Akmal poised to show class at Ascot as bookies get to make point
THE Racing For Change experiment with decimal odds takes place at Ascot today. Five bookmakers, a quarter of those expected to be present, will post up decimal odds including Adrian Pariser, who owns the No 1 pitch at Ascot.
Though still convinced that odds as fractions are best, Pariser is quite happy to trial decimal.
"I don't think it will make a huge difference to be honest," he said.
"Round figures will be the same and if you're putting a fiver most people would find it easier to work out what they'd get back at 5/4 than at 0.80. There should be a decent crowd so it will be interesting."
On the track, Akmal has a chance to further enhance his racing record in the Sagaro Stakes which has the look of an interesting heat.
With no Yeats around to maintain his domination of the Gold Cup, it is time for a new stayer to come through and the Group Three event provides the first real opportunity for one to do so.
John Dunlop's chestnut -- entered in the Gold Cup -- went from strength to strength last year, winning seven of his last nine starts including the Melrose Stakes at York. Akmal dropped down in trip for his reappearance in the John Porter Stakes at Newbury but made little impression behind Harbinger.
"I'm looking forward to riding him," jockey Richard Hills said. "We thought it would be easier to give him a run at Newbury over a mile and a half and now we are stepping him back up to two miles.
"I said last year that he was an improving horse and he showed that by winning seven races and I always felt he could be a Cup horse but he needs to keep progressing."
Akmal faces three opponents from the Marcus Tregoning stable headed by Askar Tau. Tregoning also runs Oasis Knight and the unexposed Aajel while another challenger will be Mark Johnston's Yes Mr President, who ran away with a Ffos Las handicap last time. (© Daily Telegraph, London)