The 2018 Challenge Stakes betting tips from Horsebetting.com say last year’s winner Limato looks the one to be on again. D’bai is feared most in the 7f Group 2 contest at Newmarket on Friday, 12 October for his powerful connections. Dancing Star, meanwhile, has caught the eye on her last two outings, so looks worth an each-way wager. Read more about this race in our 2018 Challenge Stakes betting tips preview.Limato can rise to the Challenge again and retain crownTrainer Henry Candy has got stable star Limato back in-form, so he looks well worth a bet to win the Group 2 Challenge Stakes over 7f at Newmarket for the second year running on Friday (15:00). The six-year-old has resumed winning ways of late when eased in grade after being highly tried throughout his career and ran out a comfortable winner of this 12 months ago.
Limato has a 60 per cent success rate over the trip, having won three of his five starts at it and also placed on another occasion. Those victories include the Group 1 Prix de la Foret at the Arc meeting in 2016 when at the height of his powers two years, having previously landed the July Cup over 6f here and chased Mecca’s Angel home in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York.
Although he went into this race winless last season, Limato still ran some very solid races in defeat including when hampered close home and a length third in the 2017 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot. The winner that day was The Tin Man, who came out and landed the Group 1 Haydock Sprint Cup this year.
There was also no disgrace in Limato chasing Harry Angel home when defending the July Cup. That one went on to win the Sprint Cup last year and land the Group 2 Temple Stakes at the Merseyside venue this season, so the form of these runs from Limato as a five-year-old are strong.
He was back to his best in this 12 months ago when, after being held-up in midfield, Limato closed and joined the leaders travelling well two out before being ridden ahead of the furlong marker and drew well clear inside the last. On that form, he has absolutely nothing nothing to fear from the re-opposing veteran Gordon Lord Byron who was beaten five lengths.
While Limato didn’t really fire in his three starts this season, connections eased him into Listed company and he’s appreciated that by winning both his penultimate and previous outings. After scoring by a cosy length on the July Course, he followed-up at York where regular rider Harry Bentley drove him to hit the front 110 yards from home and he kept on for a two lengths success.
On official ratings, Limato is 3lb and upward clear of his seven rivals here and, with the momentum of consecutive wins under his belt, he can show he’s still a force to be reckoned with at this level. Although this demands more than his last two runs, he ticks all the boxes and that’s why Limato is our main selection among these 2018 Challenge Stakes betting tips.D’bai a dangerGodolphin have a representative in this race in the shape of four-year-old Dubawi gelding D’bai; so, given connections and the great season trainer Charlie Appleby has had, he is feared most. He is a three-time winner over this distance with the last of those coming at Group 3 level at Haydock on his fifth start of a busy campaign.
D’bai wintered in Dubai winning the first of three outings before chasing home The Tin Man, who was mentioned above, when a three-quarters of a length runner-up in a Listed affair at Windsor. He then ran on gamely and was always doing enough to score by a head in the John Of Gaunt Stakes.
Although then only sixth to Merchant Navy and beaten 5 1/4 lengths in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot, D’bai was very unlucky in-running next time up. He was switched twice when short of room during the Lennox Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, but never able to get on terms and was beaten 1 1/2 lengths by Sir Dancealot.
As gaps didn’t appear at the right time, this was a performance that could be upgraded at this level. D’bai then dropped back to 6f again, but was never in contention when sixth and 5 3/4 lengths behind Polydream in the Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville.
He was then eased in grade and fourth to Tantheem at the same venue, and the winner went on to score again before finishing a respectable seventh in the Prix de l’Abbaye on Arc day at Longchamp. It’s clear the 7f of this is more to the taste of D’bai, who was denied a neck in the Group 2 Park Stakes at Doncaster last time out.
Holding every chance when produced to dispute the lead, Mustashry just wanted it more in a competitive finish that saw Oh This Is Us just a short-head further behind in third. That run has seen the assessor increase the official rating of D’bai by a pound to 111, but it’s still 1lb lower than when last successful.
Based on that, and with William Buick again in the saddle, he looks like giving Limato plenty to think about. It’s D’bai who is feared most but, having been on the go since January and racing 10 times this season already, he is also worth opposing.Dancing Star appeals each-wayAndrew Balding is another trainer who’s enjoyed a fine season, and his yard is represented by five-year-old mare Dancing Star. As she’s ran well against her own sex in Group 3 company, winning last time out, she is worth an each-way punt with the dead eight set to line-up.
Unlike most who line up here, Dancing Star is still unexposed at the trip having only had two starts over it. Those also happen to be her last two outings and, prior to those, she had also run well when chasing Cardsharp home in the Listed 6f Cathedral Stakes at Salisbury.
Although headed two out, Dancing Star rallied and even regained second close home. Connections then sent her out on the upgrade for the Group 3 Summer Stakes at York where she was far from disgraced when back against her own sex and a 2 1/4 lengths fourth to Raven’s Lady.
Dancing Star was then beaten an unlucky neck in the Oak Tree Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, when denied a clear run before the furlong marker. Oisin Murphy had to switch her at a vital stage but when daylight eventually appeared he ran on really well under pressure without being able to get to the winner Pretty Baby.
That suggested there was more to come from Dancing Star granted better luck in-running. She duly demonstrated that last time out on her second crack at 7f when keeping on well to land the Group 3 Sceptre Stakes by three-quarters of a length.
As she benefits from a 3lb sex allowance from the boys here, Dancing Star doesn’t have that much more to find. With more progress at this distance to come, she looks the value each-way bet among the 2018 Challenge Stakes betting tips on offer here.Your Next Bet