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Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Super Saturday? It's easy to see why as stars come out to play

Churchill: star turn at Leopardstown?
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There is a Saturday in July that is known as Super Saturday, but today really could be described like that as well.

Or, perhaps more accurately, it could be a weekend of wonder as tomorrow's action is pretty hot.

However, let's worry about that in 24 hours and focus on today's potential headline makers.

They include dual Classic winner Churchill, who could be the star turn on day one of the Irish Champions Weekend in the Qipco Irish Champion Stakes, although his brilliant stablemate Winter could steal the limelight in the Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes in which she aims for five straight Group 1 wins.

In Britain, the pick of the action comes from Haydock, which hosts its flagship Flat race, the 32Red Sprint Cup.

July Cup winner Harry Angel is likely to start favourite although testing conditions  - now described as heavy - are causing concern for some and trainer Clive Cox will decide if he runs after the first race.

Kempton and Ascot also weigh in with quality cards, although the latter's has been hit by non-runners, so you can see why it might be a Super Saturday.

Going report

Haydock - 1.20 (first race)
Heavy. Allowing for rail position on bends, race distances are as follows: Race 1: 1m 2f 106yds Race 2: 1m 43yds Race 3: 6f Race 4: 5f Race 5: 1m 43yds Races 6 & 7: 1m 6f 23yds.

Ascot - 1.35
Good to soft, soft in places (GoingStick 6.7 on straight course and 6.6 on round course at 8.15am on Saturday).

Thirsk - 1.45 
Soft, good to soft in places (GoingStick 6.9 at 9.30am on Saturday). The Home (wood) Bend remains dolled-out circa 3m, which alters the standard distances for the following starts approximately as follows: 7F Start +10 yards 8F Start +10 yards 1M4F Start +10 yards.

Stratford - 1.55
Good, good to firm in places (GoingStick 8.0 at 7.30am on Saturday). All rails moved to provide fresh ground. Distances changed as follows:- Race 1 -12yds Race 2 +88yds Race 3 -24yds Race 4 +57yds Race 5 +57yds Race 6 -24yds Race 7 +57yds.

Kempton - 2.05
Standard to slow

Leopardstown - 3.25
Good to yielding, good in places on the inner track for the first four races and good, good to yielding in places on the outer track for the last four races

Wolverhampton - 4.55

Market movers

1.45 Poets Dream 15-2 (from 10)
4.05 Andok 9-2 (from 6)
4.40 Start Time 11-2 (from 15-2)
5.15 Swaheen 15-2 (from 10)

1.55 Kalaskadesemilley 11-1 (from 18)

6.30 Unforgiving Minute 9-2 (from 6)

Key non-runners 

2.25 11 Spirit Of Valor
3.00 6 Aleef
4.10 2 Tawdeea, 7 Gawdawpalin

2.45 11 El Hayem, 20 Qeyaadah
3.55 6 Sea Fox, 7 Cape Coast

5.35 Unforgetable Filly

What's on today

Entries for day three of Doncaster's St Leger meeting will be released and we'll have previews of the Curragh's Irish Champions Weekend card and Arc trials day at Chantilly plus all the fallout and reaction from today's big races.

What to back

It's a Saturday, so that means Tom Segal on Pricewise duty and Paul Kealy serving up his Sizzlers.

Graeme Rodway has the bankers and blowouts and Mark Boylan provides the pick of the bets for Leopardstown's fixture

What to read

David Jennings sets the scene in the Opening Show, while you'd be mad to miss previews of the Irish Champion Stakes, Matron and Sprint Cup.

Richard Hughes has his latest column, as does Freddy Tylicki

What to watch

The Postcast team analyse Leopardstown ...

... and Haydock ...

... while hear from Clive Cox on Harry Angel ...

... and get Mark Langdon's best football bet of the weekend ...

The best of Racing Post Sport

Find out the bets for Man City v Liverpool and Stoke v Man Utd, plus expert insight from Didi Hamann in the Saturday Jury.

Final thought 

Racing may not always cover itself in glory, but today is a day to shine the spotlight on what a wonderful sport it is, so let's hope for the right kind of fireworks. 

Kempton and Ascot also weigh in with quality cards, so you can see why it might be a Super Saturday
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