Another fantastic weekend for our impressive early Table Leader Statman as he found two more winners from his three selections to stretch further clear at the top.
The Putters Punter also found two winners including the Scottish National winner to storm into second place, Fahile bagged a 9/1 winner to sit just behind in third while Huge Odds Racing lived up to his name by getting two big priced placed horses from his three outsiders.
Those at the bottom might want to take a more tactical approach to their selections as eliminations will start this weekend with the bottom placed Tipster leaving the competition after racing on Saturday.
Week 6 – Saturday 24th April
Week 5 – Saturday 17th April
Has an impressive record in handicap hurdles and is dropping in class from his LTO win at Huntingdon. Ran an impressive 2nd at Wetherby in March with that form being franked by 3 subsequent winners from the race. Although carrying top weight the drop in class should compensate and the trainer/jockey are firing on all cylinders at the moment.
DICK DATCHERY 13:10 Thirsk 0.5 PT E/W 17/2
Both career wins have come at Ayr but a straight 6 f is a straight 6 f. Is dropping 2 classes from his last disappointing run at Doncaster and should be more at home in this company. Trainer and jockey are both going great guns at the moment and this 2nd run after wind surgery is a good omen.
LANCASTER HOUSE 14:35 Curragh 4/1
Likes it here and Mr O'Brien has a great record at the track. (Hasn't he everywhere?) Is 1 from 1 on the going and 1 from 2 at the distance. Coming back froma layoff but that doesn't seem to have been a problem before. There appears to be plenty of pace in the race which should suit, although he needs to overcome a statistically less than ideal draw.
Another typical Scottish National but I've done the work for you all and am confident i have a selection guaranteed to run a decent race. Aye Right is still improving at the age of 8 and has some super strong form under the saddle including a solid second to Cloth Cap and also at Cheltenham last time coming third to the super Vintage Clouds.The Vintage Clouds form is rock solid with the second Happygolucky hosing in at Aintree last week. Aye Right always runs well at Ayr and looks a bomb proof each way selection. 1/2 point eachway.
Missing Matron 2.00 Curragh Sat 6/4
This Bolger entry looks for a double over course and distance. This two year old certainly new the job and came through to win with complete authority. The paper favourite Cadamosto won nicely first time out but that was on the all weather and this is a completely different test. I see this one being totally overbet and at around 2/1 i think Missing Matron to be a great bit of value to get another win for the evergreen trainer Jim Bolger. One point win and a comfident selection.
Know It All 2.35 Curragh Sat 10/3
This decent race required me to find a selection for you that is course and distance winner , shown strong form in group one race class and of-course is trained by a Trainer in good form. Put all that into the mix and i came up with Know It All trained by the superb Johnny Murtagh. This 4 year old filly did not stop improving last season culminating being placed twice in group one races. Ideally the filly wants another furlong but will be finishing two for one and should swoop past the leaders one out to score convincingly. Lancaster House is another horse that is always over-bet for Obrien and chucks it in if challenged early for the lead. Forget that one and go for Know It All . One point win.
R Hannon has his string in good order and S Levy is riding exceptionally well at the moment. Seems to have his 2yo string well ahead at the moment and has had a couple of nice winners early on, this looks another precocious early type in a race that may not take much winning, looks a nice sort on breeding and could go on to Royal Ascot if it shows its best here as expected.
18.15 Nottingham JEAN BAPTISTE 5/1
G Boughey looks to have found a nice race for Jean Baptiste here, his 2nd to Mars Landing was a good effort and their does not seem anything of his quality in here, he looks to be coming to hand after 2 runs already and with a nice bit of pace on here can sit handily and come home on the snapple, could be a well backed horse today this one.
18.30 Brighton FRED 9/4
Back down in grade and trip could really suit Fred here, he can get out early a dominate this field from the front making his own fractions then increasing the pace from 2 out and using his stamina to see of any late charge from behind, this is definitely more his grade and most of the competition do not look up to winning in this grade against a better quality opponent.
7 runners but a competitive handicap. The favourite is the quirky Shamshon, who is admirable but finds it very hard to win. Wiley Post was rated in the 80s not that long ago and goes off 70, at a track that he has a couple of wins to his name off higher marks. He does need to bounce back tomorrow from some relatively indifferent form, but he ran ok last time and perhaps the conditions tomorrow might kick start a revival.
Sunday – 135 Newbury – Al Aasy 11/8
On official ratings Al Aasy has a few pounds to find with Deja, however he has always looked to be a horse with proper stakes quality, as shown by his impressive win in the Group 3 Bahrain Trophy on the July Course last year. He disappointed at Goodwood in July, but he likely didn’t handle the unique track and hasn’t been seen since, so they’ve given him plenty of time. The trips looks ideal and he should be tough to beat.
Sunday – 150 Ayr – Pilbara 4/1
Pilbara comes from the yard of The Shunter and Cape Gentleman, who have both brought back pots from the UK to Ireland in the current season. Emmet Mullins is a master trainer of handicappers and it’s fair to say the Irish have a massive edge over the English at the moment. His Irish mark of 118 is extremely fair and he gets 7lbs from the English handicapper and I doubt that’ll stop him.
Allmankind sets the standard but I cant help thinking his trailblazing style will catch him out more times than it will work. Racing over and extra half mile than hes gone before, the petrol tank will surely be reaching empty leaving him vulnerable to Paul Nicholls improver. He looked to relish the step up in trip when readily accounting for another trailblazer in Ga Law at Kempton and expect similar tactics to work here.
Ayr 2.25 Sun - Thyme White 13/2
Another nicholls runner but this one with a potential stamina issue. On paper stepping up from grade 3 to grade 2 company but those two grade 3s were the most competitive hcap hurdles in the diary where no prisoners are taking. I cant get out of my head how he came there swinging on the bridle 2 out in the betfair before not seeing out the relentless gallop and fading into 9th. He never really got into it in the county hurdle but still wasn't that far behind milkwood. With only voix de reve (ran friday so probably a non runner) a confirmed front runner im hoping a more sedate gallop will help him see out the race this time round.
Ayr 3.35 sun - the ferry master 0.5pt e/way 18/1
Normally if your backing a sandy thompson horse its simply look to see what hes picked up from bigger yards. Dingo dollar fits that profile but i think his other runner has gone under the radar. Campaigned with this race in mind. Hes ran ik a cpl of races shorter than ideal and also in goimg that doesnt appear to suit. However in 2 runs around 3 mile in good ground hes won both times. He also fits the trends around age, weight and recent run so im happy to take my chance on him in what is a very tricky contest but thats where we usually get the good prices.
A second time out two year old filly for Jim Bolger, owned by his wife. I watched her circling at the start on the first day of the flat in Ireland and she stood out as a strapping filly amongst colts and duly to my delight ran out an all the way winner. Here she appears to only have one significant rival; A O'Brien's Cadamosto a Nay No Never colt who won easily enough on debut at Dundalk on the all weather. Due to connections he is almost bound to be odds on, allowing a value price for the selection. Bolger started Dawn Approach in the same race!
4.15 CURRAGH - AGITARE E/W 22/1
Another Bolger - Manning selection in this £11k handicap. Agitare last ran in the £47k Irish Lincoln run on soft to heavy. He travelled well for 7f and then was not given a hard time drifting back over the last furlong to finish 8l twelfth of twenty four. All his best form has been on good ground and with the drying conditions, mostly less taxing rivals, a couple re-oppose here who finished in front of him in the Lincoln, and the run under his belt, I am hoping he can improve enough to place at least at a working man's price.
1.10 THIRSK - FREEDOM FLYER E/W 12/1
An Invincible Spirit gelding with one bit of decent front running form at Wolverhampton for the Crisfords as a 2yo. Now with Ruth Carr, this will be his 2nd start of the season so some of the freshness that led to him running out of steam in the last furlong at Wolves 21 days agoshould have dissipated. The key might be, that with luck he will get an uncontested lead and be able to hold on to the line. The main danger to him getting that lead is Flavius Titus who has led in the past and with crafty old Graham Lee up might be taken forward, Ghathanfar can also lead but up 6lbs to a career high mark and never having won 2 in a row reassures me that the selection has the right pace credentials.
The return to fast ground is expected to help a return to the form shown at Goodwood last year for Toro Strike. The favourite is feared but hopefully Paul Hanagan can sit off the pace and finish strong to take this race. Most of these are making their seasonal debut so there is a certain amount of trust but the ratings and the value are strong for the selection with the strongest form on my ratings.
KING D’ARGENT – 1.15 Ayr (Sunday) 6/4
Looks like being the favourite but still hoping for a decent price in this competitive race. The Skeltons are likely to pull one winner out of the card and I am hopeful that this will be the one. I expect it to lead and use his pace to burn off the rest of the field and as long as he settles, I think he will take some catching on the fast ground at a track where leading is often the best running style.
MIGHTY THUNDER [Each Way] – 3.35 Ayr (Sunday) 10/1
After a near miss in the English version I couldn’t resist a stab at the Scottish National this week. I think the Scudamore family will have a big hand in the race on the ratings and hopefully Tom the jockey rather than Michael the trainer, will have the upper hand. Mighty Thunder is one of the most versatile horses on training with wins on almost any ground and at all distances between 2 miles and 4 miles. The field size is a bit of a concern and I hope he can settle in a prominent position in the big field but the trends and the ratings have aligned for this one.
In what looks quite an open race there maybe value in backing Lady Nectar. Her Turf form of 9 runs 2 wins and 3 places isnt anything special but when combined with distance 4 runs 2 wins and 1 place and CD form of 1 run 1 win. The ground is also fine with 7 runs 2 wins and 2 places.
WILEY POST 16:20 BRIGHTON 5/2
Wiley Post boasts a good record here having won 2 and placing in the three visits, his turf mark is 5lb lower which could mean all the difference.
DE VEGAS KID 18:30 BRIGHTON 11/4
De Vegas Kid obviously likes it at brighton with 4 course wins from 7 visits, compared to his 25 turf runs with 7 wins. David Probert was on board for his last win, and is a positive. He was quite unlucky on his last run at kempton where he was slightly hampered when making headway. All this points to being right up there at the finish.
With a lot of these not having run in the last 6 months, there will be question marks over their race fitness. REBEL AT DAWN finished a close 3rd behind a couple of smart horses on seasonal reappearance, he broke poorly and was a little out paced but stayed on well at the finish and should strip fitter for the run and I expect RAD to be bang there again.
SAT Brighton 4.20- Shamson Win 5/2
Stuart Williams has a good record over course and distance at Brighton 12/48 for a 25% SR and has been in good form of late with 4/15 winners. He sends course and distance winner SHAMSON here in what looks a very weak contest. Back down to a nice mark on turf and Marco Ghiani claiming 3lbs, I think that could prove to be the difference between him and the danger Willey Post.
SAT Brighton 7.30- Pour La Victoire EW 13/2
POUR LA VICTOIRE has a great record here at Brighton with 9 wins and 7 places from 26 runs, 3 wins coming over course and distance. PLV was running of a mark in the 70's last season and is now back down to a mark of 60 today, so would expect every chance of PLV adding to the course wins.
Although now a 10 year old, Highland Acclaim shaped as if back in form on his recent reappearance and if building on that should go close here off a career low mark. Racing keenly initially, he seemed to be travelling best of all turning in for home but didn’t get the clearest of runs before running on for 5th. He certainly shaped as if back to his best and he should be more at home back on turf, where 9 of his 11 career wins have come. The Carr yard always tend to start the year well and if building on that run, Highland Acclaim should be capable of going close in what looks a winnable race.
SHACKABOOAH 12:40 Thirsk 4/1
This 4 year old has been unlucky not to get off the mark so far and looks worth a try on turf which may suit his style better than the tight turns of the All-Weather tracks. The selection has found trouble in running on more than one occasion, most notably last time out at Lingfield, when travelling best of all but having to wait for a run, before thundering home to finish a close 2nd. A fast run 6F on turf may suit as opposed to a slowly run 7F on the AW (has proven form over sprint trips from last year), and with relatively low milage he can expected to take advantage of this mark of 57 in a race that won’t take much winning.
SPIRIT DANCER 5:05 Newbury 13/2
The lightly raced son of Frankel can continue his progression as a 4 year old with plenty of potential from his current mark of 85. After a comfortable maiden success last year, he put together two solid runs in fiercely competitive Class 2 handicaps – coming a close 2nd at Ayr, followed by a solid 5th at York. He was just a 3 year old in those affairs running against older battled hardened types, and with another winter on his back better can be expected this season. He drops to Class 4 on this reappearance and with the Fahey yard making a solid enough start to the season, Spirit Dancer should go close before moving back into higher graded affairs throughout the season.
Was not a cheap purchase finishing r/up all 3 starts on the flat a.w for trainer Simon Crisford back in 2018 ~ selection also 1/2 brother Teofilo who was successful over 14f actually started last season over hurdles off BHA rating 101 ~ runs here tomorrow off a much reduced mark of just 86. Blinkers applied LTO when leading and always up with the pace behind tactical manoeuvre before being ridden and weakening 2 out over a trip 3 miles, believe tomorrow’s trip 2m4f will certainly suit the Tom George runner and rates a value e/w play. When raced on the flat, trainer stated was a big backward type who will hopefully improve with time & experience / 0-100 class 5 HC hurdle off 86 under Jonathan Burke with the retained blinkers makes the horse of interest.
3.10 curragh ... King of comedy e/w 18/1
Theirs one piece of form that would see the selection win and that’s the form shown behind Japan champion stakes on good ground when beaten a little under 2L previously trained by Johnny G before moving Ireland and joining the Harrington yard, making stable debut in a soft ground listed event over 10f behind Broome beaten 18L 246 day absence ? Forecasted ground good here tomorrow and all of the selections best efforts have all come under tomorrow’s ground conditions whereas Broome best form come with cut underfoot - may well have needed that opening run ‘ gone well fresh in the past if putting a line through last effort then a good case can be made ‘ will certainly be their or thereabouts if returning to anything like best ~ also last season when making season return behind century dream would see in the mix & after looking through the form & odds I’m convinced this runner overpriced in the current markets and represent decent e/w value.
Scottish national Sunday ..... Aye right 1pt win 17/2
Undefeated around here although these wins came over hurdles good ground also soft achieved BHA mark 146 hurdles 5-12 surpassed that over fences in terms of ratings although record 1-8 don’t tell the true story ~ weighted to reverse form of LTO effort festival ultima chase when beaten 7.75L on 7lbs better terms ~ didn’t jump with usual fluency at the festival when clouting a few of the fences on the way round ‘ making up good ground over the final couple of fences behind winner vintage clouds / stables runners 2-5 at the track 40% SR also bodes well, form already taken a boost with the r/up Happygolucky going one better, when winning at aintree beating reliable yardstick Johnbb off revised mark 149 assessor reacted with further 8lbs rise in the ratings with new BHA a lofty 157 whereas the Harriet Graham runner stays 154 Callum Bewley returns after being partnered by Richard Johnson which also reads well, weekends best bet on favoured good ground,.....
This looks a really weak race for the grade and Highland Acclaim may be getting on in years, but he has plenty of back class to go with it (rated 90+ at his peak). He switched from David O’Meara to Ruth Carr at the start of last season and quickly registered a win before racing was suspended. Upon resumption, the yard had a poor season which has seen lots of their runners return to the track from generous marks and result in much better showings. Highland Acclaim really caught the eye on his latest start, keen in rear in a race that paid to be prominent, he made lots of ground late on under a tender enough ride. Down 2lb here, I expect him to go close.
1930 Brighton - Rhyme Scheme (1pt win) 9/2
Rhyme Scheme is a well treated front runner, with the prime draw in still 1 to take advantage of the sharp track. She ran with great credit at Pontefract recently and the drop down to this grade, combined with very positive booking of Hollie Doyle can see her being hard to pass.
1425 Ayr - Thyme White (0.5pt ew) 13/2
Thyme White is strictly held on form at Cheltenham by a few of these but he was too far back that day and never got in to the race. Previously, he’d shaped extremely encouragingly off a break in the Betfair Hurdle before giving way to fitness late on. He receives a 4lb swing with the current fav Milkwood from that run at Newbury (Thyme White finished 3 lengths ahead) and appears overlooked as a result of the most recent run.
R Hannon and S Levey have won the last two runnings of this race. Temple of Heaven, his latest winner is now racing in Sha Tin where he landed an 83K race a few months back, and with some decent future engagements in the calendar, I'm hoping this 36k purchase could be a decent horse.
MUSKATEER THREE 4.55 BRIGHTON 7/4
John Butlers only sent one two-year-old to Brighton, which won, in the last five years. The selection was a running on beaten short head last time out at Bath but had shown a lot of improvement from his Brocklesbury fifth when he turned around the form with the runner-up M Channons Wonderful World.
TAMAROC DU MATHAN SUNDAY 3.00 AYR 13/8
If the last eight runnings of this race are a guide then the winner will be priced at 4/1 or less, as seven of them were. On the other hand, the favourite has only obliged twice so I think it is worth taking him on with the selection trained by P Nicholls who has won this race three times within the same period. Both will no doubt be glad Shiskin isn't racing as they've both seen his back, albeit from afar, this season.
One of the top rated in this field and boasts a cracking strike rate with 4 wins from 7 starts, which include beating today’s likely favourite Alcohol Free over 6f at Salisbury last September. That horse did turn the tables next time in a Group One at Newmarket next time out, but there should still be more to come from Happy Romance who is entered in the English and Irish 1000 Guineas.
Nando Perrando 2:45 Newbury 13/2
A massive shock winner of the Coventry Stakes at Ascot last year, taking the spoils at 150/1 but he proved that to be no fluke, barely putting a foot wrong since beaten into 2nd Place in a pair of Group 1’s in France. As such this race represents a drop in class and he looks sure to be there at the business end.
Danyah 3:20 Newbury 7/2
A cracking effort to finish in 4th place in The Lincoln at Doncaster on his return, behind a well handicapped winner. He wasn’t far away and is sure to make a Mark this season. He can run from the same handicap mark as that day and has the benefit of Jim Crowley in the saddle today. He proved himself over this distance at the end of of last years campaign and he is definitely one to keep an eye on this year.
