Young Rascal is the headline act as Newbury stages its final Flat fixture of the 2018 season this Saturday, Worthington’s Armed Forces Raceday.
For the 11th year running, Worthington’s Armed Forces Day will host the launch of The Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal for West Berkshire and the Vale of White Horse. The ceremony will commence at 12.25pm with a performance from The Waterloo Band and Bugles of the 7 Rifles before the ceremonial poppy is delivered by Scout helicopter from the Historic Army Aircraft Flight and presented by troopers from the Household Cavalry.
Young Rascal (William Haggas/Jim Crowley), who is bidding for his third win from as many starts at Newbury, faces 10 rivals in the £60,000 Teddington Royal British Legion Stakes (2.20pm) over 12 furlongs.
The three-year-old Intello colt impressed when taking an 11-furlong maiden by five lengths on his seasonal debut at the Berkshire track in April and returned from a 112-day break to narrowly win the Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup over the same distance at Newbury’s latest fixture.
In between those two successes, he defeated Dee Ex Bee in the Chester Vase in May, and came home seventh to Masar in the G1 Investec Derby at Epsom Downs the following month.
His trainer William Haggas explained: “Young Rascal has a [3lb] penalty at Newbury on Saturday, but should give a good account of himself.
“I wanted to go for the Prix Chaudenay after his last win, but the ground was too fast. He needs cut in the ground.
“He was not right for a long time after Epsom. We have nursed him back and don’t want to mess him up again.
“This will be it for the season.”
Regarding next year, Haggas added: “I think he is tailor-made for the Yorkshire Cup.”
Young Rascal’s chief rival on ratings is Irish St Leger third Weekender (John Gosden/William Buick), who drops in trip having raced over a mile and three quarters for much of 2018.
The only other three-year-old in the field alongside Young Rascal is recent Ascot runner-up Communique (Mark Johnston/Franny Norton). He captured the £70,000 Al Zubarah London Gold Cup Handicap over 10 furlongs at Newbury in May, one of two victories for the Casamento colt at the track in 2018, with the other coming in the 12-furlong Dubai Duty Free Handicap.
Others notable contenders include Morando (Andrew Balding/Rob Hornby), classy stayer Desert Skyline (David Elsworth/Gerald Mosse) and last year’s runner-up Raheen House (Brian Meehan/Adam Kirby).
Haggas also saddles Fanaar (Jim Crowley) in the £40,000 Molson Coors Stakes over seven furlongs, the feature race for two-year-olds at 2.50pm. The Dark Angel colt is drawn one of the 11 runners.
Owned by Hamdan Al Maktoum, Fanaar met trouble in running on his latest start when second to subsequent winner Arctic Sound in a competitive seven-furlong nursery handicap at Doncaster’s St Leger Festival.
Haggas said: “Fanaar is all set for the weekend. He worked very nicely on Wednesday morning. He looks great and is moving great.
“He was very unfortunate in the nursery at Doncaster, which has worked out very well with Arctic Sound winning afterwards.
“Fanaar was raised 11lb for that, which has forced my hand a bit, but he is a useful horse and I wanted to give him a try in a Group race.”
The opposition is led by Chairmanoftheboard (Mick Channon/Charles Bishop), who created a big impression on debut when taking a Goodwood novice auction race by eight lengths.
Azano (Kieran Shoemark) enjoyed the give underfoot when scoring by five lengths at Yarmouth, leaving his debut effort at the same track well behind. His trainer John Gosden has won the Molson Coors Stakes three times, making him the most successful current handler in the race.
Royal Lodge Stakes fourth Victory Command (Mark Johnston/Franny Norton) and impressive Kempton Park victor Almufti (Hugo Palmer/Jason Watson) also feature among the 11 runners.
Newbury’s eight-race programme starts at 1.10pm and ends at 5.05pm.