Horse racing betting tips for the 3.40pm King Richard III Stakes at Leicester.
Away from the finale of the British jumps season at Sandown, Leicester hosts a good quality card which includes the King Richards III Stakes, a Listed contest over 7f. Open to horses aged four or older, this race has attracted a field of nine runners and looks fairly competitive.
Last year’s winning trainer, Richard Hannon, is represented this year by Professor (10/3 Coral). This son of Byron improved as a three year-old, claiming victories at Listed class before running admirably at Group level. Bar his maiden victory, Professor has so far achieved all his wins on good to firm ground, a statistic which doesn't bode particularly well given the continuing rain. As the good ground at Leicester is likely to deteriorate further, and will certainly have some cut in it by post time, there are certainly concerns over his ability to handle conditions. He certainly has some of the best form in the race but I worry about his preference for truly fast ground and I think he is best watched this time out.
On official ratings, the Roger Varian trained Eton Forever (3/1 bet365) is top rated in the field off a mark of 112. This 7yo has been a great servant to his trainer, providing Varian with, not only, his first ever winner but also his first ever Royal Ascot winner. He performs very well fresh (last year he claimed a Listed contest in determined fashion on his reappearance) and also seems to relish ground with cut in it. Despite conditions likely to be ideal, he isn’t getting any younger and at the age of 7 he certainly wont be improving. Varian has stated that he seems to be in good form at home but that he is getting more difficult to train as he gets older. All things considered, his challenge has to be respected however he may well be vulnerable to a younger more progressive rival.
That rival could well be BRETON ROCK (4/1 Ladbrokes), another horse who not only loves soft ground and performs well fresh, but also has the added advantage of already having had a run this season. That came at Thirsk a fortnight ago where he performed well when winning a Conditions event. He looked progressive as a 3yo and acted as if he would benefit from the initial outing this season. The highlight of his 3yo season came when he claimed victory in a 27 runner Ascot handicap over 7f on soft ground, a result which emphasised the horses’ resolve and his ability to see out the trip well (something which is paramount at Leicester as the last couple of furlongs are markedly uphill). If he continues to progress, and builds on his maiden victory this season, then he could well have enough to hold off his rivals.
Last season’s early exciting prospect was Pavlosk (7/1 Coral), a daughter of Arch who after claiming her maiden victory at Newbury went on to win a useful Listed contest at York over 8f on soft ground. After that victory the horse was being touted as a possible Group performer but failed to live up to expectations as she struggled three times at Group 3 level at the end of her 3yo campaign. If she repeats the form that saw her win at York she could be an interesting runner receiving the fillies allowance, however it would be a big ask and others look like safer options from a betting point of view.
Of the others; Askaud (33/1 SkyBet) is a dual C&D winner but looks out of his depth, Hasopop (12/1 Ladbrokes) claimed a Listed victory last year on heavy ground but has been campaigned heavily already on the all-weather without success, and Gabriel’s Lad (12/1 Betfred) will need to show more than he did on his reappearance at Wolverhampton.
This is definitely a tricky contest given many of the principles will be having their first runs of the season. Conditions look likely to continue to deteriorate with further rain forecast, and with that in mind soft ground form is a must. Both Eton Forever and BRETON ROCK look suited by the ground and the trip and, although the former is rated 5lbs superior, the latter is preferred due to his age and his race fitness. As a 4yo, Breton Rock could well develop into a Group performer over the season if progressing as well as expected. His trainer is bullish about his chances (providing the ground turns soft) and there should be some value on offer in his price.
BRETON ROCK (WIN) (4/1 Ladbrokes)
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