I’m a great fan of Tim Easterby and watch for his horses when they run over distances that they’ve won over before which is certainly the case here with the three year old Showalong. Two wins from four races last season was good form and the only doubt I have is whether the horse will be fit enough to do himself justice on his seasonal debut. Because of that and because he is a reasonable price, I’ve played safe by going each way.
11.55 Bangor Kitty Hall 0.5 points ew 8/1
I think it’s quite interesting that trainer Nicky Richards moves this horse up to 2.5 miles today. On her only previous run over this trip, Kitty Hall faded late on but it’s her jumping she really needs to improve on and if the work has been put in to do this then I think she has an excellent chance here. This is only her second time in a handicap, but she has shown some reasonable form despite jumping errors and the first time blinkers should help her settle. She is lightly raced and I’m hoping to see her get her head in front here.
12.25 Bangor Discko Des Plages 1 point win 11/4
The Skelton horse, Crooks Peak, is going to be all the rage here but I like the look of Richard Hobson’s Discko Des Plages who steps back in trip and will surely benefit from that. A win and four places from eight races over fences is pretty consistent form. The gelding has faded late on over longer distances and should really enjoy this shorter trip.
A 6 year old gelding by Court Cave. Trained by Fergal O’Brien,who has an excellent record in these type of races. Good track record,with 5 wins and 2 places from 14 runners. He has his string in great current form,and has a 7 wins from 26 runners record over the past two weeks. Jockey on board is 7lbs claimer Liam Harrison,who has two wins from only two rides at the track. First run for this stable after moving from the MC Griffin yard in Ireland. Had a couple of runs in point to points,including a 3 length second of 16 on latest run. Fitted for the first time with a tongue tie and should go close.
1.40 Thirsk. JEREMIAH win. 8/1
Six year old gelding by Kheleyf. Trained by Charlie Fellowes who has his runners in fine current form. Has a 27% strike rate in the last 14 days. Does well at the course,5 winners and 5 places from 18 runners. On board is Daniel Tudhope,who has a 30% win rate at the course in the last 12 months. The trainer/jockey combination has 3 wins from 8 rides. Horse is one win from one run over course and distance. Both of the horses victories have been at 1mike 4 furlongs. Finished 5th of 9 last time out in a Listed event at Kempton in December. Possibly needed that race to be run at a faster pace,and with The Trader in this race should get a stronger gallop.
5.15 Nottingham. MAWKEB. each way 5/1
Three year old Kittens Joy colt. Cost 250,000 dollars as a yearling before being re sold for 700,000 dollars. Trained by Owen Burrows who has a 36% strike rate at Nottingham. Has had just the one race,finishing 5th of 14 in a Maiden at Kempton over 7 furlongs in November 2020. Kept on well inside the final furlong. Will appreciate the step up in distance to 10 furlongs. The form from that race has worked out really well with four horses going on to win since.
This lightly-raced 7 year old got us up and running when winning at Haydock two weeks ago when, having just his fourth start over fences, he made short work of beating Niven by 5 ½ lengths recording in the process a RPR of 136 with the feeling there was more to come hence why we go in again. Wins at Wincanton and Sandown preceded that, demonstrating Five Star Getaway is equally at home left handed as he is right and his win at Wincanton demonstrated good ground is not an issue while his wins at Haydock and Wincanton show flat tracks aren’t an issue neither. Jack Tudor takes off 3lbs meaning the selection runs off an OR of 132 and he steps up half a mile in trip in a competitive looking race. The selection was disqualified from first place in a soft ground 15 runner point to point in 2019 giving confidence the trip should be within his means and this excellent jumper and smooth traveller looks sure to give us a good run for our money.
1pt win – MILKWOOD, Sunday, 225 Ayr 11/4
At first glance this running of the Scottish Champion Hurdle doesn’t look that strong and the selection is an obvious pick after his excellent 3rd in the County Hurdle giving the winner Belfast Banter 11lbs. Belfast Banter has franked the from in impressive fashion winning a Grade 1 novice hurdle at Aintree, and while Milkwood recorded a RPR of 144 that day (he runs off an OR of 142 today), his performance to me can be marked up on two counts. The first being he was reported as losing his left hind shoe, the second I thought Robbie Dunne went for home too early after he took it up coming into the home straight going very well. Sam Twiston-Davies takes over in the saddle today. Sam’s record for trainer Neil Mulholland is an 18% strike rate in the last 5 years with a profit of £44.46. I’m hoping Sam can get a tow into the race and use this 7 year old’s turn of foot over the last to snare this decent prize.
0.5pts each-way – SOLDIER OF LOVE, Sunday, 335 Ayr 15/2
The Scottish Grand National is high on quantity but I’m unsure on the level of the quality and I am expecting a big run from this 8 year son of Yeats. Champion trainer elect Paul Nicholls (who has landed the race 3 times) is represented solely by this lad who has been off for 154 days since he was pulled up behind The Big Breakaway at Cheltenham. It was reported the gelding was unsuited by the soft ground that day. Soldier Of Love brings a chase profile of 4 wins, 1 place from 8 starts with all 4 of his chase wins coming on good ground and 3 were over 3m 2f, the furthest he has run over. He has recorded 2 RPRs of 152 (runs off 144 today) meaning there may be some juice in his current handicap mark. The first was a 2 ¼ length beating of Coole Cody at Newton Abbot (Paddy Power Gold Cup winner), the second was a 7 length 2nd to Galvin at Cheltenham (Galvin won the National Hunt Chase at the Festival and now has an OR of 154, a RPR of 159). The icing on the cake is the record of owner Malcolm Denmark this jumps season. His record with Paul Nicholls this season is 11 winners from 21 runners (52% strike rate) with another 3 placed resulting in a profit of £16.88. This lad could well add to those impressive stats.
A winner on debut last term and not disgraced when stepped up into group company in what looked an above average renewal of the Lowther. Plenty of form has come out of that race and she followed that up with another decent run over 6f at Newmarket when 7th of 27. Drops back to 5F here and if ready to go again this year could well steal this from the front for last years winning trainer.
13:10 Thirsk Dick Datchery 1pt win only 17/2
Can be forgiven his latest run when making his reappearance following a 142 day lay off and wind surgery in much better company and better can be expected here. Only 1lb above his last winning mark and with improvement a possibility we have to take a chance here.
18:00 Brighton De Little Engine 1pt win only 12/1
2 wins and 2 placed efforts from 6 runs over CD and goes here some 12lb below the latest of those victories which came in this race back in 2019. Will be fit from the AW and has to be worth a try from this mark back at what looks to be a bit of a favourable track. Wide draw to contend with but more than capable on a going day
First saw this horse last August on its first run and noted it due to the way it ran on at the finish. It never threatened the winner but impressed me for its first run. Not done anything in its 5 runs since but it’s dropping nicely in the weights and its back on the turf over a bit longer so it may just appreciate the change and get its head in front?
Bangor 1.55 Lies About Milan 5/1
Looks a 2 horse race to me and the odds on fav could fly home in front but doesn’t look a sure thing to me so I’m pinning my hopes on LAM hauling him in on ground that he’s not had before carrying a bit less weight than previously
Nott 6.45 Prospect 4/1
A horse who’s knocked on the door for most of its 9 runs so far but still not won! Never beaten far and its all about if the blinkers applied first time do the trick or not? Top trainer and jockey pitting their wits against some good horses so I think it’ll all be about who gets a good clear run and I’m just hoping it’s this one.
Won at 22/1 here back in January over 2m1f on Heavy ground, today races over further and on better ground. The selection hasn’t been racing well of late but is now only 2lb above its LWM, I’m hoping the new trip and back at same place as it’s last win will spark a revival.
Agitate (e/w) curragh 16:15 22/1
Finished 12th in the Irish Lincoln and put in a solid enough performance on first start of the season. Today’s condition will suit and I expect a much better run here on better ground. The stable jockey has chosen this one over the other horse in this field. All signs lead to a better run.
Doonard Prince (e/w) Curragh 17:25 20/1
The selection is extremely well handicaped and has the aid of a 10lb claimer on Board. Today’s conditions will suit and runs well when fresh. The selection is 12 yrs old, but this is a very ordinary contest and at the prices, this makes the selection a value bet. A good run is expected.
This is a very interesting handicap where the focus will be on the big fashionable stable of Joseph O Brien, who runs several. One that sneaks under the radar for me is “He Knows No Fear”. He ran well a couple of times last year , including a victory over “Agitare”, who he is now 7lbs better off with. He ran very encouragingly in the Irish Lincolnshire in March on ground that was too soft before blowing up and should strip a lot fitter this time out. He needs the going to be on the good side for him to show his best form, which he should get and I think he has a sporting chance and is selected each way.
Gin Palace – Newbury Sunday 3.20 ½ pt E way 20/1
The spring cup is always a competitive race and this years running is no different. We should be looking for a horse 6 or younger, rated between 85-98 and has previous Newbury form. Having gone through the race a couple of times, I particularly like the look of Gin Palace. He is 2-2 at Newbury, both at this distance and has Georgia Dobie claiming a valuable 5lbs. I am not worried about this being his first run of the season as he won first time out last year. As long as the course doesn’t turn too soft, I believe it has a great e way chance.
Notachance – Ayr Sunday 3.35 ½ pt E way 11/1
The Scottish National looks very competitive this year and there doesn’t seem to be a standout favourite. Although normally a follower of trends, I sometimes go with what I can see in front of me and forgive a horse if it isn’t a perfect trends pick. This is such a time. Although it didn’t finish in the top 6 LTO and is GB bred, I like “Notachance”. Alan King always targets this meeting and this horse reminds me of his other recent winner here (Godsmejudge). It is true that 15 of the last 17 winners have been 8 or older, but the two 7year olds that won were both carrying 11-3lb’s indicating they were above average for their age. “Notachance” is 7 years old and carrying 11-3lbs. Finally I think you can put a line through its run at Haydock as it was reported he spread a plate and was lame on his return to the stables. If it wasn’t for that run, his 2 runs prior to that would probably have made him favourite and I give him a really good e way chance in this.
The Skelton family and horses are always worth a look and this one is a good one to check out. No places in the last few races but has good stats which should mean it is meant to be up there at the front. Tempted to make it win only but Rukwa is a worry... oh let's be crazy...
His dream - 12.55 Bangor - EW 16/1
A bit of a risk on this one with a horse not seen for a few years but with places and wins when it was around. It was rather good in this class before with close to 70% place and wins and it is a matter of seeing and hoping at good odds to help us shoot up...
It must be faith - 7.15 Nottingham - EW 11/1
The oldest horse by quite a few years on this race but has been a reliable placer at least in the 40%, same with the jockey and with claiming 7 pounds could hope that it would help go towards the front. A short distance and younger horses might be more energetic but it can beat the favourite which has been off for half a year.
What a race ! There are 3 big priced horses in this that I would have liked to put up ew. Unfortunately the rules don`t allow that, so I have come down on Colfer Me, ahead of Luke Comers pair. The selection needs a leap of faith, but I have plenty of that in such selections. Let me take you back to the last time this horse ran over this distance on ground that he should get tomorrow. It was the Paddy Power Irish Lincolnshire on 12th June 2020 where Colfer Me finished 2nd at 66/1. The winner is now rated 106, the 3rd is 101, the 4th is 110 and the 5th is 97...... Colfer Me has been running on either the wrong ground or going since that excellent effort and runs off 78 tomorrow and if the going is anywhere near Good to Firm he has an ew squeak at what should be a massive price.
GIN PALACE - EW - 3-20 Newbury Sun 20/1
I normally tip well handicapped horses, unless there are strong positives that outweigh the horses mark. This selection is an example, having ran twice at the course and winning both times, has shown its best form on Good / Good to Firm, which he should get on Sunday and finally a great strike rate on turf of 33%. To top it off, the jockey has won on the selection previously and takes a valuable 5lb off. I expect a double figure price so ew it is !
GOOD BIRTHDAY - Win - 5-05 Newbury Sun 17/2
SDS has just one mount on Saturday and I tried to make a case for it, unfortunately I think Michael Stouts other runner will win it. So to Sunday an a very well handicapped horse that returns to a track that he has won at ( albeit over a different distance ). GOOD BIRTHDAY has been campaignsed in Class 2s & 3s and now returns to a class 4. He has always run well after a break ( winning twice and being placed once after the only 3 considerable breaks he has had ). I haven`t got a clue what price he will be, but probably too small for an ew tip, so Win it is !
Gained reward for some promising AW efforts earlier this year when winning over today's trip at Redcar 12 days ago. Has a 6lb rise in the handicap to contend with today but the form of that latest win was franked twice on Thursday this week (by Mutanaaseq & Athollbair Boy). His stable remains in good early season form & there is much to like about his chances of following up today.
DUBLIN FOUR - EW - 1:50 AYR (SUN) 8/1
Appreciated the better ground when winning comfortably at Newbury last month over 2f shorter than today's trip. Was given a fine waiting ride by Kielan Woods that day and won with any amount in hand and despite being raised 9lb for that performance the way he finished suggested there is more to come before the season ends.
GATEWAY TO EUROPE - 1:05 WINCANTON (SUN) 9/2
A late non runner due to the sticky ground at Chepstow last weekend (had been well backed prior to that withdrawal). Has had 4 months off but goes well fresh and has dropped to a very workable handicap mark (has won off 5lb higher back in 2019). Largely consistent and should go close in a race that lacks strength in depth.
Week 4 – Saturday 10th April
Looking for a five-timer the horse is versatile as far as the ground is concerned. Indeed, he is versatile as far as distance is concerned having run at everything from 7f to 2m6f in the past! A handicap hurdler who moved into novice Grade 2 company LTO and won going away. He's won twice at this weight and is ridden today by Denis O'Reagan who took him to impressive victory last time.
PAISLEY PARK 15:35 Aintree Win 4/1
Won a 3 mile Grade 1 around here last year. Has won 7 from 11 at the distance and has Aiden Coleman on board who knows how to get a tune out of the horse. There should be a bit of pace on in the race so his favoured hold up style could take advantage of some tired legs come the finish.
ANNIBALE FLY 17:15 Aintree 0.5pt E/W 28/1
This is the one race where my normal form tools get chucked in the bin and I go on race trends.The trands left me with half a dozen horses including the current favourite Cloth Cap. But a 9/2 favourite in this race is not for me, especially one which has not jumped National style fences before.. Instead I am siding with the selection who finished 5th in the race in 2019 and has been lokked after presumably with this race in mind. The Irish connections are also a plus.
Taking the easy way out here. The one fear is that he is either too keen up front or gets into a battle for the lead early on. However his performance in the Scottish National and subsequently in the Ladbrokes Trophy both on good ground together with being well in suggest that there are precious few holes to be picked in his chances. Hoping he will drift.
1.00 CHEPSTOW WAIKIKI WAVES Win 15/8
He is 4/4 on good ground over distances from 18 to 23f. I will be hoping that as on other occasions Jamie Moore can have him in a prominent position behind the frontrunning Nightline and he can take this. The biggest danger are the fences as he has had a tendency to belt one or two but that tends to be on softer ground.
3.35 AINTREE LISNAGAR OSCAR E/W 12/1
I had been circling this one for a while but seeing Rachel Blackmore get the leg up has convinced me. He has won over 3m at Haydock on good ground so the flat left handed track should hold no fears. I also think that Paisley Park might prefer it softer and Thyme Hill's trainer Philip Hobbs strike rate 3/73 in the last 30 days is so bad as to suggest that his yard must have some sort of bug.
Pretty much everything to like about this one. He’s a stone well in, ran a good 3rd in the Scottish equivalent two years ago, since cheek pieces were fitted he’s won easily on both occasions and enjoys this kind of ground. He’ll be out of the way of any incidents in behind as he likes to be front rank. He wouldn’t want to race as enthusiastically as before but with a couple of other front runners he can be settled nicely in 3rd or 4th, he looks the most likely winner even though he is a short price for such a race.
15.40 Newcastle 2m46y Handicap Hurdle Orkan Win NR
His last race behind The Shunter at Kelso was a leap to far and a drop back to a more suitable grade could see him back in the winners enclosure, prefers these small field races, winner on this going and a C&D winner who also stays a little further, also prefers going left handed and still looks capable of this mark.
17.30 Newcastle 2m4f Handicap Hurdle Bravantina EW Bet 9/2
Does not look an obvious choice at first glance but with the Walford stable going well things could change for this horse now, has not shown much since going hurdling but as some good times in the races he has contested and its a bit of a leap of faith here but I do think he is better than he has showed so far.
The Skeltons are flying right now and this looks another winner for the combination. My Drogo is improving at a rate of knots and looks to have enough class to put this field to bed. He cruised home last time out at Kelso to a 9 length victory and Aintree flatter track will better play to his strengths . I see him winning this easily down the straight . In Skeltons we trust. 1 point win.
Roksana 3.35 Aintree 11/2
Another confident Skeltons selection. I love this mare and if she was a piece of seaside rock she would have the word Class printed right through her. The flatter track will play to her strengths unlike Cheltenham last time where she still ran a solid race in difficult circumstances. I see Harry taking a pull two out then cruising to the front one out and romping home. This is a 1 point win selection and a double for the Skeltons.
Kimberlite Candy 5.15 Aintree 16/1
Well if you have your pin ready and your Partner is eagerly awaiting your random selection do not bother as I am here to assist you. First things first. Do not back Cloth Cap who is totally overrated and a joke price at around 5/1. I think to win a National apart from a lot of luck in running you absolutely need a horse with course experience. Kimberlite Candy has this and has come second both times over these unique fences. I believe the Trainer has plotted this horse for todays race over a 2 seasons period and is ready to bring home the bacon. Candy stays so well and has positive experiences over the fences. It all looks good to me. This is a 1/2 point each way selection.
"so what’s ye tip for the National”. Words every punter dreads in early April. Granted as one of the only people with a racing interest at High School Mr Frisk and Party Politics won me a few friends and it’s still a race that can get you a few free beers (if only eh.) As with a good few staying races in recent years the trends seem to be reversing in the age category and whereas you’ll find plenty people telling you to back an old timer around here I’m sticking to the newer trend of finding the right young horse and you won’t find a better one than Burrows Saint. Already an Irish National winner at 6, so stamina assured. Yet to Fall or unseat in 20 outings so a safe jumper and even better than those 2 snippets has ran 3 times on ground between Good and Yielding and has won all 3 times. I just can’t see Burrows Saint being out of the first 4 and with a bit of luck getting its head in front where it matters. The fact he likes to race up with the pace is also a positive as you’ll see few coming from too far off the pace in this race Oh and after Cheltenham it’s clear that the Irish horses (both graded and handicappers) are just better than the home contingent.
