Young Rascal Value to Turn Over Defoe in John Porter Stakes

The first race on the card at Newbury on Saturday gives us an intriguing clash between two older horses who are expected to challenge in the big middle distance races this season. Defoe, trained by Roger Varian comes back as a five year old after a gelding operation and he returns to the race that he won on seasonal reappearance last year. He takes on the younger four year old Young Rascal, who ran with great credit last year, he loves this course and is coming back looking to move up another level during this campaign.

Defoe is a very talented horse and one I have great respect for. He has shown us that he can win first time up, after taking this race with ease last season. He also won at this course on his seasonal reappearance the year before, and won again here taking his record to 3 from 3 at this course. That is all very impressive, and points to Defoe being very hard to beat here, so it is no surprise to see him as the favourite for this one.

However, he does have to come here on the back of a gelding operation during the winter, which could have changed his preparation slightly and that does raise a question mark for me. He is also a five year old, and while that isn’t always a bad thing, being a year older is something else to think about for those backing him.

Young Rascal appear to be the main danger, and on official ratings there is just one pound between these two, with Defoe having the upper hand. Young Rascal also has a three pound penalty to carry in this race, so technically there is four pounds between them that Young Rascal needs to turn around.

However, I am hopeful that we are going to see this horse in an even better light this season, he looks the type to kick on and improve again as a four year old. Just like Defoe, Young Rascal won impressively on seasonal debut last season, and that was also a race at this course, although only a maiden, but he couldn’t have done it any better.

He has four career wins to his name, and three of those have come at Newbury, so just like Defoe he really likes this course, which is certainly a positive.

I am struggling to split the pair, but that is all based on what they have achieved so far. Young Rascal has the potential to come back and be better this season, while Defoe has a couple of minor issues to overcome if he is to show us his best. That swings things towards Young Rascal for me, and when you consider that he is a bigger price to win this than Defoe, it is clear to me where the value is in this contest.

I like both horses, and they should provide us with a very good race, but from a betting point of view, I am siding with the value, and that is with Young Rascal.