Matt Chapman’s 7 slick picks for Saturday’s ITV races

* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

ITV Racing Saturday gets under way here with the Portland Handicap over an extended 5f which is key. MONDAMMEJ has been crying out for this exact trip and while he’s up in the handicap for a recent Haydock win that must have boosted his confidence and might allow him to defy the rise in the weights. I’ve tipped this horse many times in this blog as regular readers will know, but he really does have a great each-way chance for Cam Hardie and Anthony Brittain as a horse with loads of ability.

ITV also show two races from Chester including this Listed race over an extended 1m4f. ALOUNAK stays well and has a fitness advantage over Alignak so should be hard to beat for Andrew Balding and David Probert. My selection ran a cracker in the Ebor at York when third behind Sonnyboyliston and was a good winner at Haydock earlier in the season. Any rain will be no issue.

Now the Group 2 Champagne Stakes over 7f for juveniles. LUSAIL has only tried 7f once but he won over the trip at Newmarket in the style of a horse who stays well. Since then he’s shown loads of speed to land the Gimcrack at York and he looks really smart for Richard Hannon and Pat Dobbs. Because of the opposition hype – which may be justified – he’s also a decent price.

A handicap here over an extended 1m6f. GABRIAL THE ONE is slipping down the weights and might have a little eachway chance for Richard Fahey and Paddy Mathers. It’s been a while since the five-year-old last landed a race but he’s run all right at Chester the last twice and is down to 73 having once been on a mark of 81. Has a good draw.

As an extra treat ITV shows the fantastic Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes over 1m2f. It’s a cracker. That said, the small field is most disappointing as it really messes things up tactically. Aidan O’Brien clearly feels he has the opposition beaten if the pace is slow for St Mark’s Basilica and he might well be right. Tarnawa would be the obvious one with her stamina to go from the front – Pat Smullen would have loved that back in the day – but she has shown no inkling to lead. I’ll still with Eclipse winner ST MARK’S BASILICA. But it will be a race of nerve and finesse.

Group 2 company again with the Park Stakes over 7f. DANYAH is very progressive and should take some stopping for Dane O’Neill and Owen Burrows. Fourth in the Lincoln, second in the Spring Mile and Buckingham Palace, he finally got a win on the board at Ascot last time in the International Stakes and Group company should not be an issue despite the fact he’s suited to big-field handicaps and the strong pace they provide.

The big one of the day, the Group 1 St Leger, the final Classic of the British season over an extended 1m6f. Cheekpieces on High Definition, but I’m not going to try and be clever here and keep it very simple. I fully expect the Irish Derby winner HURRICANE LANE to hack up for Charlie Appleby and William Buick, whose father-in-law Roderick Duncan is clerk of the course at Doncaster. If you wanted to play one each way at a big price then I would throw in Youth Spirit each way for Tom Marquand and Andrew Balding.

So best of luck and pray for Yeeehaaas. You hear me Paddy?

Matt Chapman’s best bets:

Doncaster 13.45 – Mondammej
Chester 14.00 – Alounak
Doncaster 14.20 – Lusail
Chester 14.35 – Gabrial The One
Leopardstown 14.45 – St Mark’s Basilica
Doncaster 15.00 – Danyah
Doncaster 15.35 – Hurricane Lane

* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

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