Aintree 4.15 – Hold the Note 0.5pt E/Way 14/1
A 15 runner Handicap. Every each way punters nightmare. However some decent trends help cut the field right down in this particular trappy contest, namely weight carrying, having a recent run and Age. Which left me with a shortlist of 4 or 5. Scratch the surface of the form and Mick Channon’s inmate has been unlucky to run into some pretty decent animals in the last year or so, all of which are rated much higher than what they were when they met on the track. The rollcall of horses he’s finished in behind includes Mount Ida, Next Destination, Imperial Aura, Shan Blue and HappyGoLucky who he re-opposes here from a meeting earlier in the year. The fact he’s been placed in half of his attempts over 3m+ then I’ll give him another go to at least make the frame again here like he did at Cheltenham in the Kim Muir, where he might have been a bit closer if not for a mistake 4 out just as the temp was being lifted.
Aintree 6.20 – The Gossiper 11/4
Thankfully for the home team no sign of any Elliot / Foster / De Bromhead / Mullins bumper horses venturing over the Irish sea. However there is one raider and they may only need the one. Emmitt Mullins sends the The Gossiper who would have been close on both point to point starts but for falling late on. Interestingly both winners of those races have since won under rules for Messrs De Bromhead and Tizzard so the form of those P2P races may well turn out to be half decent. Fast forward a year from his last P2P run and he turned up in a bumper at Wexford where Patrick held him up wide all the way round giving up plenty of ground to the others but still had plenty in hand to kick a few lengths clear at the line. Given the form of the Irish bumpers tends to be better than that at home I’ll take the sole Irish runner to carry on the run.
Not the most original selection, but ticks all the boxes. We know he stays from his excellent run in the Scottish National, likes the ground, goes prominent and is ludicrously well in. With a bit of luck he should go really well. The main danger is likely to come from Ireland, with Burrow’s Saint a pretty solid option. He would be the next best.
335 Aintree – Diol Ker 11/1
Diol Ker looked a really smart prospect for chasing as a hurdler, as he’s a tremendous physical specimen, but sadly for his connections it hasn’t worked out as he can’t jump! He had some terrific form over hurdles as a novice, including a smart defeat of Monkfish and has returned to hurdles this season, and jumped better and better on his last start. He should improve for the better going and looks a good bet at the prices.
225 Aintree – My Drogo 13/8
My Drogo does have the Irish to beat here, but they aren’t the cream of the crop, with Dreal Deal a quirky customer and Ballyadam a generally mediocre jumper and not a certain stayer. My Drogo has looked the real deal over hurdles with 3 consecutive wins in impressive style, and shaping last time like a step up in trip will suit ideally. He should be tough to beat.
6 time course and distance winner EL GHAZWANI hasnt been in great form of late, but has slowly been slipping down the weights, now 4lbs below highest winning mark and Jim Crowley booked, if he can get best out of this horse it should be the one to beat, and at a big price is worth the risk.
Aintree 5.15- Anibale Fly EW 28/1
In what can be a lottery of a race and with so many having question marks about the distance, im going to look for something thats already proven over the distance. ANIBALE FLY has finished 4th and 5th in two runs in the Grand National, so proven to handle course and distance, a lot in the weights this time around and at a big price is worth an each way play.
Wolves 7.45- Puchita WIN 13/2
PUCHITA lost by a head over course and distance last time out to Soyounique, which has come out and won again since, so that form looks good. This time Puchita has a beeter stall draw (4) and a good apprentice jockey Angus Villiers claiming 5lbs, so will running of a lower weight this time round giving Puchita a great chance.
Sticking to the main meeting for all selections as I prefer to focus on higher class races with my ratings analysis being more reliable in Class 1-3 races. This one may look a short price but I think it is still value and can’t really see what else can challenge (on paper at least). Looking for four wins in a row and a more reliable jumper than the main rival. The competition all have questions to answer but this one has the best form and a favourite’s chance.
SNOW LEOPARDESS – 4.15 Aintree 10/1
No each way for me here – double figure price (hopefully) is the best value of the day. The drying ground will improve the chances and well ahead of the ratings and a positive trends selection. The form is strong and I think this one is far better value than the favourite.
FARCLAS – 5.15 Aintree (0.5 point each way) 20/1
Surely seven year olds never win the National? I must admit I would have said the same but having spent some considerable time on this race I keep coming back to Farclas. Previous Triumph Winner (like Tiger Roll) and a French style of jumping (like Tiger Roll), owned by…. (you get the picture now I’m sure). Farclas will certainly appreciate any drying ground, is very well weighted and has a genius jockey on board. It is the year of the Irish and hopefully this one will add to it. Going each way (well, it is the National) and fear the favourite if he gets round. For the record, Mister Malarky or Canelo if you are looking for the exacta and trifecta!
The big one! Everyones favourite race to have a dabble on. This is always an open race - I feel that the fav Cloth Cap is just too short at 9/2, I have sided with a horse that has beaten Cloth Cap by 4 lengths in 2019 Scottish National being 1 lb heavier, now only 2 lb higher than the fav looks to be on a good mark.
REQUITED 13:25 LINGFIELD 7/2
4 runs over course and distance with 2 wins - This is a weak race and has a good draw in number 2. has previously won from 10 higher. Has also won twice with Charlie Bennett, So all looks good for a good run,
DEVIZES 15:15 LINGFIELD 0.5E/W 11/2
With 2 wins and a place over course and distance from 5 runs Devies looks to have a good chance. This is a step up in class but of a basement mark he should make the frame.HAs run at the distance 7 times- after the first two times where he didn't feature he has form figures of 2/1/1/1/2 linking up with J F Egan on 4 of those runs.
Not an original selection but he fits all the trends, which are readily available elsewhere, has won his last two races comfortably, both times ridden by today's jockey, and remains well handicapped. If there is a negative it's the trainers' record with chasers at the track which would have left you out of pocket over the last five years. That could improve after this race if he gets a clear run and avoids any trouble, not value by any means but you should get a decent run for your money if fun is what you're after.
FANTASTIC ROCK 1.15 NEWCASTLE 10/3
Half of all the horses Sandy Thomson has sent to Newcastle over the last five years have been placed and a very healthy profit would have ensued if you had backed them all to level stakes. The selection returns to the track after meeting trouble and finishing second last time out, I'm hoping the extra half a mile will suit him.
YOUNG O'LEARY 4.00 CHEPSTOW 5/4
The youngest horse in the race and looks ready to build on his last time out win at Taunton where he battled it out to the line, a good attitude for any horse. The opposition today finds it hard to win any race over any fence so I'm hoping the selection is open to more improvement and though slightly raised in class, can handle it.
This tough mare ran a blinder when finishing 2nd in the last running of this prestigious race and with no Tiger Roll in her way this year, she is taken to go one better. She proved her stamina over this marathon trip that day, always prominent and despite a poor mistake at The Chair and a blunder at the last, she was able stay on strongly for the runner up spot. With last year’s abandonment, I reckon connections have had their eye on a repeat ever since and she looks to have been trained for this day. Conditions to suit and from only 5lb higher than that 2nd in 2019, she looks to have solid chance of being involved in the finish.
BIRD FOR LIFE 12:55 Lingfield 15/2
This 7yo mare hasn’t won in thirteen runs but with conditions in her favour and the drop in grade she should be capable of going close here. 4 of her 6 career wins have come over this 2 mile trip in Class 6 (including one over course and distance) and after some credible runs in higher grades this year, she should be more at home back in this weaker grade. She is also down to a mark of 58 which should help, having won off 63 on the AW last year. Furthermore, her small yard are back in form with a 40% strike rate over the past 2 weeks and everything looks in place for a big run here.
HAPPYGOLUCKY 4:15 Aintree 11/4
Happygolucky put up a solid display when finishing runner up at the festival last month and should take some beating here against plenty of rivals who have question marks against them. This progressive type was always travelling well and looked to have every chance that day until a mistake at the last put paid to any chance he had against the resurgent winner. It was a good performance nonetheless and he should be fine here fitness wise considering he had a 3 month break prior to that Cheltenham outing. This field look beatable and from just 2lb higher Happygolucky can regain his winning thread before moving onto better things.
This horse has lost his way of late, and hasn’t show up well for his new yard. But if we look a little deeper into his form, he absolutely loves it here at Lingfield. He is a 6 time C&D winner, and is 4lb below his last winning mark. It surely won’t be long until he bounces back and at the price he’s worth a chance here.
Roksana 3:35 Aintree 11/2
I was so very impressed with the way Roksana won over this trip at Ascot in January and so it was disappointing to see her drop back by half a mile at the Cheltenham Festival. She still ran well that day but now back up to this three mile trip I’m excited to see how she progress. Form so far over 3m+ is 2131.
Magic Of Light 5:15 Aintree 20/1
What a puzzle this race is, and it is very difficult to settle on one. However, this horse is one that I backed Ante-post and have had in my mind for this race since the last time it was run, now two years ago! On that day Magic Of Light finished in a very respectable 2nd Place, only beaten just over two lengths by Tiger Roll! 5lb higher this time makes this tougher but she has valuable course experience and will relish this trip much more than the short trip she tackled at Cheltenham Festival so that run can be ignored completely.
Gary Moore’s 8 yo gelding, Waikiki Waves, is quite adept over both hurdles and fences but is probably a more accomplished chaser. He’d had a long break before finishing 2nd at Taunton in early March and that race should have brought him on nicely for this. I’m expecting him to sit in behind the leaders and take it up between the last two and going on to win.
3.20 Chepstow Bashful Boy 1 point win 7/4
The five year old was a very convincing winner at Fontwell 12 days ago and I’d be both surprised and disappointed if he can’t build on that here. Young apprentice Niall Houlihan (a very good rider who is one for the future) takes over from Daryl Jacob and the 5lb he takes off could be crucial and Bashful Boy can continue on his upward curve.
5.15 Aintree Definitely Red 0.5 points ew 50/1
I would have been seriously interested in Potters Corner had the course not dried so much and I’m reluctantly forced to look elsewhere. Brian Ellison has had this in mind for the 12 year old Definitely Red for some time and there is no reason to think the selection can’t get really competitive. He has been very lightly raced with a last time out 4th behind current favourite Cloth Cap but this is a very different proposition. At a big price I’m happy to have the each way money on him.
Traditionally tricky race to pick apart with plenty of luck in running needed. The three key qualities I look for are 1) ability to travel comfortably with the pace, 2) proven stayer over 3m+ and 3) quick through the air when jumping. The favourite Cloth Cap fits the criteria but offers no value and I suspect that Any Second Now is a better treated contender. I don’t think any other horse has the class Any Second Now displayed last time to win a Grade 2 comfortably over 2m (second upheld form since) really and whilst he’s not as officially “well-in” as the favourite, I would suggest he’s done more to deserve his rating.
1345 Aintree - Janika (0.5pt ew) 22/1
Plenty of these look harshly treated whilst Janika appears 21lb below his peak chase mark. He’s yet to show that level of ability over hurdles but has shown hints of more to come, particularly last time in the Coral Cup. He was prominently positioned but had no match for the winners’ turn of foot, tentatively handled over the last and stayed on well up the run in. He shaped as though this trip would be well within his grasp and looks to have solid claims.
1615 Aintree - Kilfilum Cross (1pt win) 40/1
It’s hard to say that many of these look well treated but one that bucks the trend is Kilfilum Cross. He looked to be laid out for the Kim Muir last time (3lb lower here) but didn’t run with his usual zest whilst possibly suffered from the amateur rider ban (jockey turned conditional whereas many found significant upgrades). Connections have switched cheekpieces to blinkers in a bid to perk the selection up and I expect to see him travel more sweetly and be in contention late on.
Already beaten stablemate burrow Saint 4.75L LTO Bobbyjo G3 conceding the r/up 6lbs in the weights and making all the running under the talented Danny Mullins 2-3 over fences ! Receives 7lbs here tomorrow ? Clearly a improving sort ~ stays the trip well finished 3rd Irish national behind burrow Saint 2019 conceding 6lbs and is weighted to finish ahead of his much fancied stablemate burrows Saint this time around ~ latest effort made all the running and when burrows loomed up 2 out the Mullins ridden runner found extra and if anything was going away again over the last and with the revised weights 33/1 looks huge and for some reason has gone unbacked in the markets 11yr olds also have a decent record in the national, ticks plenty of boxes and looks the value bet as when making my own book pencilled in nearer 16s I’ve played bet365 e/w national giveaway bookmaker offering customers e/w returns back as actual cash ~ my advice shop around as theirs countless bookmaker offers out their ,hopeful rather than confident
- 2.40 Ling ~ Secret victory win bet 11/4
Best form been achieved on the a,w decent enough spin LTO around Doncaster when finishing 3rd 0-2 on turf 2-5 on the a,w latest effort came in a much stronger contest than face here when beaten 5.5L behind throne hall who looks above his mark 88 HC also impressed as future mark now 97 selection rated 89 little miles on the clock jockey William Buick rides,clearly going the right way judged on RPR 91 94 & 95 10f should suit being out of Dubawi trainer operating around 20% with his runners at the track 7-35 recording small loss LSP - £3.00 stables only runner on the card and looks the one they all have to beat ~ leading claims
- 3.35 aintree ~ Thyme hill win bet 5/2
Days nap,clearly goes well fresh as shown when returning to action Newbury backend November when getting the better of paisley park 1.5L good ground whilst in receipt 3lbs latest level weights ascot long walk hurdle heavy ground which would not have been ideal for the Hobbs runner ~ went to early and collared close home “, connections bypassed the stayers hurdle in favour of returning here a fresh horse ~ whereas paisley looked to have had a hard race in the stayers when beaten fav behind flooring Porter 5L tomorrow’s better ground looks assured to suit the Hobbs runner with Tom O’Brien coming in for the ride after the retirement of regular jockey Richard Johnson. O’Brien was aboard when the horse made his debut in NHF race Worcester 2018 6L victory over Timcoda form of the race worked out exceptionally well.
One that slips in here under the radar slightly and scrapes in from bottom weight having finished runner up on both of his races this term. Takes a big step up in trip here but has been finishing off his races well suggesting that this staying type should be able to see out this marathon trip. Decent jumper who likes to race prominent so ought to get a good look at his fences. Well worth a stab at triple figure odds.
225 Aintree Lucky One EW 66/1
Got caught out last time by the reopposing favourite here and could have finished much closer if he hadn't gone off quite so hard and set the race up for his rival. Would like to see him applied with different tactics here but looks way over priced on previous run when running out a clear winner.
745 Wolverhampton Puchita win only 13/2
Narrowly denied over CD last time out and that form has taken a boost since when the winner went in again this week at Lingfield. Up 3lb in the weights but holds a better draw and has talented 5lb claimer in the saddle to help too. Well handicapped and sure to run her race again here.
Basing my selection on the 8 year old trend and he likes the ground and should be at the forefront which I believe is essential in a race like the national. Also proven in the top class of racing. It’s a bit of a lottery, Cloth Cap should thrash them all but the price is awful for a race like this and offers no value when anything can happen to affect your run. MM has as good a chance as most of them in my opinion and the price is quite generous to my mind.
Ling 1.25 Requited. Win 7/2
Now 10lb below its last winning mark and drawn well enough to have a good go. 50% strike rate at the track 2/4. Won a couple a times at the distance and jockey seems to get along well with him. The favorite doesn’t look anything special so should take this if things fall right for him
Wolv 7.45 Camachess. Win 7/1
Won twice in the last 12 months but wasn’t very good in the other 5 races during those months. His jockey tonight though is Adam Kirby and the OR is back down to the 60s Horse profile states it’s won at the track a couple of times, won 6/20 at the distance, won at the class and its history indicates it likes this time of year. Worth a go
Last two starts haven’t been great, struggled to settle and never really finished the races off. Now back down to 146 and with aid of a first time hood, looks to have a great chance at the weights. Has been given a rest and should turn up here today with an improved performance on previous starts. Jonjo O’Neil Jr takes the ride.
OFALLTHEGINJOINTS (e/w) Aintree 16:15 20/1
Pulled up latest at the Cheltenham Festival over 3m5f in a C1. Today is coming back in trip by 3f and has previously raced well here, coming 3rd in a C3 off 132. Today races off 141 but looks to have a better chance in this company and favourable race conditions.
MISTER MALARKY (e/w) Aintree 17:15 22/1
This has been the target this season and his run LTO at Kempton looked a solid effort, finishing 3rd but stayed on well over 3m. Today’s more stamina testing trip will bring out greater improvement and with this being the 2nd run after a wind operation, all signs are looking for a big performance.
I’m hoping this may go off at a bigger SP than the morning price and it really is a case of keeping it simple with this selection. He’s officially 14lbs well in according to the handicapper, a 9 year old gelding who has been placed over 4 miles in a Scottish National and like 7 of the last 10 winners, has never seen the Aintree fences. His trainer and owner know what it is like to have a National winner and his Kelso win last time out saw Cloth Cap produce his best RPR figure. He looks to be improving. His record over fences with good in the description is 4 wins and 3 places from 7 outings and he is 2 wins from 2 with the cheekpieces on. A bold, beautiful jumper, I can see Tom Scu having him prominent towards the inside, avoiding any trouble behind and letting his bold jumping and easy travelling style being in the front rank all of the way. His chance is obvious.
1pt win – MY DROGO, 225 Aintree 7/4
The Skeltons avoided Cheltenham with this classy-looking animal who has improved with every run. Last time out he was an impressive 9.5 length winner beating Do Your Job at Kelso. The form was franked today at Aintree with Do Your Job running a good race in the Grade 1 Betway Novices Hurdle over 2 miles 1 (a close 2nd to Belfast Banter). I don't see the step up to 2 miles 4 as a negative and he should stay 3 miles based on breeding. Team Skelton are still in fine form and I can't see any negatives. Ballyadam is an obvious danger but the De Bromhead stable has lost form since Cheltenham and genuinely don't see any other threats. He should put these to the sword and will be an exciting prospect next year; could easily be a 160+ rated hurdler although it has been mooted he will be a grand chaser.
