Saturday Horse Racing tips: Can Tom Collins strike again after two winners last week?

By Tom Collins

8 September 2023

Legendary Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi once said: ‘Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing’. 

Perhaps that quote isn’t as powerful as the Martin Luther King jnr’s citation that I included in my most recent column, but it’s pretty pertinent with the NFL season starting this weekend as well as a punter’s desire to achieve immediate and long-term success.

Talking of success, I’m hopeful of emulating last week’s profitable Saturday after victories for Aablan and Classical Song at Sandown. Top quality races are scheduled across the board with Group action at Kempton, Haydock and Leopardstown - and I have one selection at each of those venues that shouldn’t be overlooked lightly.

Let’s begin with Kempton. All eyes will be on Bay Bridge versus Israr in the September Stakes and the likes of Array, Eben Shaddad and Starlust competing to take home the crown in the Sirenia Stakes, but my attention is firmly fixed on the London Mile Series Final (2.10) after watching every qualifier throughout the season.

This whopping £80,000 prize will have been on the radar for several of these horses for months, while others have been entered as something of an afterthought. Naturally, it should pay to back a runner who fits in the former category and the Saeed bin Suroor-trained First View appears the most logical winner.

There is no getting away from the fact that he has proved far from consistent in his career - he has finished eighth or worse on nine occasions from 16 starts, yet he also boasts four wins and two runner-up finishes. The main reasons for that are his inability to perform on turf (1/9) and two failed trips to Meydan (0/6). Once you isolate his Kempton performances, where he boasts form figures of 1112, then his profile becomes a lot more attractive.

One of those victories came in this race last year off a mark of 90, where he was well positioned by 5lb claimer Christian Howarth on the shoulder of the leader before kicking clear for a rather cosy and effortless score. As a result, a return to this venue for another attempt at this rich prize seems to have been a long-term plan.

First View bounced back from several dismal displays with a highly creditable runner-up finish to qualify for this race 17 days ago. He was in the box seat before being shuffled back at the top of the straight, which made his task notably harder. But perhaps taking second rather than first has actually benefited him as he’s only gone up 1lb in the weights to a mark of 88, 2lb lower than 12 months ago.

Hopefully he breaks in a prominent position under regular rider Howarth, before using his abundant stamina over this distance to hold off the closers. He’s a nice price to do just that.

Over to Haydock now for the three-year-old handicap (2.25) early on the card, which looks a great spot to try Naqeeb over 1m6f for the first time.

One of the highest rated horses in the race courtesy of his mark of 100, Naqeeb is beginning to take giant strides up the class ladder for ultra shrewd trainer William Haggas, who has a knack of finding great opportunities for unexposed and improving types.

Being a half-brother of Hukum and Baaeed, he’s never going to go missing in the market and therefore value is going to prove hard to snipe throughout his career. Yet this might be the time to strike as he enters handicap company for the first time after a bloodless 10-length romp in a Kempton novice event last month.

Prior to that, he finished a nose behind Middle Earth at Newmarket. That colt has since gone on to plunder the competitive Melrose Handicap at York with limited fuss and is now rated 102 with the likelihood of much more improvement. On that evidence, Naqeeb could be pretty fairly treated.

Stamina is his forte and the extra distance is sure to suit. It’s also worth noting that Haggas has a 24% strike-rate in the last fortnight and 27% strike-rate (29/106) with three-year-olds at Haydock over the last five years.

Finally, I’m going to play Buckaroo - the horse not the game - over at Leopardstown in the Dullingham Park Stakes (3.55)

I tipped Joseph O’Brien’s charge in the Wolferton Stakes at Royal Ascot earlier this season and he ran creditably to finish third without ever appearing likely to win. Prior to that he was only beaten a neck in a blanket finish in the Group 1 Prix d’Ispahan over at Longchamp. Both of those efforts stack up nicely in the context of Saturday’s event.

Buckaroo, who boasts winning course form from April, has to give weight away to the majority of his rivals. Quite frankly, he’s the best horse in the race and I simply don’t trust current market leader Victoria Road, who was a sharp two-year-old but doesn’t have much size and scope and worryingly disappointed on his sole start this campaign.

I’m quite surprised that he’s as skinny as 7/4 and I’d much rather take the 10/3 available on Buckaroo, who in my opinion should be favourite and therefore backed accordingly. 

Saturday’s Horse Racing Tips

First View (2.10 Kempton) @ 6/1
Naqeeb (2.25 Haydock) @ 5/2
Buckaroo (3.55 Leopardstown) @ 10/3

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