Horse racing tips and free race preview for the 3.45pm Sagaro Stakes at Ascot.
The Longines Sagaro Stakes is a Group 3 contest run over 2m at Ascot. Last year’s renewal was won by Estimate, prior to her victory in the Ascot Gold Cup over 2m4f. Despite the absence of a runner representing the Queen, this year’s contest has attracted seven runners, and includes some of the best long distance flat horses in training.
The card is headed by the Marco Botti trained TAC DE BOISTRON (7/2 Betfred), a seven year-old who has an official rating of 117. This horse is a lover of truly soft ground and has shown his best when faced with testing conditions. He signed off last season’s campaign with a Group 1 success in Prix Royal-Oak at Longchamp over 2m. He comfortably accounted for his rivals that day, beating the likes of Missunited (who re-opposes), The Lark and Altano. Despite only having had two runs in the UK, he emphasised both his class on soft ground and his useful turn of foot winning emphatically at Chester. Ground is definitely key to this horses’ chances, and a lot will depend on the state of the track come post time. Undoubtedly he is a very classy horse and is sure to be a warm order in the betting but will need testing conditions to be seen to best effect
One horse who could pose the top weight some problems is the thoroughly likeable Harris Tweed (2/1 bet365) who finds himself in receipt of 7lbs from the aforementioned runner. Another horse who has seemingly shown his best on ground with cut in it (two Listed and one Group 3 success on ground officially described as soft), he has a fantastic determined attitude and is versatile in terms of ground, also winning on good and good to firm ground in the past. His latest victory came on his penultimate start of last season at Goodwood where he was able to hold off the late surge of Mount Athos (Tac Du Boistron back in third). He followed up that effort with another fine performance in the Long Distance Cup over C&D finishing runner-up by a nose. George Baker is back on board today and certainly knows his horse inside out. Tactics are likely to be simple – lead from the front and try to fend off the challengers in the home straight. Granted a soft lead, this horse is likely to put in yet another bold show.
Willie Mullins has relatively few runners on the flat but is represented here with Simenon (5/1 William Hill). Yet another seven year-old in the field, this horse has been campaigned heavily abroad running in Dubai, Australia and Japan. After finishing second in both last season’s Gold Cup and Lonsdale Cup he was sent abroad where he has flagged of late. His latest two runs have come in Meydan in Group contests where he showed relatively little and the concern would be that he could well be in need of a good break.
Mark Johnston has a good record at Ascot and regularly sends his best horses to the venue. He fields Oriental Fox (7/1 Betfred) in this contest, a solid performer in a good number of high quality long distance handicaps. A winner of the Cesarewitch Trial carrying top weight, this horse performed well on his only visit to Ascot (finishing a half length third in the Shergar Cup last year). Relatively unexposed over 2m, he could warrant a market check on the day.
Although beaten by Tac De Boistron, Missunited (6/1 bet365) must enter consideration now some 7lbs better off with the aforementioned horse. That loss came at Longchamp when the testing conditions took their toll on this horse and she was unable to make her way through the entire field after being positioned in the rear for much of the race. She has shown good form in Ireland when failing to get the better of Eye Of The Storm by less than a length despite giving 6lbs of weight away. She disappointed on her first start of the season, finishing last of three despite being sent off the 4/9 favourite. If she bounces back to her best she should enter consideration.
Earth Amber (16/1 William Hill) finished seventh in this race last year and arrives here, as she did last year, after finishing second in her first race of the season at Nottingham. This looks to be a good quality renewal and she should have her work cut out. A statement which also applies to the final runner – Cocktail Queen (20/1 Betfred). Stepping up markedly in trip for the first time, there should be more than a couple of his rivals who will prove too good on the day but this horse is worth watching for the future as he is totally unexposed over this trip.
An unbelievably difficult race to pick apart. Harris Tweed undoubtedly will bowl along at the front and try to make all, a tactic which has so far failed him when at Ascot. On two attempts he has been collared in the home straight and that could be the worry once again here. TAC DE BOISTRON may well have to give weight away to all his rivals but, providing the round remains truly soft, he has a potent turn of foot and could well use the front-running tactics of Harris Tweed to lead him perfectly into the race. As short as 12/1 for the Ascot Gold Cup, this horse has to be feared. Providing the ground remains testing and he is fit and raring to go his price looks attractive.
TAC DE BOISTRON (WIN) (NAP) (7/2 Betfred)
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