0.5pts each-way – WHIRLING DERVISH, 145 Aintree 10/1
At the time of writing, Ireland have had 6 winners at the Aintree Festival this year from a handful of runners including Tronador and Livelovelaugh in handicaps. Whirling Dervish is the sole Irish representative in this race and he recorded a career best RPR of 141 (he runs off 137 today) when winning at Thurles last time over 2m 7f. He rallied after the last to win giving hope this 3 miles will be fine. Irish National winning jockey Ricky Doyle will take off another 3lbs. Ricky was on board for that Thurles win when he lost his irons after the last flight suggesting the win can be marked up by a pound or two. With wins on yielding and yielding to soft ground, there will be no excuses with the going and he can outrun his odds in a trappy contest.
The betting in this race revolves around Paisley Park and Thyme Hill, which I find quite surprising as I felt Paisley Park was fairly and squarely beaten at Cheltenham. Most of the Irish have stayed at home for this, and the two that have come over don’t quite look good enough to me. You are looking for a horse that has won a Group 1 or 2 in the past and needs to have a rating of 159+ in order to have the class to win it. The one that interests me the most is Lisnagar Oscar. He of course surprised everyone last year winning the Stayers at Cheltenham and in fairness was running well enough in this year’s race until falling at the 7th. It was too early to know how he would have faired but he has made significant improvement throughout the season, which mirrors his campaigns in his first 2 seasons. He definitely improves at the turn of the year. I think the booking of Rachael Blackmore in inspired and I expect a big run from him against the top 2 in the market
Hold The Note – Aintree 4.15 ½ pt E way 14/1
I have been watching Hold the Note all season, as I am sure he has got a big Handicap in him. He first came to my attention at Cheltenham in 2020 when 3rd to Imperial Aura over 2m 4f at the festival. I thought then that he needed to be stepped up to 3 miles but this never happened until February of this year when he was a good 2nd to Enrillo at Newbury. I was then quite surprised to see him upped in trip again for the Kim Muir ran at Cheltenham on March 4th. He didn’t quite get home that day and a mistake 4 out didn’t help his chances and the return to 3 miles on a flatter track will suit him more today and I expect him to go close.
Mister Malarky – Aintree 5.15 22/1 ½ pt E way
The Grand National is different to any other race in the calendar and still provides a unique test. So where do you start. I have used the same set of stats for a number of years now(with a few tweaks) to provide a short list. Some years it works others it doesn’t. You need a horse that will definitely stay, so form over 3 miles or further is a must. I am a big believer in the winner having its first run in the national. I believe these days you need a bit of class, and have previous Aintree form. I am also a big believer in horses that have done well in one or more of these races,(Irish/Scottish/Welsh/Midlands National, RSA Chase, Ultima, Ladbrokes Trophy, Nat Hunt chase). By using this method I have a smaller list. I prefer them to have had a recent run, and I don’t look above 11st. So having said all that I have my short list and the favourite is certainly in there, but I cant tip it at the odds it is now. So the one I am going to put up each way is Mister Malarky. Some of his form is really good. His 2nd to “Kildersart” at Aintree in the Betway chase was a great effort as was his victory at Ascot when beating “The Conditional”. He was 4th in a hot RSA behind “Topofthegame”, “Santini “and “Delta Work”. His latest run was a good 3rd behind Clondaw Castle (who boosted that form with his run on Thursday). I think he has a touch of class and has a sporting each way chance.cordion Sample Description
A 9 year old Flemensfirth gelding. Trained by Tom Lacey, who has his runners in good recent form. Consistent runner,with 6 wins and 3 places from 19 career starts. Won the Classic Chase at Warwick in good style. Has good past form at Aintree. Finished second in each of the last two runnings of the Becher Chase. Stayed on in both races. Should appreciate the longer trip. Connections had planned to him in the Premier Chase at Kelso,but has worked so well at home and the trainer skipped that race to send him straight to the National. Goes well fresh and has each way chance.
4.00 Chepstow. YOUNG O’LEARY win.
Showed promise over hurdles,finishing fourth on hurdling debut. Ran into second spot on third and final hurdles run. This lightly raced 7 year old gelding won on Chasing debut last time out. That success was at Taunton last month. Distance was 2 miles and 2 furlongs,on good going. Has been raised 6 lbs for that win,but will improve from that initial run over the larger obstacles. Trained by Nigel Hawke who has his runners in good form. Five pound claimer David Prichard has already won on board the horse.
4.35 Chepstow. ATJIMA. win.
ATJIMA has been entered in a five horse bumper with only three runners with past experience of a racecourse,and very little form. Irish bred,sired by Mahler. Foaled in June 2015 ,and a sister to a bumper winner. Fitted with a hood and blinkers for racing debut. Trained by Victor Dartnall in North Devon on the edge of Exmoor. Trainer is in fine recent form,with two winners from three runners in the last 14 days. Dartnall has a fine record in Bumpers and also at this track. Jockey is David Prichard who does well when riding for this yard.
Well, every race needs an In ! I have decided to come down on the side of `The Going` ! Asking a horse to run four and a half miles on unsuitable ground is asking too much. So, after trawling through the entire field, this selection has a great strike rate in Chases and handles good ground. The one negative is it`s not so promising tries over these fences ( but you can`t have everything ) ?
LISNAGAR OSCAR EW - 3-35 Aintree 12/1
Staying at Aintree for all 3 selections this week. The selection has nothing to prove and having not completed last time out, may be a little fresher than most. Comes out 4th in RPR, 2nd in speed ratings and the ground won`t be a problem. To top it all, Rachael Blackmore takes the ride. Would have been a win selection, but I am in need of safety points just now.
BRAVE KINGDOM EW - 6-20 Aintree NR
This selection contradicts my last comment, but I was so taken with the ease of its Fontwell win ( stroll ) that I just have to take a chance at the price. The PTP it ran in was on heavy ground and he will love the good ground here. After Brave Kingdoms win I made a note in my Nag Me a/c that this horse could be Premier League ! So there we go, another 3 big priced selections that will hopefully move me up the ladder.
A bit on the heavy side but very good numbers with almost 1 win and place out of 2 races, same for its results in Newcastle and in class 4. The Jockey and trainer are a profitable combo and are in Newcastle for a few races today so probably looking to make something out of this one. 3 pounds below its last winning mark. Only little concern is the ground which if softer than announced could help.
Gateway to Europe - 3.20 Chepstow - EW 5/1
Lilly Pinchin has 4 interesting rides in Chepstow and could win on each of them. I stopped on Gateway to Europe as the last few races deserve more after 5 places out of 6. Pinchin is impressive so far in Chepstow with 3 wins out of 5 rides in a new career. There might just be something in there. Down in class today and 5 pounds lighter should do it.
Shattered Love - 5.15 Aintree - EW 50/1
40 horses... I have scanned and rescanned and try to find the one that gives me a good chance and a good return whether it wins or place. Others considered were Minellacelebration (discounted because of experience), Bristol de mai (discounted because of weight), Blaklion (discounted because of history) etc. Shattered love has course experience, class experience with 67% place and win which is rather big). The trainer is 50% in Aintree as well and the jockey just won on Belfast banter this week. Maybe hard for the jockey on such a big field as it is a rather new experience but youth and good result with Belfast banter must give some confidence for at least a place if not better...
Yet to trouble the judge in 5 previous attempts over hurdles but ran well in a couple of jumpers bumpers at the start of the year and went off favourite on his latest start over todays course & distance but could only finish 7th. Drying ground will suit and taken to make amends for disappointing last time back in novice company.
DREAL DEAL - 2:25 AINTREE 7/1
Has been in outstanding form this season in Ireland, winning his first 3 starts in a canter and then remarkably coming from last to first in the space of 2f at Punchestown when upped in class on his latest start. Versatile in terms of ground and trip (has won over further than today's 2m 4f and he could be the one to take advantage of a likely frenetic pace, likely to be set by Lucky One & Straw Fan Jack.
MAGIC OF LIGHT (EW) - 5:15 AINTREE 20/1
Disappointed at this years Cheltenham Festival on her latest start over a trip arguably too short for her these days. Ran a cracker in the last 'actual' running of this race in 2019 when 2nd to Tiger Roll (made a mistake at the last when upsides) and with that experience under her belt, a significant step back up in trip & Robbie Power in the saddle another big run is expected.
Week 3 – Saturday 3rd April
Seems to have found his distance with a 2l second LTO. Trainer has an excellent record with first time handicappers scoring 34% of the time over the last year, an actual vs expected of 1.48. The combination of low draw and hold up run style is not ideal however and I'm hoping Tom Eaves is under instruction to take a more prominent position today.
GAME LINE 18:00 Newton Abbot. 2/1
Game Line has the best form at the distance but, under top weight, is going to need to run to it. He was 3rd of 7 LTO which turns out to be not bad form with the 1st, 2nd, and 5th going in subsequently. This is a drop in class from that race. The Trainer/Jockey combination is a good one and the trainer has a good record at the track. The horse is likely to go off favourite but I'll be having a flutter.
POPE GREGORY 20:30 Wolverhampton. 5/2
Consistent sort who quite likes it here and scored over C&D two weeks ago.Thet form has been boosted by the 3rd placed horse going in subsequently.Has a 25% strike rate at the distance and Richard Kingscote is not a bad booking having placed on the horse before.The draw is not bad and if he can tuck in he shouldn't have too much to do at the finish.
Éclair du Beaufeu ran a great race in the County Hurdle off 139, when slightly unlucky on the run in. He runs off 138 in this and he’s extremely well in versus his chase mark, where he’s rated 153. Jordan Gainford has been booked, who claims a valuable 7lbs. He should be hard to beat.
130 Haydock. Five Star Getaway 11/8 WON
Five Star Getaway comes from a good family (half brother to Three Stars and Soaring Glory) and cost a decent sum (£85,000) at the Cheltenham sales in April 2019. It could be said he was campaigned to get a mark early in his career – going off 40/1, 100/1, 150/1…- and he eventually turned a corner with the application of cash from a mark of 94 a month ago. He subsequently bolted up off 105 and goes here off 120, which still looks lenient.
520 Wolves. Act Naturally 3/1
Act Naturally is pretty well bred by Frankel out of Anipa, who was reasonable. He’s shown a reasonable level of form so far and looked to be slowly getting his act together on his final two year old start. He’s got an opening mark of 71, which looks very fair and I’m confident he’ll prove to be a fair bit better than that in time.
Two horses here with a serious chance but my selection goes confidently to Wetlands with Brian Hughes on board. This very progressive 6 year old has to date won his bumper and 2 hurdles winning very impressively last time at Newcastle. Now off 132 he has to give his only serious competitor Karl Philippe 6 pounds buy i feel he can definitely do this and win again. Have a lumpy bet on this if you are holding. 1 point win.
Storm Nelson 3.58 Carlisle 11/10 WON
Storm Nelson is making hay for Sandy Thompson winning firstly at Ayr five weeks ago then bolting up on the snaff last Sunday over course and distance. This 8-year-old is definitely stamina laden and will look to hand out another similar destruction to today's opposition. I see absolutely no reason to oppose him . 1 point win.
Tornadic 2.25 Musselburgh 9/2
A typical tricky race for Musselburgh with plenty of progressive 3-year-olds in attendance. I think i have found a solid each way selection in Tornadic for the ultra-consistent Eve Johnson Houghton. Winning his first two races convincingly he stepped up again just failing to get up by a short head at Kempton off 84. Now off 90 with assured stamina Charles Bishop will look to pounce late and bag the loot. A confident each way bet. 1/2 point each way.
Sue and Harvey Smith are in good form at present with a 25% win strike rate and 50% place. Ryan Mania has also benefited from that and after his Cheltenham win must be full of confidence. As this is only Silva Eclipse's second start over fences lots of confidence will be needed. He won on his fencing debut over 3m2f at Sedgefield in early March and only made one jumping error, he should improve for that here. His Haydock record is also excellent, having run 6 times over hurdles, winning one and placing second in 5, one of those a Class two.
3.10 CORK - IT'LL DO MY DAY E/W 9/2 WON
This neat and muscular grey colt ran in the first turf 2yo race of the season at The Curragh at 14/1 and was the only one that could keep tabs on Missing Matron the 18/1 second string of Jim Bolger. The winner stood out beforehand as different class and the selection did well to match strides for all but the last 50 yards. Mick Mulvany has a poor record of converting 2to two year old runs to wins but as Aidan and Donnacha O'Brien both have runners as well as Stack, Bolger and Harrington we may get a decent price about this one despite its good run last time out.
4.55 CORK - ZOZIMUS E/W 11/1
Trained by Donnacha O'Brien, Zozimus has been mostly running on the all weather at Dundalk where as a 2yo he won one and placed twice over 8f. He was also 2nd in a mile h'cap at The Curragh. Today after a pipe opener over 8f at Dundalk he steps up to 10f here and with bottom weight and a 5lb claimer up will hopefully improve for it. The blinkers he wore for the first time when he won are back on, having been left off for his warm up.
In quite an open race I have sided with Alright Sunshine, he has had a couple of recent hurdles runs and the eye is drawn to the excellent course figures of 4 runs and 4 wins, one being over course and distance. He is only 2 lb higher than when last scoring on the flat and should be right up there at the finish.
CASPIAN PRINCE 15:00 MUSSELBURGH 0.5PT E/W 12/1
Well into the veteran stage of his career but still retains a fair amount of talent. He has a had his regular stint at meydan not being disgraced. He is back on a winning mark. I have to admit I have a soft spot for Caspian Prince and always will have a dabble when he is running - but this time it is from the head not the heart saying he will have a great chance here today.
THE PADDY PIE 13:30 HAYDOCK 7/1
The two early market leaders are at the foot of the weights, and I will side with The Paddy Pie. He is wearing cheekpieces for the first time and has Course and distance form - Ryan Mania is booked who has a 25% strike rate over last 14 days in Chases. HE is only 2lb higher than hs last winning mark so should go close.
CASPIAN PRINCE has been running well in defeat over in Meydan this winter and is back to line up for Mick Appleby and Ali Rawlinson in this hotly contested sprint handicap. Appleby is 3/6 and Rawlinson 2/3 in this race which Caspian Prince is a previous winner. Now back down to his last winning mark and if given a too easy lead, the rest might struggle to catch the now ageing Prince.
Wolves 6.30- Martineo Win 2/1
3 from 3 course winner MARTINEO looks to have found a good opportunity to make it 4 from 4. Just 1lb higher then when winning over course and distance and 8lbs lower then highest winning mark. Finished 2nd last time out to Swiss Pride by a nose who has been in good form (121) and just over a length ahead of Sir Hector who has gone on to win last night. The form looks good, Adam Kirby on board and a good stall draw, so has a good chance.
Wolves 8.30- Pope Gregory Win 5/2
POPE GREGORY has made a good start since switching trainer, with a 2nd and a win both over course and distance from 2 starts. The win was better then it looked having travelled strongly against the rail, he then had to switch and come 4 wide coming off the bend staying on well to power home. The 3rd that day (Makambe) has since come out and won and the 2nd (Carey Street) has a good chance in an earlier race tonight to hopefully boost the form.
As the sun comes out Saturdays usually mean getting stuck into a sprint handicap, hopefully somewhere with a nice pace/draw bias. Thankfully we kick off with a course that has just that where racing prominent and being drawn middle-high are a distinct advantage. Caspian prince is the confirmed front runner but Jabbarockie wont be far away and drawn in 10 has a few horses around him who should be held up in mid division so hopefully he can get across to the rail and prime position to pick up the win. Form wise the selection had a fruitful 2019 where he was placed in 7 of 8 races including a CD win here, seeing his rating go from 78 to 94. 2020 started the same way with a win and 2nd taking his rating to 99. A few below par performances has seen this drop below his last winning mark to 93 today. The final positive form marker is the fact that Jabbarockie has run 5 times after a break of a 100+ days and has form figures of 2/2/2/2/1. So having his first run since September is definately seen as a positive.
Muss 1.50 - Marshal Dan 9/2
Onto one of the biggest pace biases in the country. The downside there's plenty in the field who like to race prominently. The selection however is drawn 2 with a hold up horse in 1. So if he can get prime position out of the stalls we'll significantly increase our chances. 7f is one of those tricky distances where you get sprinters stepping up in distance not seeing out the distance and vice versa for milers stepping down. So i do like to stick with the 7f specialists, something you can certainly mark Marshal Dan up as, having won 7 times in 19 attempts at the distance including signing off 2020 with a CD win.
Fairyhouse 5.15 - Letsbeclearaboutit 10/11
Gavin Cromwell had a Cheltenham to remember with not 1 but 2 Grade 1 winners. He has a good chance at the Easter Festival in the bumper with the selection. Unusually this will be the horses 5th run in a bumper having won 2 and finished 2nd in its other 2. Its those 2nd placed runs that are the stand out pieces of form. The last time 2nd to Champion bumper runner up Kilcruit in the grade 2 at Leopardstown (it could be argued daylight was actually 2nd) and the time before again filling the runners up berth but this time to the Champion Bumper winner and next year's Ballymore winner Sir Gerhard. Those 2 bits of form make him the clear pick to keep the Cromwell army marching on.
Goes here from a very tempting mark and dropping in class. Looked in need of his latest run and and could be capable of much better here. Has previously won from a 13lb higher mark so we give hope that first time cheekpieces can bring about a little spark and maybe a resurgence for this shrewd yard.
Pookie Pekan win only (433Carlisle) 8/1
A two times CD winner who has fallen to a very tempting mark having had a few runs that on paper look below par. Excuses can be made however from ground not right to inadequate trip so another chance is given here. Made an encouraging reappearance back in October suggesting this revised mark is a fair one to say the least. Last two wins have come over CD with similar conditions so plenty to like about this outsider.
