Great Britain & Ireland: Spot plays for October 22

October 21st, 2022

The last major weekend of the British flat turf season is upon us. After this weekend, championships will be confirmed and attention will turn to jumps racing, or all-weather racing if you prefer the flat.

As is appropriate for the end of the season, the most important races help us look towards the next.

The biggest race is the one-mile Futurity Trophy (G1) at Doncaster for two-year-olds, an important preview for next season’s Classics and part of the 2023 European Road to the Kentucky Derby series. All races on the Doncaster card are subject to the TwinSpires Rest of the World Bet Back offer.

Two significant seven-furlong races for juveniles are staged this weekend at Newbury: the Horris Hill (G3), for colts and geldings (the latter group of which is excluded from the Futurity), and the Radley S. for fillies. Also staged at Newbury is the 1 1/2-mile St Simon (G3), for three-year-olds and up.

In addition, Ireland also stages a graded juvenile contest, the 1 1/8-mile Eyrefield (G3) at Leopardstown.

Doncaster, Race 5: 10:35 a.m. ET: Vertem Futurity Trophy (G1), one mile, 2-year-old colts and fillies

This race invariably throws up a Classic contender; the last five winners (Luxembourg, Mac Swiney, Kameko, Magna Grecia, and Saxon Warrior) all won Group 1 races the next term, and only Luxembourg didn’t win a Classic. So chances are the winner will be one to follow as a three-year-old.

British bookmakers already predict the likely Futurity favorite #1 Auguste Rodin will play a major part in the Classics, as they have him as favorite for the Derby next June. His form is very solid; after finishing second on debut, he won a maiden at Naas July 2 before taking out the Champion Juvenile (G2) at Leopardstown Sept. 10.

From the stable of Aidan O’Brien, who seeks a record-breaking 11th victory in this race, Auguste Rodin is by Deep Impact out of three-time Group 1 winner Rhododendron, and he has everything going for him, including Ryan Moore in this race.

However, his form isn’t exceptional to date, and his odds at least partly reflect reputation as much as performance. So if you’re unsure about his ability level just at the moment, it’s worth having a look at the possibility of beating him.

The other interesting poser from this race is how the form works out from the Autumn S. (G3) Oct. 8 at Newmarket. This field includes the horses that finished second (#4 Epictetus), third (#5 Holloway Boy), and fourth (#3 Dancing Magic). All have hopes here, especially Epictetus, who wasn’t far from winning the Autumn. Their efforts will also throw further light on the prospects of Autumn winner Silver Knott, who is bypassing this in favor of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1).

There’s plenty of intrigue in the race with a second O’Brien candidate in #7 Salt Lake City, two impressive last-start winners in #6 King of Steel and #8 Stormbuster, and the reappearance of #2 Captain Wierzba for the first time since he lost his rider Rossa Ryan in the controversial Prix Thomas Bryon (G3) in the elbowing incident that cost jockey Christophe Soumillon a 60-day suspension.

Auguste Rodin could prove me wrong, but I think it’s a more open race than the market suggests and with a Bet Back available, I’m going to support Epictetus after pushing Silver Knott so hard in the Autumn.

  • $10 win/$30 show: #4 Epictetus
  • $2 trifecta: 1, 4 with 1, 4 with all

Newbury, Race 2: 8:50 a.m. ET: Horris Hill S. (G3), seven furlongs, 2-year-old colts and geldings

A handy field of nine, all winners, but there’s next to no black type form — only distant Solario (G3) fourth #3 Defence of Fort and Acomb (G3) third-place finisher #7 Oviedo have stakes form.

A lot of eyes are set to be on Godolphin’s #9 Striking Star after his debut victory at Sandown Sept. 14, and Charlie Appleby has shown in recent years that he always needs to be respected in black type juvenile races.

Ralph Beckett invariably has some good juveniles, and he appears to have another in #4 Grey’s Monument. After some early placed form, he’s improved with maturity and distance, and has won his last two races by more than four lengths. He may be better suited at a mile than seven furlongs, but he looks a good chance.

