your interest on the day and the programme ensures there’s something to bet on from dawn through to midnight, with major bookmakers using virtual racing to fill in the gaps.
Newbury the Focus
There are a few graded races set to take place at Pimlico, but we focus our attentions a little closer to home and concentrate on the action coming to us from Newbury racecourse. A seven-race card gets started with a listed stakes at 1.50pm and we are entertained through to the lucky last that brings the curtain down on the afternoon with a competitive handicap due to post at 5.25pm.
Between the pair we have two group contests to look forward to in the Group 3 Al Rayyan Stakes and the star of the show, the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes. Bookmakers have put their prices together and you’ll find a competitive market available in each contest.
Al Rayyan Stakes – 2.25pm Newbury
A Group 3 race decided over 1m 4f, this year’s field has attracted seven runners who do battle to claim the title won by Crystal Ocean for Sir Michael Stoute and Ryan Moore 12 months ago. The money men have had their say and are keen on a repeat performance with the defending champion priced like losing isn’t an option – Crystal Ocean pinned to the head of the betting market.
That was the story of the antepost exchanges too and we’ve seen no lack of money come for Stoute’s defending champion who again has the benefit of Moore in the saddle. The five-year-old bay horse has won six times and placed on another seven occasions from a 13-race career and those stats are thoroughly impressive. He was last seen winning the Group 3 Gordon Richard Stakes at Sandown in April, leaving runner-up Knight to Behold 2 ¼ lengths behind.
His stats make him difficult to oppose but the jolly has shown a tendency to finish second when going off as a short price favourite in recent times and that, as well as the 4/7 (Bet365) price, puts us off risking our stake on him. Instead, we’ll happily take a punt on one at a bigger price in the hope of troubling the jolly, or at least snatching each-way money, bookmakers giving out 1/4 the odds a place 1-2.
Better Than His Price
The runner to carry our stake money in this race will be Raymond Tusk who has been priced as a 9/1 shot with Bet365. That’s interesting as the same runner is only 8/1 with the competition, so we’re already sitting on the value, regardless of the outcome. Richard Hannon’s four-year-old colt has won two and placed second another three times from seven starts and strikes us as one with plenty of improving left in him. We should see evidence of that here.
The selection’s last win came at Hamilton in July of last year when scoring the 1m 3f Glasgow Stakes ahead of runner-up Austrian School, a respected horse himself. The margin of victory was comfortable that day and he went on to improve from there, placing second at Newbury in the Group 3 Geoffrey Freer Stakes and at Ascot in the G3 Longines Sagaro Stakes over 1m 7f last time out. The latter saw him beaten by SP favourite Dee Ex Bee. Followers should get another run for their money here and we expect our pick to be in the mix at the business end of the deal. He has a better chance than his price suggests, and we’ll have a go.
Lockinge Stakes – 3.40pm Newbury
This race is an indication summer is fast approaching and punters are set for a fantastic renewal as a 14-runner field make up the running for this Group 1 race run over the flat mile. Rhododendron was our champion last year when scoring for AP O’Brien and Ryan Moore, but who will wear the crown on Saturday afternoon in front of packed stands?
Bookies believe they know and have Le Brivido marked as 7/2 favourite, Bet365 offering out a market best price. We can see where the money men are coming from with that pick and it wouldn’t rate as a shock if they were proven to be right, but we aren’t impressed with the price and think there’s bits and pieces of value to be taken from the race.
Go for Win Only
Beat The Bank is our pick and those who agree can get their hands on a cracking 7/1 when playing with Bet365. Balding’s five-year-old gelding has won eight of 14 previous goes, including each of his last two, and was seen scoring last time out at Sandown in April. Contesting the Bet365 mile just a few weeks ago, he was sent off a 7/4 joint-favourite and held on to beat Sharja Bridge by ½ a length in a result that proved odds-makers to be spot on.
Our pick is one with confidence on side and a horse representing a strong yard. He looks to have been overpriced at 7/1 and we’ll play for interest stakes in the hope of hurting the bookies. Each-way backers will get 1/5 the odds a place 1-2-3 if keen on a bit of a safety net, although Beat The Bank either wins or finishes right down the pecking order. He has never ended second or third to date, which pushes us into a win only bet.