Better Getalong win only (323 Carlisle) 18/1
Decent hurdler who was set a pretty stiff task on chase debut just 13 days ago. This looks a more realistic test and a better run can be expected. Opening mark in this sphere looks fair and despite being the outsider of the field can not be written off on what will be only a second start over fences. Yard do pretty well with their runners here with around a 24% strike rate in the last 5 years which offers further encouragement
Ran a cracker in the County Hurdle at Cheltenham a few weeks ago to not be beaten far at all in 4th Place. That, as you would expect, was a competitive handicap with the top rated horse running off a mark of 155. This will represent a slightly easier task for him and the booking of young Jordan Gainford is a big plus!
Letsbeclearaboutit 5:15 Fair 10/11
Four runs to his name and form figures of 1122, with his most recent 2nd place finish behind the highly impressive Kilcruit, who ran a great race at Cheltenham only to be denied by his stablemate Sir Gerhard. When you consider the only other horse to beat my selection was Sir Gerhard, he must have a huge chance of not running into another in this race!
Martineo 6:30 Wolv 2/1
Running well in defeat of late with second place finishes in his last two outings. The most recent defeat was only by nose and the third place has come out and won since so he must have a big chance here off only 1lb higher than last time.
Running at the same track and distance in the same grade as it’s last race where it won in good style. Has 2lb more to carry this time but looks a horse in form running with the same jockey and from the same stall as previously. Hoping as clear a run as last time.
NA 4.52 Glentrool. To Win 4/1
First handicap race for this horse after running a good 2nd in its previous race a few weeks back. It looked beaten and tired about 2f out but came back for more and pressed for the lead but just didn’t have enough to get its head in front, eventually losing by about 2 lengths but I love a battler with a lot of heart and maybe a bit of good in the ground may just bring that bit extra out of it?
W 5.55 Algheed To win 15/2
Races just once previously when a 5/2 fav and came a close 3rd in a race that looked a bit scrappy to me and had it got a better steering job, may of done better? Same jockey this time unfortunately but hopefully will get a clearer passage and with the experience of its first run out the way, could improve and hopefully take this race?
Strong runner in Doncaster nursery back in October. If he has trained on and developed I think he will show strongly again today. I would have liked the form of the last race to have been franked but early season form is often more about Winter development. The trainer- jockey combination is in excess of 20% in the last year and can see this one running well at a decent price.
SMALL PRESENT – 3.15 Haydock 5/1 WON
Improver looking for third consecutive win from a yard that specialises in the tough, long distance runners. The Smith-Mania combination is flying at the moment and this one can overcome a further 6lb hike in the weights. No obvious front runner in the field but I’m hoping this one will run up with the pace which is the right tactics for the course. Can’t see it out of the top four and hoping it will make it a third win in an open race.
MIRANN – 4.55 Cork 9/4
On a day of relatively low quality racing the third selection is unusually (for me) coming from Ireland. Mirann was an eye-catching unlucky runner in the Irish Lincoln two weeks ago and seems to be very fairly treated in today’s contest. Johnny Murtagh is a particular trainer favourite and stepping up in distance form a mile to 1m2f is a real positive. Hoping that the field size will be large enough to get some cover but small enough to get some room when it’s needed and at the prices it is a strong value bet.
Goes particular well when fresh & arrives here with a live chance of returning back into the winners enclosure since taking out a listed event on quick ground York 2019 BHA 106 beating dark shot 0.5L returned to action Newmarket quick ground last season class 2 BHA 102 after an absence 236 days ‘ when beaten just a short head behind Makanah the year before that came in this very race BHA 100 beaten 4L Saaheq, enjoys quick ground - high draw favored - selection a real 5f specialist & application of customary tongue tie applied with Ella McCain claiming a valuable 5lbs aboard, you can excuse the heavy ground on the back of a hard season, when last seen on the track Rachel Richardson was also aboard, stats poor when she’s been in the plate, no offense when last seen behind justanotherbottle when in receipt 6lbs backend last season 5lbs better off here here with that rival + the jockeys claim another 5lbs add stats when Richardson been aboard 1040000320000 ~horse goes well fresh and decent draw in 9 makes the Tim Easterby runner of strong e/w interest,.
3.35 Musselburgh ... Kings advice e/w 9/1
Application first time visor will hopefully make the difference ‘ selection 8-19 on turf Johnston runner went through a purple patch 2019 ending the campaign neck 2nd weekender Salisbury BHA 112 - 2020 nothing to write home about but still achieved a couple of decent performances behind red Verdon and Hochfeld ~ selection had a pipe opener on the a.w back in December when down the field kingswear beaten a little over 8L revised mark 97 could be lenient with Andrew Breslin claiming a valuable 5lbs off the horses back ( trainer has 5 entries ) much shorter in the betting is Johnston trained trumpet man who’s on a career high mark 97 and in my opinion looks to high in the weights especially as was racing off 76 backend last September when we’ll held behind Billy no mates.
2.20 Fairyhouse ... Elimay win bet 4/6 WON
Ran a screamer at the festival behind Colreevy recording RPR 159 beaten 0.5L clearly has the beating of market rival mount ida who was 12L adrift of the same horse Thurles however did seem to put in a much improved performance LTO when accounting for cloudy Glen at the festival 6L recording RPR 160 yet came off BHA rating 142 and on official figures looks a match between the two runners, looking at the sectional times and weight carrying performances, of the two rivals and I’m favoring the Mullins runner to continue his rise through the rankings ‘ form shown behind Allaho also makes good reading,.leading claims in what looks a match between 2 improving rivals.
This 4 year old has shown great improvement on the AW since switching to the Archie Watson yard and he can continue his upward trend back on turf. A proven winner with cut in the ground, the 7F around here should be ideal and Morris takes the ride again. 9lbs lower than his AW mark, Stone Soldier can capitalise here against some older, out of form rivals and should prove very tough to beat.
ABOUT GLORY 7:00 Wolverhampton 9/1
About Glory is back on his last winning mark and should go close back at Wolverhampton. The selection returned from a 10 month break and has looked ready to strike in his past few runs. His poor Southwell runs can he forgiven, and he found it tricky getting involved from rear in his last two runs at Chelmsford (hampered in latest run). His run in between, at this track makes him of interest, where he probably hit the front too soon and was swamped by some in form rivals close home to finish a near 3rd. Back to a mark of 49, if Edmunds can time his run better today, About Glory should get back to winning ways in what looks a winnable race.
NINE ELMS 7:30 Wolverhampton 15/8
Nine Elms has displayed good form over course and distance this year and was perhaps unlucky to finish 4th last time out. The selection was caught three wide for most the journey, running more ground than anything else in the field and did remarkably well to stay on for 4th in the circumstances. A better passage should be granted here given the smaller field and a reproduction of his prior two runs over C&D should be good enough to win what looks a weak contest.
Kevin Ryans stabke are in great form at present and with the stable sending out a nice 2YO winner yesterday for the same owners they will be looking to follow up here, Kevin Stout takes the ride and the combination has a suoerb record at this venue, His 2YO look well ahead at the moment and look worth following early season.
15.23 Carlisle 2m Handicap Chase SOME REIGN 9/1 WON
Ruth Dobbin is going great guns with her string at present and looks to have found a god opportunity here for Some Reign based on his form from last Autumn, down in grade he will find this a lot easier than his last race and with plenty of pace on here his hold up style will suit him well.
18.00 Newton Abbot 3m1f Handicap Chase GAME LINE 2/1
My NAP of the day runs here, Game Line has solid claims on recent formand gets my vote with the stabke in tremendous form, he looks a class above these and can use his proven front rank tactics to good effect, Sean Bowen rides here particularly well and get finish of hte card with a nice winner.
The selection goes for his hat trick of wins after winning in a higher grade at Newcastle last month. He hasn't been out of the frame in his four runs over hurdles to date and looks to be on the upgrade. N Richards, though having a quieter time at Carlisle this year, has been worth following with his hurdlers at this track over the last five years with a forty percent return on stakes.
FOREVER DES LONG 3.40 NEWTON ABBOT
Although slightly frustrating the selection was staying on over a slightly shorter trip last time having blundered at the last and throwing his chances away in the previous race at Ludlow. The horse behind him that day, Olympic Conqueror, has since come out and won a race at Fakenham with a bit in hand.
PARTY CENTRAL 4.40 FAIRYHOUSE WON 15/8
Sandwiched between a couple of WP Mullins horses last time out the mare was only beaten a neck after not getting the clearest of runs. She re opposes the fancied Brooklyn Glory again after beating her by over seven lengths. Not out of the first three in her three runs to date she holds an excellent chance of getting back on the winning trail.
Previous winners of this race appear to have been drawn 1-4 and have carried between 9-3lbs and 9-7lbs. There are only 2 horses that fit both criteria and of the two Marshall Dan looks like the more obvious one. He is a course and Distance winner and seems to save his best form for the Turf. I have had a look through his past form and he seems to always do well following a defeat. In fact the last 3 times he was beaten, he followed up with a victory. The going wont matter to him as he has won on soft through to Good to Firm. His win here in October in a class 2 looks good form and this drop in class should give him a great opportunity of bouncing back. I have no doubt he would be vying for favouritism if trained by someone more high profile. Given his tendency to either win or come unplaced, I suggest a win only.
Neverbeen to Paris – Haydock 3.15 ½ pt E way 16/1
The starting point for this race is to look for horses that are 6 or 7 are carrying 11-4lbs or less, are rated 122-126, have run at the track before and have won over hurdles at least 2 times. The horse that fits the bill in all of these stats is Neverbeen to Paris. The key race to look at could be the Betvictor Handicap Hurdle at Newbury on March 5th, where Regarding Ruth, Iwilldoit and the selection finished, 1st, 2nd and 6th . Our selection was given an easy time once it wasn’t going to be in the shake up, and now has a big pull in the weights with the winner. That brings us to the other key thing to look at, in that 6 horses have got apprentices riding them claiming between 3lb and 7lb, including our selection, who has Alan Doyle claiming 7lb. That could make all the difference. The final thing to note about Neverbeen To Paris is that his best recent race was at Newbury when finishing a good 3rd to Hill Sixteen and Lil Rockefeller, which was his 2nd race after a break. This is his 2nd run after a break of over 3 months, which again gives me hope of a good run for our money. There is no doubt that this is going to be very competitive but I think he is overpriced compared to the 2 that finished in front of it last time out and therefore is a reasonably confident e way seletion.
Ruaille Buaille– Fairyhouse 4.05 ½ pt E way 9/1 PLACED
A hot Irish Handicap and at first glance it looks a minefield, with a number of promising sorts running in it. However I think I may have found an angle into the race. The form of the Paddy Mullins EBF Handicap Hurdle ran at the Dublin festival looks red hot. Heaven Help Us won that race and followed up by winning the Coral Cup at Cheltenham and Tellmesomethinggirl, came third and followed up by winning the Mares novice hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. Back in 8th place that day was Ruaille Buaille carrying 11-2lbs, she has 10-12lbs today and is aided by Paul Townend, who had the choice of a number of horses for this. Although only 8th she was hampered by a faller half way round and she was right behind the leaders 2 out. She didn’t look like she stayed to me that day and a combination of better ground and back in trip to 2m will suit her. Her 2 wins have both come on good or Yielding going over 2m and I think she is a good e way play in a very competitive race.
A well handicapped selection that has won 3 times, but not since switching stables. Now back at a course that he has won at ( albeit not at this distance ) and with the jockey who has partnered the horse for all of its wins. Very well drawn to burst out and make all. The horse is already being backed and once again I hope that the price stays in double digits. Probably my pic of the day, especially backing w/o the fav at B365.
DIYARI EW - Wolv 8-00 25/1
Another well handicapped outsider ( albeit with little experience ).
The positives are :-
1) Ex Gosden Inmate.
2) Unexposed and making Wolv debut.
3) First time visor ( which I believe will make a difference to this horse )
4) The trainer is running at 80% RTF and putting his stable jockey back on board after an apprentice rode 4lb off of the handicap mark last time out.
5) Finally the price, which is massive.
A speculative tip in a poor race where anything could win / finish last.
SEAFORTH EW - Wolv 8-30 33/1
Seaforth is neither well or badly handicapped ( but he is back to his last winning handicap mark of 57 ). There are a couple of well handicapped horses in the race but they don`t come with the positives that the selection does, which include being a four time course winner, two of which were course and distance wins, along with a massive price again ( which is important to me ). The big danger is International Law who has five course wins to his name, three of which are course and distance wins. But the selections price is seven times bigger and that will do for me !
This one is on 45% places and wins in this class, in the places once out of two in Newton Abbot. Trainer and jockey on 30% at this race course. Only ride of the day for Harry Reed as far as I can see. Not far from the top RPR
Conkering Hero - 4.49 Wolverhampton - EW 20/1
An amateur's jockey race can go in plenty of ways. I looked at different options and Conkering hero has a 46% places and wins in this class, doing that once out of 3 at Wolverhampton. So the ground is OK. Mixed bag on the distance and weight could be a concern. Still in with a shout.
Runway Queen - 5.55 Wolverhampton - EW 22/1
Now a novice race, another tricky thing to consider. Looks like I am not going to go for an easy tip idol... My attention has been brought to Runway Queen. No great results so far but a move to handicap anda trainer on 43% and a jockey on 27% at Wolverhampton could be the recipe for it to do well.
Trained by Roger Varian,who has an excellent course record,with 10 wins and 9 places from 30 runners in the last 12 months. He is also in good recent form with two winners from six runners in the last 14 days. On board is 5lb claimer Cameron Noble,who has a top strike rate for the yard. Four wins and 3 places from only 11 rides. This 3 year old Konica filly has just one run ,winning a 6 furlong Novice event at Redcar in June. Held up and stayed on to lead from a furlong out. Form of that race has worked out well with three of the seven runners having won since. Improving type who should go on to better things.
3.35 Musselburgh. CARDANO. each way. 9/1
Trained by Ian Williams and ridden by the in form Hollie Doyle. Has won both races this year,both on the all weather at Lingfield over 1 mile 4furlongs. Stayed on well on both occasions. This is the first attempt at a longer distance but from previous runs looks capable of seeing out the trip. Has two wins and a place from four runs in Class 2 races. Fitted with cheek pieces again. Has four wins and three placed efforts from 9 runs with the headgear.
2.40 Haydock. CHECKITOUT. each way. 7/1
Trained by Nigel Twiston Davies and ridden by son Sam. Moved yards from Charlie Longsdon after wind surgery, and has had 6 runs(all chases) for current connections. Two wins and a place from those six outings. Has a win in Class 2 from two runs at this level. Goes well in the predicted going. Won last two races,including last time out at Ludlow. Won that race with ease by a 7 length margin. Looks a horse who will continue to improve over the larger obstacles.
Three wins and four seconds in a nine-race career for Sexy Lot who is a consistent and progressive handicapper. She scored easily scored at Sandown (2m4f) in first-time cheekpieces last month. (12th March) and although having gone up 8 lb in the handicap still holds a serious chance of winning for the fourth time this season.
1.30 Haydock Five Star Getaway 1 point win 11/8 WON
Christian Williams appears to have a pretty decent gelding with the lightly raced Five Star Getaway has shot up in the weights significantly but has had plenty in hand the last twice and can land the hat-trick here. He was successful at Sandown just before Cheltenham and prior to that had won at Wincanton.
2.40 Haydock Crossley Tender 0.5 points ew 8/1
Trainer Paul Henderson has a very consistent horse with the eight year old Crossley Tender who has not been out of the first three in his last six races and has quite a remarkable record overall with being placed 9 times from 13 races over the bigger obstacles. He was 2nd last time out in a much longer race than this but he has won over this distance before and I feel certain he can be thereabouts again in what is a highly competitive race.
Withdrawn from an engagement at Newbury last weekend due to the soft ground. Ran a blinder in the Greatwood Gold Cup at that venue last month on his latest start following a 99 day break, holding every chance jumping the last before tiring on the run to the line. Dropped 1lb since, this course & distance winner (shouldered a similar weight to victory here in May 2019) should have conditions to suit today and could take some pegging back.
WESTERN CLIMATE - 4:25 Haydock 9/1
Will be suited by a return to racing against veterans today having ran well to a point in a more competitive handicap over further when last seen at Warwick 20 days ago. Drying ground shouldn't be a concern (has won in all conditions) and showed 3 starts back that he's no back number just yet.
ACT OF MAGIC - 7:00 Wolverhampton 9/4
3 progressive runs this year, the latest a win when ridden prominently over course & distance 3 weeks ago under today's jockey, holding on well having hit the front 2f out. Prior to that he had run well in 4th behind the prolific Khatm when given a different ride (held up) over a mile. Up just 2lb today, the selection should be well placed to take advantage of the relative lack of pace in the race if adopting similar tactics to last time.
Both of Christian Williams’ runners here look well treated, so it’s interesting that stable jockey Jack Tudor takes the ride on Defuture Is Bright. He’s a progressive horse, whereas most in the field haven’t got much improvement left and his record of 2/4 over fences hints that there could be plenty more to come. Defuture Is Bright looks particularly well treated based on a 2lb rise for his last time out win. He was seriously hampered on the final circuit but recouped upwards of 10 lengths on the runaway leader to win with plenty to spare. Such a feat would be impressive enough in itself but when you consider it took place at Fakenham, where it’s notoriously hard to do make up any ground at all, it’s deserves further upgrade and there should be plenty of scope left in his handicap mark.
1500 Musselburgh - Jabbarockie (1pt win) 11/2 WON
A high draw and travelling up with the pace is key on the straight track at Musselburgh with the stalls towards the stands side, partly due to the kink in the rail itself. Jabbarockie fits the bill in that regard, but also has fantastic form fresh (2221 on seasonal reappearance). He features on a competitive mark, just 1lb higher than when winning on his return last year and looks sure to go well.
1611 Musselburgh - Primo’s Comet (1pt win) 9/2
Comes here 8lb lower than last turf run, which was also over C&D, following some below par runs on the all weather. Primo’s Comet followed an identical path to this last season in lowering his mark on the AW before winning on turf return at Musselburgh. Course and distance form of 71621273 reads well, especially when considering that a lot of those races were of higher quality than this opposition. As mentioned earlier, a high draw is ideal and the jockey booking of Hollie Doyle catches the eye given the trainer has three runners in the race.
