Saturday racing: what's on TV and what to look out for
The Flat season has well and truly ignited now and the big meetings just keep on coming.
First it was Newmarket for the Guineas, swiftly followed by Chester's May meeting and York's Dante meeting. Time for a breather? No chance because here comes Al Shaqab Lockinge day at Newbury, featuring a clash of two of the best milers from last summer. More on that later.
When does it start?
You will have picked up your copy of Saturday's Racing Post, of course, and after that, the ITV Racing team will be on hand to further whet your appetite, with Rishi Persad presenting The Opening Show from Newbury on ITV4 from 10am.
A little later on, everybody can enjoy Racing UK's Mark Your Card show, previewing all the day's action, as the show has been made free to air on Sky channel 432.
Which channels do I need for the live racing?
ITV Racing's coverage takes centre stage on the main channel this weekend, with Ed Chamberlin and Francesca Cumani on duty at Newbury from 1.30, where four races will be broadcast live.
Supporting the Berkshire offering will be three races from Flat racing's HQ, Newmarket, comprising a pair of Listed contests and a fine 6f handicap.
Complete coverage of both of those cards, along with Thirsk and Bangor, will be available on Racing UK, while At The Races have you covered for Doncaster and Uttoxeter as the afternoon gives way to the evening, as well as Navan's card earlier in the afternoon.
So what about this big Lockinge clash then?
That would be the 3.30 from Newbury, which sees last year's 2,000 Guineas winner Galileo Gold take on fellow Group 1-winning miler Ribchester in one of the major early season pots for the mile stars.
The Lockinge Stakes has been won by some wonderful horses in recent years, not least a very smart type called Frankel back in 2012, with Night Of Thunder the last Guineas winner to follow up the next year in 2015.
Galileo Gold carries the hopes of the meeting's sponsor Al Shaqab and trainer Hugo Palmer has done little to dampen the optimism of his supporters. Fans of a Frankie Dettori flying dismount will almost certainly be thrilled if he gets his head in front.
In the blue corner though is Godolphin's Ribchester, who improved all last year and is the best horse in the yard of trainer Richard Fahey. He has a few good ones, so that is not to be sniffed at.
If the big two are not at their best though, the likes of Jockey Club Stakes winner Somehow and Group 2 winner Lightning Spear, third behind the excellent Minding on his final start last year, will be ready to pounce. If you only see one race, make sure it is this one.
But I want to watch more than one race!
Excellent news. ITV's offering kicks off with what should be a highly informative Group 3 contest at 1.50, which sees last year's Coral-Eclipse hero Hawkbill have his first British start of 2017 up against the likes of My Dream Boat, Midterm and Across The Stars.
If betting on handicaps is more your cup of tea, Newbury's London Gold Cup should be right up your street at 2.55, with 14 runners set to line up over 1m2f, as should the Betway Sprint Trophy Handicap at Newmarket at 3.15.
Keep an eye on the two Newmarket Listed races too. If the Queen has a good horse this year, it could be the well-bred Call To Mind, a winner on debut last time who runs in the Betway Fairway Stakes at 2.05. In the King Charles II Stakes 35 minutes later, Larchmont Lad represents the 2,000 Guineas form, with Frankel also represented by Seven Heavens.
Anything else to look out for?
If you're at a loose end later in the evening, make sure you catch the Preakness Stakes from Pimlico, live on At The Races, at the very precise time of 11.48. Always Dreaming impressed when winning the Kentucky Derby and will be bidding to keep the Triple Crown dream alive in Maryland.
What about the Scoop6?
Unusually, all six legs of the Scoop6 are live on ITV this weekend and there is £28,825 being carried over to kick off the win fund. The races you will need to solve this week are: