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Friday, 14 December, 2018

Saturday racing: five stars to look out for in Britain and Ireland

Laurens: bidding for a fifth Group 1 in the Sun Chariot Stakes
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There is plenty of quality on Saturday to whet the appetite and that is without considering the racing fare in Paris as Longchamp hosts the opening day of its Arc weekend. With so much going on, here are five runners set to shine on Saturday in Britain and Ireland...

Mr Lupton
1.50 Ascot

Despite carrying a 5lb penalty for his recent Group 3 victory at Newbury, Mr Lupton enters Ascot's Listed Duke Of Edinburgh's Award Rous Stakes with the best recent form in the book.

The five-year-old beat the classy Take Cover last time and, with a decent pace expected again here, it would be no shock to see the Richard Fahey-trained sprinter follow up in this Listed contest. 

It will not be a straightforward task however, with Muthmir and Judicial among his 11 rivals.

Vintage Brut
2.45 Redcar

Considering he was sent off 4-1 favourite for the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot after opening his racing career with two impressive early season wins, Vintage Brut's two-year-old campaign has not quite reached the heights it had once promised to.

He has not made an impact at Group level, but trainer Tim Easterby will have been pleased to see some renewed spark when his juvenile was narrowly defied by Dave Dexter in a Listed contest at Ayr last month.

Although Redcar's valuable Racing UK Two Year Old Trophy has attracted a maximum field, Vintage Brut currently heads the market and a repeat of his last run will see him go mighty close.

3.00 Ascot

The Group 3 Bengough Stakes has been won by some terrific sprinters in recent years, such as Tropics, Shalaa and Blue Point. 

Henry Candy and owner Paul Jacobs will be hoping Limato can add his name to the list, having opted to head to the Berskhire course instead of taking up his alternative option in the Group 1 Qatar Prix de la Foret at Longchamp on Sunday.

After suffering a series of hefty defeats earlier in the season, the six-year-old is slowly finding some form again, picking up back-to-back Listed wins at Newmarket and York.

This is another step back up the ladder, but if Limato produces his best he will be hard to stop.

Limato has won his last two starts

3.15 Newmarket

John Dance's tenacious filly has won three Group 1 races this season and all of those top-level victories have come by a margin of less than a length.

Perhaps those slender margins mean she is still somewhat underestimated, which may explain why she is not a clear favourite for the Sun Chariot Stakes.

Trained by Karl Burke, Laurens clearly acts well on the Rowley Mile and despite four Coolmore-owned fillies taking aim at her, it is hard to see her finishing out of the frame as she bids for another Group 1 success.

Balko Des Flos
3.45 Gowran Park

Last season's Ryanair Chase winner is set to make his seasonal reappearance in the PWC Champion Chase.

Henry de Bromhead, a trainer particularly fond of this Grade 2 after four consecutive wins in the race with Sizing Europe between 2011 and 2014, believes it is an excellent starting point for his seven-year-old as he looks to build on last year's excellent campaign.

Given he clearly likes the place, all roads are likely to lead to Cheltenham once again, but Balko Des Flos can scoop a good pot on Saturday on the way to bigger and better things later in the season.

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It is hard to see her finishing out of the frame as she bids for another Group 1 success
E.W. Terms
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