Christian Williams snared a decent pot with a handicap chaser at Kelso last week and the feat can be repeated with this son of Getaway. A lightly raced 7 year old having just his fourth start over fences, the money was landed at Wincanton last month with Five Star Getaway winning by 6 lengths from Baignard proving good ground and a flat track is not a problem. He followed up in a class 3 handicap chase at Sandown thumping Golden Whisky by 5 ½ lengths on soft ground with a decent amount in hand. He was given a RPR of 129 that day and runs off an OR of 120 today. Jack Tudor takes off 3lbs meaning he runs off 117. A feature of Five Star Getaway is his cruising speed and accurate jumping, essential features for Haydock and I expect a big run from him today.
0.5pts each way – DEFUTURE IS BRIGHT, 240 Haydock 4/1 PLACED
The Williams/Tudor partnership can strike again with this son of Westerner. I suspect connections have targeted this race and Haydock will play to his strengths as he is a big galloping type. He has only gone up 2lbs for his latest win at Fakenham (recorded a RPR of 115, he runs off 109 today) as he was nearly brought to a standstill by a faller but still won. He races off bottom weight and connections have previously campaigned Cap du Nord at similar events. He should go close and looks rock solid each-way material.
0.5pts each-way – ASHTOWN LAD, 315 Haydock 9/1 NR
Harry Skelton can notch up another win in his Jockeys Championship duel with Brian Hughes by landing this class 2 handicap hurdler on this 7 year old. After racking up victories at Wetherby and Uttoxeter this lad went off 6-4 favourite for a Grade 2 novice hurdle at Cheltenham but disappointed in finishing 5th with Skelton reporting the gelding failed to pick up. He subsequently flopped when pulled up in the River Don at Doncaster. I thought the ground that day was horrid clingy ground which a lot including this lad couldn’t handle. It may well have been e case but it was also reported Ashtown Lad had blood in his trachea. Freshened up with a 2 month break and a wind operation and back on better ground, this lad runs off a mark of 135. He achieved a RPR of 136 when winning at Uttoxeter giving hope he can handle the mark while his trainer Dan Skelton has saddled 16 winners from 58 runners in the last 14 days. I’m hopeful of a decent run.
Week 2 – Saturday 27th March
Bit speculative here with a first ever runner for sire Ardad but I was expecting him to be favourite purely on Richard Fahey's stats for first time out runners, particularly in the Brocklesby. I would sooner have Tony Hamilton on a 2yo than Flanagan but hopefully all he has to do is steer. The two being backed are for Boughey and Channon. Mick Channon has not had a fto 2yo winner before June in the last couple of years and although he did win this in 2018, I'm happy to stick with Richard Fahey's runner. George Boughey only seems to have had one 2yo career 2yo debut winner and that was in September.
2.00 DONCASTER - FATHER OF JAZZ Win 7/1
On what seems a very difficult day for tipping I am relying on Roger Varian's ability to improve a well bred son of Kingman. Hopefully he will be able to use the early speed demonstrated in his three wins over 10f in this drop back to 8f. Varian has excellent course stats and Callum Shepherd has ridden FoJ to all his wins.
3.10 DONCASTER - DANYAH E/W 8/1 PLACED
Trained by Owen Burrows who has a good record at Doncaster, Danyah has won off breaks of more than 90 days on both occasions he has tried it so the 182 days off combined with the trainers stats should not be a problem. Ground conditions appear immaterial so if Doncaster gets some more rain it should not be a hindrance. Centre draw is fine as long as the ground remains good. It would also be a good story for a Sheikh Hamdan horse to win in the week of his death.
Haqeeqy is a relatively short price but also has an awful lot going for him. He looked really progressive at 3, bar for one blowout at the July course, where I assume something was amiss. John and Thady Gosden have booked their stable apprentice and potential star Benoit de la Sayette, who gets a valuable 7lbs. I’d fancy Haqeeqy even without that booking, but it certainly helps. There isn’t an awful lot of pace on, but that shouldn’t be a problem as Haqeeqy has looked a quick horse (backed up by sectionals) – I expect he’ll be held up for a late run and he should go really well.
240 Meydan. Yaupon 7/2
Yaupon went off 6/4 favourite in the Breeders Cup Sprint, following a string of impressive wins. He missed the break in the Breeders Cup and never landed a blow, but he was inexperienced and that run can be easily forgiven. He’s well drawn to attack in stall 2 and if he can get away on terms he should go extremely well. One slight downside is he’s never run a top class Beyer figure, but he is progressing and this race isn’t as hot as the big US sprints, so he probably won’t need to run a big figure to win.
345 Doncaster. Mr Lupton ew 13/2
Brando, who is certainly classy and has some top class form in the book, looks a favourite to take on, as the Abernant is his likely early season target. Mr Lupton, although 8, makes plenty of appeal at the prices. He tends to run better in the first half of the season and has form figs of 122 at the course. The Fahey yard often do well at this meeting and are in good form. He looks a decent ew bet.
Had shaped very well in a couple of strong looking races before finally getting back to winning ways in a big field handicap at York when last seen. Has gone well fresh in the past so reassurance can be taken that he will come here ready to roll first time. Versatile with regards to conditions and trip is ideal, strong draw based on recent renewals and plenty to like from this overpriced selection.
Doncaster 235 Spring Mile Handicap Mascat (1pt win only) 10/1
Ended last term with a couple of solid performances and comes here making seasonal debut having been gelded and could have more to offer. Has a couple of decent form line runs under his belt from last term and possibly the pick of all the 2 year old form on offer. This trip looks to be where he is most comfortable and he will certainly be staying on late to go close given the pace in the race. Still unexposed over this trip which could have him well treated too.
Wolverhampton 425 Arthurs Angel (1pt win only) 11/4
One from the tracker who is worth another try following a fine run in third at Lingfield last time out. That race has worked out very well since and this one has been given a little time to come on for that.
Right here we go with Doncaster's annual cavalry charge. Haqeeqy looks to have an good chance. This 4 year old gelding looks a classic John Gosden group horse masquerading as a handicapper.His last race also at Doncaster was impressive off 92 winning easily from Cold Front. Gosden puts his stable apprentice up Benoit D L Sayette who claims an invaluable 7lbs . This is a fairly confident enough win selection in a very difficult race. 1 point win.
Lord Glitters 3.30 Meydan 7/2
This selection picks himself in my opinion. Lord Glitters i salute you. One of our outstanding exports to run here having already won 3 times over course and distance this season. There is no reason why he cannot win today and add another to his super career record. Well drawn to attack when Tudhope presses the button he will look to come there with a double handful and win the prize for connections. Well worth the one point win.
Walton Street 4.10 Meydan 9/1
Another tricky race now but i feel i have chosen a solid each way selection from the Godolphin Team . This improving 7 year old won really nicely over the course and distance last time out beating 3 others from the same ownership. This gelding is the choice of Will Buick and i feel he is a great each way punt. Well drawn in gate 5 i expect a positive ride and hopefully a win. 1/2 point each way.
My selections are driven by my own race ratings system which considers a number of variables relating to form, conditions and relative merits versus other runners in the race – with an “eye test” to turn shortlists into selections. This one is very much ratings driven. It has been running in both hurdle and chase races in recent times but many of these have been at Class 1 level and in some strong company. This race looks like some good placing and even though top weight, is running from an OR only two higher then its top winning mark – a much better level than most of the others in the race. Course and distance win will help and in a race with many exposed horses I think that it is a value bet at the prices.
ACROSS THE LINE - 2.40 Kelso 9/4
Handicap debutant running from the Skelton team with Harry in particular firing in winners with some confident rides. Coming form novice company is often a positive at this time of year and I can disregard a couple of others in the race who are hardened handicappers but have maybe been put under the grip of the handicapper. On the ratings form, speed, conditions and the TJ team all score well and this is a worthy favourite for me. However still a value bet at the time of writing at least – hopefully not too many others will have found it by the morning prices.
OUZO (Each Way) – 3.10 Doncaster 22/1
Early season flat form is of course a bit of a lottery – are all weather runs going to sharpen up horses fitness for their first run? Will horses have trained on? Will they be ready first time out? And that’s before you put them into a 22 runner handicap. However there are some pointers which may help to unpick this one. First the draw, or more particularly the draw and the pace. I would be looking for a draw close enough to either rail so can happily rule out some of the middle drawn runners. Then where is the likely pace? Here I think the high numbers will be the pace setters with the likes of Born To Be Alive and, in particular, Dashing Roger likely to set a fast pace. I would then be looking at a runner that can race prominently off a strong pace. The ground will be quicker than for several years and good ground form is another major plus. I would also look for winning form over the distance and running at an age that does not exceed 7. Step forward Ouzo. 5 year old, 2/3 on good ground, 2/4 over a mile. Drawn 16, so close enough to the pace of the pace to hang off them and pick up the pieces. No course form but has won at Newmarket, a similar galloping track. Added to all of this in the ratings system it ranks very highly and this becomes a bet for me. Not quite brave enough to put it up as a win bet – but the time of year has an effect on that.
Mr Harp has some very strong recent form in the book and he looks a good price in this race. He drops into this handicap race having run in a Grade 2 Novice race last time, where he finished a clear 2nd behind one who went to run respectably at Cheltenham last week. The race before he finished 2nd behind Imperial Alcazar, who went off favourite for The Pertemps at Cheltenham, and beat Come On Teddy (3rd in Pertemps) and Saint Delina (Winner last Saturday), who have both boosted that form since.
Brentford Hope 3:10 Doncaster 9/1 NR
A lot has been thought of this horse and it would be fair to say that better has been expected than he had been showing on track last year. After easily winning a Newmarket maiden on his debut he was stepped up on trip, but it was only when he was dropped down to a mile on his fifth start that he managed to get his head back in front. It was heavy ground that day but there is hope that the improvement was due to the trip rather than the ground (he has only tried good ground once before and that looked a decent novice race).
Rose Of Ardcadia 3:25 Newbury 10/3
This mare won here only point to point start and was promptly purchased by Cheveley Park and moved to Colin Tizzard’s yard. She then won here sole NHF start with the minimum of fuss. It took three hurdles starts to record a win, although she was a good 2nd place before making the breakthrough last time out. It looked like the step up in trip was the key, and I fully expect this one to improve further. The form of her win last time had been strongly franked with the 2nd place horse winning both starts since and the 3rd place winning her only start since too! Based on that the mark of 120 looks very exploitable with bundles of improvement still likely.
The lottery that is the Lincoln! There are some compelling trends over the last 17 years that narrow down the field. I had a couple of speculative e/w bets at big odds before the declarations, unfortunately they are all non runners. SO looking at this race again I cant get away from the current favorite who has lot in his favour. The fact he has a very very useful jockey who takes 7 lbs off is a huge plus. I have followed Benoit D L Sayettes fledgling career since a very eye catching ride at Kempton back in January. Haqeeqy's record speaks for itself winning 3 from 5, one being last time out over Course. It is slightly worrying that the only time he has raced over 1mile he finished last of 10 - but I am overlooking this as he bounced back next time out.
ALIOMAANA 17:00 WOLVERHAMPTON 9/4
Aliomaana went into my tracker after her first race at Kempton (7f) in November. Starting from the widest draw she was carried even further out by another horse, she quickly settled at the rear and was last of 12 at the 3f pole, when she made eye catching progress to finish 4l 5th, with that run under her belt a big run is expected.
CLAUD AND GOLDIE 13:35 KELSO 6/1
In a tight looking race Claud and Goldie looks to have the best chance. The course form is solid with 6 course runs yielding 3 wins and 3 places. R P McLernon has ridden him 7 times with 3 wins and 2 places.Claud and Goldie also had vintage clouds behind in third over last months course and distance win. All solid form and should be right up there at the finish.
The Flat is back, stand by for at least a month of hearing about how one code is better than the other. Meanwhile I’ll just sit back and enjoy both. Kicking off with a nice Big Cavalry Charge on Town Moor. Some strong trends around Age, Weight and Form over 1m+ reduce the field significantly reduce the field however it includes all of the major players. There were 2 standouts for me who both have pretty similar form on a line through Alternative Fact. Namely Danyah and Ouzo. The latter went off fav in the Silver Hunt Cup at the Royal Meeting but looked workmanlike at best in his win at York whereas Danyah’s performance at Haydock over some pretty decent yardsticks looked like there was plenty left in the tank as the front two were going further clear at the line. Throw in the fact he’s only ever raced twice on ground better than soft and won both times gives me plenty of confidence he’ll at least make the frame. Drawn 9 in the middle of the course Kieron Shoemark can pick which side he wants to come up and he should get a good tow into the race from the front running Johan drawn 2 stalls outside him. A win would also make a very poignant return of the flat given he is owned by the late Hamdan al Maktoum.
2.20 Newbury – Valadom 0.5pt each way PLACED 9/1
Backing top weights in 3m Handicap Chases wouldn’t normally be my cup of tea. However I’ll make an exception here. Valadom produced an eye catching performance at the same track last time where he made the running and jumping like a buck didn’t see another horse for the next 3 mile. Unfortunately for those who backed him (yes that includes me) the race was over 3m 2f and though most of his rivals were beaten off before they even reached the cross fence the eye was always drawn to Sir Ivan in behind who pounced at the last but to Valadom’s credit he didn’t go down without a fight and was only beaten a length and a half with most of the others spread out all over Berkshire. The only confirmed front runner in the field he may well get his own way out in front again and it would be no surprise to see a few of these off the bit down the back straight if he jumps with the same zest as last time only this time he won’t find one too good.
1.35 Kelso – Dandy Dan 1pt win 11/2
Another long distance handicap chase and another top weight tipped, what next UK horses winning at Cheltenham!!!! Originally the eye was immediately drawn to Claud and Goldie who a few shrewdies will no doubt be following his stamina laden success here last time. My eye’s widened when I saw a Kim Bailey runner at Kelso that can’t happen too often. Surely enough just the 10 runners here over he last 5 years and 2 of those were this very horse who finished 1st and 2nd on his previous visits. His form over further than 3 mile reads 3,1,2,U,2 so certainly none too shabby over a stamina test. Another who prefers to bowl along in front and he’ll certainly have a willing partner for that in David Bass who has won on him 3 times in 7 chases. With a couple of the others in the field usually flattering to deceive it may well pay to stick with someone who has been placed in 7 of his 9 chases (one of the other 2 was a G3 at Cheltenham) so is a consistent sort who won’t mind the top of the ground going having won twice on similar.
C Appleby has won this race twice in the past four runnings and James Doyle has won the last two. The selection won comfortably at Meydan last month over a slightly longer distance. His weight fits snugly now in between 9-0 and 9-4, the winning weight of eight of the previous nine winners. With four-year-olds winning the last four runnings I'm very confident of a decent run.
VINTAGE CLARETS 1.25 DONCASTER 4/1
Eight of the previous nine winners of this race were priced at 7/1 or less so the market is a good guide to this the opening race of the flat season. R Fahey has won this race twice in the last three runnings with a third-place sandwiched between them so I believe we can expect a bold show from this son of Ardad colt.
PILLAR OF HOPE 1.15 KEMPTON 9/4
M Johnston won the last running of this race and his representative here beat a long odds-on shot at Newcastle last time out. Another of his horses beat OTYRAR at Wolverhampton last time so he should have the measure of him. Although the selection carries a penalty for his win he won going away so I'm hoping that he's going to progress even more for that run.
Back in to Listed grade Montatham can get back to winning ways, his final race last year over 1m1f in a Class 2 Handicap did not go his way, the extra furlong that day and the weight concession seemed to be his downfall, so back to a mile and carry level weight, he should be contesting all the Class 1 races at 1 mile this year and he always runs well first time up.
14.35 Doncaster Spring Cup ACQUITTED 1pt Win Bet 5/1
Just missing the cut for the Lincoln and being one of those who would have been fancied to win, this looks a good opportunity for Acquitted, H Palmer normally does well with his early starters and has a good record in March, Acquitted has run well on all his first time out starts and should be very fit for this and looks to be one who will step up in grade in time, drawn well in 19 and abke to sit handy should be a real positive and a big run is expected.
15.10 Doncaster LINCOLN HANDICAP DANYAH 0.50pt EW 8/1 PLACED
Danyah is one of my horses to follow for this turf flat season, had a terrific season as a 3YO with 2 wins and 2 places from his 4 runs and looks like he could be a better 4YO and I am looking forward to following this horse this year, he should be stepping up in grade soon but this could be a huge stepping stone for him, everything to me looks ready for a huge run today, drawn nicely in stall 9 were he can track the fast pace and pounce late on, always looks very fit first time up and the ground will be perfect for him as he goes on all types which shows that thus is a class horse.
A tentative selection as the horse is better know as a 7F runner. Having said that he won going away LTO at this track in September and the going is forecast to be ideal for him.He has won at the weight and a flat, galloping track suits him to a tee. He's run held up the last twice and this combined with a medium draw is a good omen in the context of this race.
DHUSHAN 16:20 Doncaster 1pt 2/1
An impressive 2nd over 8F last september, staying on strongly so this step up in trip should suit. Dropping 3 classes from that run and W Haggas has good course form and a good record with distance changes. I'm not sure where the pace is going to come from but, if there is something to aim at, last time's hold up style should be successful here.
SPIRIT OF ROWDOWN 16:25 Wolverhampton 1pt WON 17/2
3 time winner in class 6 company last year (twice here). Hasn't been doing as well in class 5s this year so this drop back in class is a positive.40% strike rate at the distance and has won at this weight before. Charlie Bennett seems to bring out the best in the horse with 3 wins and 2 places from 7 runs. Runs best on a left hand track and if he hits his 2020 from at the class should outrun his odds.
22 runners in a cavalry charge may not be everyone’s choice of a race to have a bet on, but it does gives us chance to try to find a nice each way selection. In recent years you are looking for a potential Group horse that is lurking on a decent weight who the handicapper hasn’t yet caught up with. Therefore its not surprising that in recent years, 4 year olds are the ones to concentrate on. In an ideal world the horse should be carrying between 9-0 and 9-4, has won over a mile before and only won between 2-4 times. Although the favourite seems to fit most of these trends, and seems to be improving, but so does my selection. Danyah has won first time out in both it’s 2 and 3 year old Campaign, and is a course winner. He has a very shroud trainer, who is selective with his entries, so is sure to be ready to do itself justice and represents good each way value at the current prices.