#2 Caragio, #5 Knight, and #6 Lord of Biscay all impressed in last-start wins and should go well. However, I do like Grey’s Monument along with the aforementioned Oviedo. The latter’s Acomb third was behind subsequent Dewhurst (G1) winner Chaldean, and he may not have enjoyed the soft footing when he failed in the Goffs Million last start. He could be at reasonable odds.

  • $10 win/$20 show: #4 Grey’s Monument
  • $10 show: #7 Oviedo
  • $1 trifecta: 4, 9 with 4, 7, 9 with 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9

Newbury, Race 3: 9:25 a.m. ET: St Simon S. (G3), 1 1/2 miles, 3-year-olds and up

The eight-horse field here is dominated by #1 Hamish, who has fashioned a great season to date. He’s proven effective at everything from 1 1/2 miles upwards; two starts back he pushed champion stayer Kyprios to three-quarters of a length in the Irish St. Leger (G1), and he followed it up with a comfortable victory in the Cumberland Lodge (G3) at Ascot Oct. 1. If he runs to that form, he should win.

#4 Lone Eagle has been run sparingly this season, finishing third in the Tapster S. at Goodwood May 21 before taking on top company in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud (G1) July 3, finishing a distant fifth to subsequent Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Alpinista. This is certainly much easier.

#5 Passion And Glory won at Listed level three starts back and last time out was third to Siskany in the Godolphin S. Sept. 23. Another for exotics could be the three-year-old #8 Grand Alliance, second in the King Edward VII (G2) earlier this season.

  • $30 win: #1 Hamish
  • $2 trifecta: 1 with 4, 5, 8 with 4, 5, 8
  • $1 trifecta: 1 with 4, 5, 8 with all

Newbury, Race 5: 10:30 a.m. ET: Radley S. (Listed), seven furlongs, 2-year-old fillies

Eleven fillies are due to face the starter here, but the market is focused strongly on Irish filly #9 Small Oasis, who was third in the Oh So Sharp (G3) at Newmarket Oct. 7 for trainer Michael Grassick before being sold and moved to the Jessica Harrington stable. She ran very gamely at Newmarket, and that form looks very strong here.

King Charles III has a chance of picking up black type here with #3 Candle of Hope, and she’s not without a chance. The Cable Bay filly won her first two and put up a nice enough effort in the Prestige Fillies S. (G3) at Goodwood Aug. 27. That was her fourth run in two months and she may have benefitted from being freshened since.

One worth a serious look is #6 Fully Wet, from the John and Thady Gosden stable. Her only defeat came at Royal Ascot, and she’s unlikely to have been put in this without a chance.

#11 Wyoming could be one to add for exotics, with a pedigree that screams out stamina. But Small Oasis looks the one to beat.

  • $10 win/$30 show: #9 Small Oasis
  • $1 trifecta: 6, 9 with 3, 6, 9, 11 with 3, 6, 9, 11

Leopardstown, Race 6: 11:20 a.m. ET: Eyrefield S. (G3), 1 1/8 miles, 2-year-olds

Unsurprisingly, O’Brien has a strong hand in this race as well as he seeks his 12th Eyrefield victory — though his first since 2017. He has three starters, including possible favorite #3 Hippodrome, a maiden winner at The Curragh Oct. 8. #1 Gulf of Mexico and #2 Hiawatha are also prior winners in the field for O’Brien, whose son Joseph is also represented by #4 Mister Mister.

The race is short on black type form, which is provided only by two fillies: #5 Keep in Touch, third to Basil Martini in the Weld Park (G3) Sept. 25, and #6 Speirling Beag, third in the Staffordstown Stud (G3) Oct. 8.

This could go many ways, so I’m going to stick with the proven stakes form and support Keep in Touch.

  • $10 win/$20 show: #5 Keep in Touch