Saturday 4 February 2023 Dublin: 9°C
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# Flutter
Mark your card: best bets for Saturday's racing
Our racing guru Mark Hobbs is back with his tips for the weekend’s action.

THE PROXIMITY OF Epsom’s Derby festival and Royal Ascot means that this weekend’s fare isn’t quite up to the usual standard, but there are some fascinating bets to be had nonetheless.

The days in the run-up to major festivals are always slightly underwhelming and can throw up strange results, but hopefully with the bookies’ minds elsewhere there are some irregularities in the market to be taken advantage of.

Nap of the day

In the 3.05 at Haydock, Michael Stoute’s Crystal Capella has an obvious chance to add the listed race over a mile and three furlongs to her already impressive CV.

The mare is relatively lightly raced for her age; now in her sixth year she has only 12 career starts to her name. Evidently she has been difficult to train given the long gaps between appearances, but her seven victories (including at Group Two level) show that she has serious talent.

She is clearly the class horse in the field and, despite the penalty she must carry, looks the most obvious winner. Capella comes here without a run since December, but the fact that she won on her seasonal debut the last two seasons gives hope that she will be primed for the occasion.

Also, Stoute sent out Workforce to win first time out under a penalty earlier in the week, suggesting his charges have come to hand. 3/1 is very fair.

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High Standing has a good each-way chance in the Group Three Timeform Jury Stakes over seven furlongs in Haydock. His last three runs won’t have inspired much confidence, but the application of first time blinkers could see a return to form.

Twice placed at Group One level, William Haggas’ charge is very smart on his day. Circumstances conspired against the gelding last time out, but with a run under his belt and the help of Ryan Moore today he could run a big race.

On form, Regal Parade should take all the beating but today’s ground conditions won’t play to his strengths and that horse aside, there is very little between the other runners in terms of ratings and current form.

The horse is far from certain to win in what looks a trappy contest, but on overall form and ability 8/1 underestimates his chances.