Rose Of Arcadia – Newbury 3.25 1 pt Win 10/3
Rose of Arcadia is a 6 year old, improving mare who is carrying less than 11-3lb, has won between 1-2 times and had a top 3 finish last time out. That fits closely to the profile of previous winning horses in this contest. I think that she will be backed prior to the race so I will put her up as a win only. Colin Tizzard’s horses ran quite well at Cheltenham and tend to improve this time of year on the run up to Aintree. Rose of Arcadia improved for the step up in trip last time out and having looked at that race in depth the horses that finished behind her have all ran well next time out.
Emaraaty Ana – Doncaster 3.45 1pt win 8/1
Emaraaty Ana seems to always go well fresh and has been tested at the highest level, when running in the 2018 Middle park stakes and the 2019 2,000 guineas stakes. He also ran in the Grade 1 Grimthorpe over 5F on his latest start, so the trainer clearly thinks he has a lot of ability. His official rating dropped from 104 to 100 for that run, but isn’t a 5 furlong horse in my opinion. Kevin Ryan likes this race and has had 4 placed horses in it before, so you can be sure that the horse will be primed to run a good race. As far as trends go, Emaraaty Ana fits most of the important ones as he is a 5 year old who has won over 6f but has had less than 5 wins. I thinks his odds will contract , so I advise a win bet.
My selection here has had just two runs for trainer N. W. Alexander and finished 2nd in both of them. The gelding now goes handicapping for the first time and seems to have a very reasonable opening mark. He is also stepped up in trip and that should be very much to his advantage. To be honest it looks to be a two-horse race between my selection and Leostar and the latter should help Blazing Port go off at a workable price.
1.35 Kelso Dandy Dan 1 point win 5/1
Trainer Kim Bailey sends Dandy Dan a pretty long way to compete in this race and it could well pay off. When last seen out, Cheltenham in November, he was last of ten but he wouldn’t have been racing there if he wasn’t held in some regard. Before that, he was 2nd at Sedgefield over slightly longer than he gets here. But he has won over this C/D and at a decent enough price gets the nod to resume winning ways.
3.10 Doncasster Kynren 0.5 points ew 25/1
The lottery that is the Lincoln and in all honesty, why would any serious punter back in this? Most horses haven’t run for ages and their fitness has to be taken on trust. I’ve managed to narrow it down to the David Barron trained Kynren, David O’Meara’s Orbaan, Michael Dods’ Brunch and the Richard Hughes trained Brentford Hope. Kynren is a frustrating character. He undoubtedly has the ability to win this. He finished 5th over this course and distance in November in what was overall a disappointing season for him last time around. Orbaan has the ability but often flatters to deceive. He could win but with his trainer also having another runner in the race I’ve decided to leave him alone. I’m absolutely convinced that Brunch will be thereabouts and at 12/1 he makes plenty of appeal and cannot be ruled out and I wouldn’t put anyone off backing him. Brentford Hope worries me and I would have a saver on him if playing in this race. Dropped to a mile in his last race he bolted up at Haydock. The one big negative about him is that he has Jamie Spencer on board and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him come late but just fail to get up. At the price, I think we have a great chance of at least getting Kynren in the places and at around 22/1 he’ll do for me.
Handles the ground and will relish this trip. MASCAT placed in two very good handicaps last season and looked to be a horse on an upward curve. Today’s jockey booking is a real positive and the trainer does well he at the track. This is MASCATS first run of the season and with condition to suits, won’t be too far away.
ACENSION (e/w) Doncaster 15:10 16/1
The selection is likely to run prominently throughout the race. Has form figures of 1132 since being gelded last season and the trainer does well here with his horses. 4 year old horses also have a great record in this race. ACENSION ticks a lot of boxes and won’t be too far away at the winning post.
LEROY LEROY (e/w) Doncaster 16:55 WON 8/1
Positive jockey booking in Rhys Clutterbuck who is claiming 3lb today in this Aprentice handicap. The jockey has won 2/8 rides in past 14 days. The selection is well treated and has previously raced well when fresh. Handles condition and has form over this trip and race conditions. A good run is expected.
I dont usually like to go with short price horses in big field handicaps, but I was very impressed with HAQEEQY's win back here in September. That was over 7f but Haqeeqy was slow away that day and ridden most of the trip, but still managed to win going away, so I cant see the step up in trip being a problem, and with the very impressive claimer Benoit Sayatte taking 7lbs off, also means Haqeeqy is only running 1lb higher from that win.
6.00 Wolves- Gold Coast 6/1
The lightly raced maiden GOLD COAST finished 2nd of10 over course and distance last time out staying on well, and with Laura Pearson booked to ride this time claiming 5lbs means Gold Coast is 4lbs lower from that run. Stall 11 is not ideal, but Gold Coast broke well from stall 9 last time finding himself in a good position just behind the front 3 or 4, I expect Laura Pearson to do the same, and go onto to win this.
7.00 Wolves- Spurofthemoment WON 11/4
SPUROFTHEMOMENT was a beaten 3rd by a neck to (Smokey) 1st and (Capla Spirt) 2nd last time out over 5f at Lingfield, both have gone onto win since aswell as the horse back in 4th (Hey Ho Lets Go), so the form looks fairly decent. The selection also beat market rival Shamson 2 starts back (5f Lingfield) and dont see Shamson reversing the form.
Bit of a lottery really due to the amount of runners but I’ve plumped for this one mainly based on how many times he fits the trends of previous winners. Also good to see he’s at a distance he seems to prefer. Good jockey who isn’t afraid to takes risks and finally, in a stall that’s been favorable in this race a couple of times before I believe
W 7.30 E/W Spring Romance 20/1 PLACED
Hardly a world beater but took my eye previously when forced to run wide but was still going strong at the end. Been placed 5 out of 8 times at the track and has won 6 times on Standard going. Lastly, has won 8 times in its career over this distance.
K 5.05 EW Foresee 20/1 PLACED PLACED
Likes the distance, having won 4 times and been placed 9 times. The other stat attracting me to this horse was its strike rate in class 6 races. In its past 7 races in class 6 its record is 1/1/2/1/1/3/3. A bit concerned it prefers left handed courses but we shall see?
A wide open race as to be expected, but those at the head of the market are too short for me and can’t be considered a bet. Orbaan may be 6 but remains unexposed after 14 runs and his run style of being held up suggests a big field scenario (only granted three times since joining O’Meara) will bring out his best. The first saw a very comfortable win (second, third and sixth all won shortly after). The second a fantastic run against a strong pace bias where all of those around him have won or placed since and is arguably the strongest handicap form from last season. He was poorly positioned at Ascot in the third big field race when it paid to be racing along the stands rails and wasn’t knocked about once it was evident he had little chance. The big field, straight mile should suit down to the ground and I expect to see Orbaan travel strongly before getting involved late in the day granted a strong pace to aim at (Revich and Dashing Roger expected to provide that scenario for those drawn higher). To top it off, O’Meara is on record as saying he was bought to be their Lincoln horse last year before COVID struck.
1435 Doncaster - Overwrite (0.5 pt ew) 12/1
Plenty of these arrive with seemingly upward trajectories but come with doubts attached regarding ground, trip and ability to handle a variety of underfoot conditions given the uncertainty. In addition, many of the more likely contenders have achieved their mark bossing smaller fields and lesser horses which brings a doubt as to whether a big field and strong gallop will see them to best effect. One horse with no such worries is Overwrite. Overwrite thrived in a similar big field scenario when putting up an incredible effort at Royal Ascot last year, finishing 6/22 but faring much the best of those up with the pace. Three of those that beat him that day rate 12-15lbs higher now (Overwrite is 4lbs higher). The rest of the season was hit and miss but I think a well run mile are his ideal conditions and results suffered from not seeing out races over further. He confirmed that a straight mile are his optimum conditions at Newbury in August, first past the post but later demoted to Tempus who followed up and went off a strong favourite for the Cambridgeshire. The final two runs last year were slightly disappointing but he may have been in need of a break after a long season and returns from a lower mark as a result. The straight mile and strong gallop looks ideal for Overwrite, I’d expect Mark Johnston to have him straight enough on his reappearance and he looks the most solid play.
1420 Newbury - Orchardstown Cross (1pt win) 15/2
My final selection comes in a conditional jockey’s, veterans chase where it can pay to side with the more experienced jockeys and younger horses within the veteran bracket. Orchardstown Cross has only had 12 career starts so could feasibly still be improving, whereas the vast majority of the field find themselves on lofty marks following recent wins which will make it tough to follow up. Orchardstown Cross opened his season at Exeter, running a gallant third from off the pace when the two placed ahead of him were up with the pace throughout. If the pace bias wasn’t enough to warrant a mark up, the fourth, sixth, ninth and twelfth have all won convincingly since. OC couldn’t back that performance up at Newbury against stiffer competition that were thrown in with the benefit of hindsight, but returned with a much better run over Christmas at Newbury again. Held up off the pace as usual, he made eye catching progress through the field when it suited to be handier. He comes here 4lb lower than that run due to a sub standard display in a small field at Plumpton which was never likely to suit his style of running. Back to a bigger field and more galloping track, I’m hoping to see Orchardstown Cross take advantage of the marked drop in class compared to previous runs.
This horse is by far the best handicapped in this race and on an upward curve. Only raised 3lb for its latest win ( probably because it was a messy race at Southwell ) I just hope the price holds out and remains at double digits. Rain is forecast from Saturday morning at Newbury and I am hoping the ground will be on the soft side. Almost advised a win, but at the forecast price EW is the way to go.
BRUNCH EW - Doncaster 3-10 16/1 PLACED
Let me start off by saying that this horse is not well handicapped ! Having said that, Michael Dods sends just the one runner, which is unusual for him. Has won after a break before and is a sporting ew bet. He fits most of the other trends and is one of 4 that I could have picked at a price, Kynren was close to being my pick. He does have a couple of possible group horses to beat in Haqueeqy and Eastern World but I will not tip short priced horses.
MUTAMADED EW - Doncaster 4-55 28/1
Now, this is a well handicapped horse ! Distance winner x 3 and the ground will not be a problem. He has spent the last year tumbling down the weights ( now 14lb lower than six runs ago ). There are a couple of negatives, 1) Apprentice Race 2) Never ran at Doncaster before ? I realise that they are all apprentice jockeys ( fair enough ) but I don`t understand why Ruth Carr has never ran this horse here at Doncaster ( my home course ). I hope it`s not because he prefers a Rt hand course ( has 3 wins at Ripon ) This is my bet of the day and I will be putting him in my ew L15
Ran a blinder in the Greatwood Gold Cup here earlier this month on his latest start following a 99 day break, holding every chance jumping the last before tiring on the run to the line. Dropped 1lb since, this fluent jumper could take some pegging back on ground that will suit in this less competitive race.
OUZO - 3:10 Doncaster (EW) 22/1
Was finally rewarded for some good efforts in 2020 when winning a 20 runner Class 2 handicap at York on his final start, holding on tenaciously having hit the front 3f out. No concerns ground wise and has run well on his seasonal debut. Prior to his last start the selection had tended to be held up in his races but being ridden positively from the front worked out well last time and a similar approach could see him go close. Sean Levey renews his association in the saddle (3 wins and a 2nd from 5 rides) and a high draw could be an advantage on the drying ground (drawn 16 of 22).
MONTATHAM - 2:00 Doncaster 7/2
Was an excellent 2nd in the Royal Hunt Cup last season when just touched off by Dark Vision. Gained his revenge over that rival next time at Sandown and followed that run with another gutsy handicap win at the York Ebor Festival. Drawn on the wrong side on his final start in The Cambridgeshire and can therefore be forgiven that run. Consistent & progressive last season and goes well fresh (won on seasonal debut last 2 years). Drying ground won't be a concern.
Danyah looks the value call here against the two at the head of the market and after just 7 career starts, this improving 4 year old should be capable of more off this mark of 98. A decisive winner at this track on his reappearance last year, after what looked a steep rise the weights he ran well in two subsequent races, staying on well into 3rd on bad ground over 7f at Newbury and then unlucky in running when again coming 3rd at Ripon at his first attempt at a mile. He proved he was still on the upgrade with a convincing win on his next start at Haydock, travelling powerfully and lengthening well once in the lead to win going away. He’s only 5lb higher here following that success and is unexposed over this trip. A proven winner when fresh, Danyah can continue his improvement here.
FRENCH MINSTREL 5:05 Kempton WON 7/2
This lightly raced 4 year old showed a clear liking for the step up to 12f last time out and off just 1lb higher here, he should have every chance of making it back to back victories. The selection needed a few reminders last time and was forced wide into the final bend, however once the penny dropped he stayed on strongly to just get up close home. He should learn plenty from that and the longer straight at Kempton will help. Looks to have a strong chance against some exposed rivals.
SHOOT TO KILL 7:30 Wolverhampton 11/2
This 4yo gained his second career win last time out after stepping up to 6F and there should be more to come over this distance. The son of Dandy Man has showed glimpses of ability in his career to date, however perhaps the step up to 6F could be the making of him, and from just 2lb higher and the inside draw he is fancied to make it back to back wins and start showing his true potential.
Already finished well ahead of the current favourite when comfortably accounting for cold front 1.5L over 7f here backend last season,. Always traveling well within himself and once given the office scooted clear inside the final furlong in the manor of an improving sort,. That victory came off BHA mark 92 8lbs rise in the weights will make life difficult, however they’ve employed the highly talented 7lbs claimer Benoit de la sayette ~ comes from a proper racing family and reminds myself of William Buick which is high praise indeed,. wonderful judge of pace, stylish and a future champion jockey ‘ who went into my notebook back in January as a future champion jockey with his ride aboard Hint of stars for the Foy yard,. I’m also convinced the lads been held back so connections can make good use of that 7lbs claim. Doncaster 7f form when ahead of cold front with the Charlie appleby 13L adrift and the further they went the easier the horse went, connections of eastern world could not explain the poor run ! Winner LTO weaker contest BHA 93 5lbs higher revised mark 98. add travel and quarantine, turning around that form looks almost impossible 3lbs = 1L 13L make up } if their was a genuine excuse ? I’m not convinced myself and make the selection the days best bet.
3.45 Doncaster ~ Brando 1pt win 11/2
Goes well fresh & repeat performance shown when beaten in G1 champions stakes ascot would make the Kevin Ryan runner a good bet, that was probably a career best performance ~ blew the start when last seen on the racetrack, over c/d backend last season when missing the kick and keeping on well without threatening Dakota gold ‘ also in that race was chiefofchiefs couple of places ahead after finishing off well and at a double digits could just sneak us the f/c under Spencer.
4.20 Doncaster ~ Dhushan 1pt win 2/1
Looked a very unlucky loser on racecourse debut class 2 maiden backend last season when beaten a SH pair 5L clear happy from the Johnston yard, selection looked green when asked go about his job under Marquand over the mile ~ derby entry who should relish middle distances this season,. 150,000 guineas purchase which was a very good deal as cost 160,000 guineas as a foal ‘ said to have done a sparkling piece of work recently on the home gallops and goes into this with leading claims, unless theirs a newcomer who’s a superstar then the William Haggas runner should have little difficulty breaking his maiden tag here....
I have been looking at the trends on this race and under 6 years old carrying less than 9st4lb and being in stall 9 and over have the best results apparently. That is good and made me shotlist 5 horses. Then looking at the jockey and trainer, I can see that Levey has an impressive 80% place and win with Ouzo. He is also 28% at Doncaster while Hannon is 29% place and win. Ouzo's last race was a win at York as well...Why look any further.
Didero Vallis - 1.35 Kelso - EW PLACED 11/1
A former Mullins trained horse which since switching to Venetia Williams has had some good wins. Seems to favour a softer ground and it will depend on how soft (currently market good to soft) the ground will be at Kelso on Saturday. A good chance with Deutsch on 30% wins with this horse. Has not done well in its last race but could bounce back on this one.
Lalipour - 5.20 Navan - EW 20/1
A former winner at this course last year with the same jockey and a lower weight. No great results since then but hurdles might not be its thing. With such a big field and with Irish races being very hard to predict I am playing a bit with fire while blind but Lalipour had made it to my horses to keep an eye on so here we are.
At the last 5 Lincoln festivals, backing Richard Fahey horses at an SP or 9-1 or under at class 3,4 or 5 level would see 8 winners from 24 races and a Betfair SP profit of 50pts. Fahey has won the class 4 Brocklesby 4 times, including two of the last three runnings and I can see this son of Ardad costing £20,000 being primed to go close in a competitive looking opening race of the turf season. A March foal ridden by Paul Hanaghan (2 winners from 7 riding for Fahey in 2021), Fahey comments on Sporting Life, this lad has “done everything well at home and looks great”. I sense a big run is expected.
1pt win, HUDSON DE GRUGY, 250 Newbury 4/1
A cracking looking novice handicap hurdle can go the Moores courtesy of this 4 year old from the family of Sire de Grugy. His first UK run saw him beaten just over a length by Elham Valley in December at Sandown. Elham Valley has since finished a close 3rd in the Boodles at Cheltenham to Joe Kidder and Saint Sam where he had behind in 4th place the well touted Houx Gris. 4th in the referenced Sandown race behind Elham Valley and Hudson De Grugy was Paros who has won at Musselburgh today (Friday). Since then, Hudson De Grugy has won two Sandown events making all over 2 miles beating Hystery Bere in January and Global Agreement in March. Hystery Bere has since franked the form, beating Sage Advice (who finished 6th in the Boodles) at Fontwell. Hudson De Grugy gets a pound from Good Ball (current favourite) whose form has been let down by Gowel Road. He runs of the same weight as Hooper (main danger) but he was lucky to win last time out after been left in front. I'm confident the step up to 2 miles 2 should hold no fears although he does need to brush up his jumping. He is potentially well handicapped as he is currently rated 130 and has the potential to be a 145+ horse.
1/2pt each-way, KING OTTOKAR, 310 Doncaster 14/1
His recent form figures are similar to the goals conceded by San Marino, but there are grounds for thinking this son of Motivator can go close here. The Charlie Fellowes trained 5 year old is ridden by Ben Curtis who has a 40% strike rate for the trainer. Running of a mark of 99, King Ottokar finished 6th to Njord in the Balmoral Handicap on Champions Day at Ascot. Lethargic at the start, he was making headway until meeting interference a furlong out but despite that he finished well in 6th, beaten 5 ½ lengths. The time before off a mark of 102 over today’s course and distance, King Ottokar again met trouble a furlong and a half out when 5th to Matthew Flinders, and dwelt again at the start. His best RPR is 107 when winning over 10 furlongs on soft ground at Newbury when beating Dashing Willoughby (now an OR of 112) by 1 ½ lengths with Space Blues no less back in 4th. He also achieved a RPR of 107 when a close-up 5th in a Group 3 at Salisbury. Fellowes puts the cheekpieces on for the first time today I presume to ensure he doesn’t miss the break. If that works, I can see him going very close. Ground and distance should be fine.
Trained by Owen Burrows and ridden by Kieran Shoemark. Won on Handicap debut last June. Won a Class 2 Handicap over a mile at Haydock in September. Has won on seasonal debut in both 2019 and 2020. One win and a place from two runs in Class 2 races. Consistent type who has a career record of 3 wins and 2 places from only 7 outings. Likes good ground and is a strong galloper who will enjoy this track.
2.00 Doncaster. FATHER OF JAZZ. Each way 7/1
Roger Varian trains this 4 year old Kingman colt. He has trained the winner of this race three times in the last four years. Callum Shepherd takes the ride,and he has a 33% strike rate when riding for this trainer. Horse has won three times from five races,finishing third last time out in the Lingfield Winter Derby. Improving type who can go on to contest some of the better races this season.
4.20 Doncaster. DHUSHAN. Win 2/1
Sea The Stars colt who is the only runner in this race with an Epsom Derby entry. Promising type who was backed into 15/8 favourite for debut in a good quality race at Goodwood in September. Ran on well to finish second,beaten a nose. Trained by the excellent William Haggas,who is two wins from only two runners in the last two weeks. Owned by Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum who’s runners do well with this trainer, a 33% strike rate. Should go on to bigger and better things. Looks one to follow.
Tip Idol II – Saturday 20th March
He was second in this last year to Truckers Lodge and although up 10lbs (12lbs if you include the 2lb less claim of Brian Carver) he is still under the 11 stone mark that seldom breached for a win in this race. Harry Fry is in good form and the horse likes the track.
MAN OF THE MOUNTAIN 3.15 Kempton E/W 14/1 PLACED
Appears to go very well on good ground and goes well off a break, in this case, 81 days. The pulled up lto has to be forgiven but otherwise progressive. It looks like Mellow Ben, My Way and Princeton Royal will set up a fast early pace that Man Of The Mountain can sit behind and then stay on best up the home straight using his proven 3 mile stamina.
TUNDRA 5.00 Wolverhampton E/W 11/1 WON
Has been gradually improving and did better racing prominently the last twice. Down in class and Richard Kingscote replaces Darragh Bourke. RK being the best jockey in terms of getting to the front and although drawn wide it is less of a disadvantage at Wolverhampton than the market generally allows.
On official ratings Rayong has a fair bit to find, however if you look at the other runners and profile of the race there are reasons for optimism. Garrus, the short priced favourite, hasn’t run since August 2019 and might find this 5f a bit sharp anyway. Blue de Vega is a hard horse to win with and disappointed last time. Justanotherbottle is smart on his day but does throw in the odd shocker. Rayong has never run on the all weather, but progeny of his sire Mayson tend to improve for the Tapeta and he has gone well on seasonal debut before (won on debut at 2 and 7th in hot race at Ascot last year). He could outrun his odds.
225 Uttoxeter. Ask Me Early. EW 11/2 WON
Ask me early needs to be forgiven a shocking last start at Sandown, where he was backed off the boards but didn’t go a yard and was pulled up. We need to take on trust that whatever was amiss that day has been fixed, as before that he looked a highly progressive staying novice. St Barts has looked a good prospect and is the one to beat but at the prices Ask me early looks a good bet.
335 Uttoxeter. Time to get up. 3/1 EW WON
Time to get up is not the most original selection but he’s got an awful lot going for him off this mark. He started this season with an “interesting” seasonal debut where be finished an “eye-catching” never-nearer third. He then went to Wincanton over 2m4f and finished a reasonable 4th looking like going up in trip would help. He then won a reasonable handicap at Wincanton off 130 at his first try at 3 miles, looking a well handicapped horse that would likely be suited by staying trips. He should go well.
This former Cheltenham Festival winner put in an eyecatching run when fifth behind Double Shuffle at Kempton back in January. Had previously been disappointing having lost his way somewhat and has since followed that up with a good second at Sandown from this mark last month where he raced wide throughout in probably not ideal conditions before being outstayed late on. This return to something more like his old self is very encouraging and he currently sits on a mark that makes him look pretty well treated some 7lb below his last winning mark which came in that race at the Festival, the Ultima Handicap Chase.
240 Kempton Silver Plate SWITCH HITTER 11/2 WON
CD winner of a novice event here on only his 3rd run when seeing off a subsequent winner in an above average looking race. Disappointed on handicap debut however thereafter and has been given some time since and returns to action here with possible improvement on the cards. Conditions look ideal and has to be worth another chance.
310 Newcastle SKIPNESS 33/1 EW
Didn't quite get home at Catterick last time out over the slightly longer trip of 3 miles in not ideal conditions. Despite still being a little green on that occasion he travelled and jumped very well and is interesting here on this much quicker ground. Improvement needed but has plenty of scope for that judged on what we have seen so far.
A very tricky race to work out but Time To Get Up looks a standout and has been smashed up anti post. A constant improver with low mileage this 8 year old looks to have been trained for this in typical trainer fashion. An impressive Wincanton winner last time drawing clear he looks well weighted to win for the J J Oneil combination. 1 point win.
Dreams Of Home : 2.00 Newcastle 2/5 WON
This 5 year old gelding is a typical D McCain improver learning his trade winning his point and two hurdles to date. He does have a double penalty to deal with but off 130 official rating there is much more to come. This is a stepping stone to something much harder as the season draws in. 1 point win.
Bushypark : 3.10 Newcastle 5/2 NR
A massive improver this 7 year old gelding winning 5 times over hurdles and looks another winner for the inform Phil Kirby stable. Rated 132 and off top weight this can win again and bag a decent prize. Very impressive visually last time beating Champagne Platinum at Haydock this gelding must be followed. 1 point win.
Comes out comfortably top on (my) ratings system and has comparable form with the favourite. She is also a value price (at the time of writing). Charlie Longsdon has a very good record at the track which is a positive. Even though untried at any surface quicker than soft, Uttoxeter always seems to ride on the soft side of the official going and so, particularly on the hurdles track, I have no worries here. Course form is positive with a win and a second on two starts and I think she will make another bold showing.
GOLAN FORTUNE (EACH WAY) 12/1 - 3.35 Uttoxeter
Need to look for an each way selection in this race as it has (to date) never been a happy hunting ground. The favourite will take a lot of beating here but there is some value in the market at the current prices. Golan Fortune’s best form has been on softer surfaces but Uttoxeter always seems to run on the slow side. No course form, but this has been a positive Midlands National trend so no worries there. Very respectable run in the Kauto Star Novice Chase at Kempton over Christmas and a “sharpener” over hurdles last time out. Running for an unfashionable trainer but that often only helps to boost the price. Looks a proper stayer and in this race that is often what you need.
PAY THE PIPER 6/4 - 4.20 Newcastle
Comes out well clear on the ratings system and , even though a relatively short price, still represents some value at the current price. Comes to the race on the back of four successive victories with a strongly performing Trainer-Jockey combination. Up 8lbs since the last run but is certainly a progressive type and no reason to think this will not continue. No previous start at Newcastle but has previous form on left-handed, galloping tracks so there should not be a problem with that. I would like to see him running up with the pace and, if looking like a tactical race, not to be afraid to make the running. All of the wins have been when racing prominent.
This horse would have had every right to turn up at Cheltenham this week based on his last run. He beat The Glancing Queen by 7 and a half lengths with Oscar Elite a further 14 lengths back. The Glancing Queen finished 5th in the Grade 2 Mares Novice Hurdle and Oscar Elite performed even better with a 2nd Place finish in the Albert Bartlett, beating home a great number of better fancied rivals. On that basis I give Wilde About Oscar every chance at the head of the weights on this handicap debut.
Bushypark 3:10 Newcastle 5/2 NR
Another with a link to the Cheltenham Festival, Bushypark had an entry in the Pertemps Final before being pulled out late. That race of course being an ultra competitive handicap, it’s interesting that rather than take that opportunity to run at Cheltenham he turns up for this race at Newcastle. Champagne Platinum, who Bushypark beat by 8 and a half lengths last time out, finished 5th in that Pertemps Network Final off a 1lb higher mark. You’d have to think Bushypark would have been in and amongst the place money there based on that. He has a 12lb higher mark and has won five times since November last year, but this horse may still have not finished improving!
Screaming Colours 3:35 Uttoxeter 6/1
This horse has been a model of consistency this year at Punchestown with firm figures of 1222, it’s interesting his trainer brings him across to England for this Midlands National. The form of his runner up finishes have been boosted and it looks like this further step up in trip could help him to unlock further improvement. A very interesting runner here.
I was disappointed when Time To Get Up was taken out of the Kim Muir after I had a little bet on it. I think it will get the step up in trip and has some solid form. Jonjo O Neill Jr Rides and has a 19% strike rate when teaming up with his Dad - (with a + £61 profit to £1 stakes) The ground shouldnt be a problem either - I expect a big run.
BREFFNIBOY 13/2 14:40 KEMPTON
Has been running very well this year with 5 wins, although today he runs over an extra 4f to any of those wins, however, this should not be a problem. The ground suits having won 2 and placed once in the last three races run over Good to Soft. The last 4th can be excused due to the Heavy going (His only race on Heavy)
CURRAMORE 5/2 14:35 NEWCASTLE
Curramore is an interesting runner in this race - having been off the track for 411 days, but he does go well fresh, having Won first time out the last twice after breaks (134 and 200 days) - He has moved stables and could go well down 4lb since last run.
A former Joseph O'brien hurdler sent to Jonjo to pursue his staying chase career. Was fav for Kim Muir before not being declared presumably because of the drying ground but no such concerns here. Will relish the trip and ground and his beating of Shantou Flyer (3rd in Kim Muir) looks solid form.
My Way - 3.15 Kempton 9/2
Well regarded when purchased (g2 hurdle on uk debut) and has finally started showing that promise this season over fences. Bold front running 4th when didnt stay in badger ales but got off mark over fences here last time out. With preferred ground and the queen of the front runners onboard. Another bold front running catch me if you can display is expected.
Flegmatic 2.25 Uttoxeter 0.5pt each way 12/1
5th on only previous try at anything further than 2 mile but was badly hampered not once but twice in that race. Ground is a slight concern but that is tempered by the fact trainer has a fantastic record around here being one of his local tracks. Over 50% placed in chases last 5 years, improves to 60% in soft ground so I'll hope Dan knows whether the horse will act on it.
Eight of the last ten winners were aged eight or nine with only one carrying over 10-12. Although respecting the chance of TIME TO GET UP he is poor value considering only one favourite has won in the time under review, plus only one last time out winner has prevailed as well. I fancy the chances of CAPTAIN DRAKE, second in this race last year after blundering at the last fence, as well as being a course winner on what is a testing track.
DEMOPOLIS 2.45 FONTWELL 7/4
A beaten favourite at Carlisle last time out on only his second chase outing was somewhat disappointing for P.Hobbs charge but the winner has won again since so time will tell. He won at Ludlow last year with the runner-up being placed four times since Christmas. Six of the seven previous winners were weighted 11-3 or more, likewise, the winning odds were 5/1 or shorter so this race tends to go to a more fancied runner on this specialized track.
KILBEG KING 5.50 UTTOXETER 5/2
Following Anthony Honeyballs national hunt flat race horses blindly over the last five years would have seen you in profit including this year where he has a one in three strike rate. A comfortable winner on his second start in Ireland he makes his debut on English soil, and I'm hoping it will be a winning one.
MIGHTY THUNDER EW 18/1
Has an extremely good race record of 7 wins from 24 runs with most of his wins coming over staying trips, won his NHF race over 16f first time up and was then pretty normal over hurdles until being stepped up to 3m+ winning 3 more races there after, was switched to Fences late last year and that transformed this horse winning 3 out of 4 chase races again over staying trips, especially LTO when stepped up to marathon trip winning by 20L, this trip and track look ideal for a big run today and will definitely be a very good each way bet at the price.
NEWCASTLE 16.20 2M46Y HANDICAP HURDLE CLASS 3
MICK MAESTRO 11/4
Has been in excellent for this season and now returns to a competitive grade after being pulled up in a Class 1 Grade 3 race LTO when obviously out classed and out passed, but now back in Class 3 company could very much bounce back here, 2m on Gd/Sft ground looks spot on from a yard going very well at the moment and a very good claimer on board who is his regular rider now.
KEMPTON 15.15 2M4F HANDICAP CHASE CLASS 3
FALCO BLITZ 11/4
Falco Blitz looks a typical Nicky Henderson improver now running over fences, won well LTO at Southwell after finishing 2nd here the time before behind another good horse in Killer Clown who has run really well in class 1 grade since, carrying top weight here may not hinder this horse as he looks big enough to carry these weights, this looks a good opportunity before stepping up in grade again, ground, trip and course look ideal and will get a confident ride from N De Boinville.
The selection has had a torrid time in his two runs since winning this last year but he did that comfortably and should be thereabouts again. He has an impressive career strike rate of 35% and the trainer/jockey combination have done well over the last year with a 17% win rate and 42% place rate to their names.He likes to run prominently which is not a bad tactic in this race and I'm hoping he can tuck in behind the leaders and let his proven stamina get him home.
THE TIN MINER E/W 15/2 15:20 Fontwell Park
A handy hurdler with a 40% win record under the code. He has only won on soft before so the going could be a concern but the other conditions are to suit.His trainer knows how to get a run out of him at this distance with 2 wins and 4 places from 6 runs.The most likely front runner in the field he might be able to steal a march and go in from the front.
BELLE DE MANECH 13:35 2/1 Fontwell
The main thing which draws the eye is Anthony Honeyball's record with first time handicappers.With 4 wins from 9 runners in the last year the horse is worth a look. Down in class after being pulled up at Sandown LTO this mare can regain the form of her previous two races at Fontwell and Wincanton. (2nd and 1st) A front runner, she is likely to be challenged for the lead by Sorbet and I expect these two to string the field out with the selection coming out on top.
Son of Camas didn’t win last time out, he is 6 years old, has a rating of 131 and has ran during the last 43 days. That fits the profile of 5 of the last 7 winners. He will like the drying ground and is taking a step down in Grade having ran in a grade 2 last time out. Nicky Hendersons horses ran quite well in the main at Cheltenham, so we should be in for a good run for our money.
Gustavian Uttoxeter 3.00 6/1 1pt win
Gustavian has never been out of the first 2 in all his runs, He is the only course and distance winner in the race and is also a last time out winner. All of these are positives for the selection along with my thoughts that he is ahead of the handicapper. Finally I think it’s significant that Ben Godfrey is claiming 5ibs. I am positive he will be backed on the day and therefore I am going for a win bet.
Coo Star Sivola Uttoxeter 3.35 16/1 1/2pt each way
Coo Star Sivola comes into this race running off a handicap mark of 135OR, but peaked in the Ultima at the Cheltenham festival in 2018 at 150OR. He is only 9 years old, so we shouldnt be writing him off yet and I think he now needs a proper test of stamina and I wouldn’t be put off by this being his first run over 4 miles, as it means he has not yet shown his hand at this distance and I think he will improve for it. From a trends perspective, I am happy that he fits the profile in all the major ones. You should be aged 9 or younger, won between 1-4 times over fences, won over at least 3 miles and have raced in the last weeks. It is also a positive that he has never run at Uttoxeter before. All in all he should give us a very good each way chance.
Only six runners go to post here following the withdrawal of Don Lami, which is a pity because that horse was helping to make the market. Nonetheless I still fancy the chances of Ellens Way here. She was last seen on February 25th when 2nd behind No No Juliet. Trainer Jeremy Scott seems to have found a good opportunity here for the 9-y-old to get her head in front once again. There has been a question mark against her jumping but if she can manage a clear round here she is going to take all the beating. She is a course and distance winner, something I always like in a horse and although that was over hurdles. She is yet to get her head in front since going chasing but I really fancy her chances here with Caspers Court probably being the main danger. Before that 2nd at Huntingdon she had finished 3rd at Taunton and I think this is an easier race than either of those and will be disappointed if she doesn’t get her head in front.
2.10 Fontwell Manor Park 0.5 points ew NR
None runners go to post here in what on initial viewing looks a tough race to solve. However I’m pretty confident we can discard four of these immediately. Postie, Ermyns Emerald, Bob Backus and Little Tipsy will surely find this too tough. In fact, the more I delve into this the more I think it will be a two horse race between Mac Amara and Manor Park. The latter was 9th of 16 in his last race which came after a 50 day break and that race should put him spot on for this. At the odds he is worth an each way play!
3.35 Uttoxeter Achille 0.5 points ew 16/1
Twenty runners go to post here and my initial reaction was that Highland Hunter would take all the beating. However, I’m going to take a chance with the Venetia Williams trained Achille. The gelding has gone close in a couple of big handicaps this season and although up 8lbs for those efforts I feel the step up in distance today will definitely help negate that. Last time out at Haydock he was beaten ½ length by Lord Du Mesnil and was clearly staying on at the end of the race. He struggled a bit with the pace last time but that should not be an issue over this extended distance. With five places available with the majority of bookmakers I feel he should definitely place and has an outstanding chance of getting his head in front. This race, on paper, looks easier than that graded race at Haydock and all we need is for the horse to do his job.
The trainer won this race in 2016 with Firebird Flyer and looks to have a great chance again with Prime Venture. The selection PU in this race last year off 134 on very heavy going. Today races of 139 but has the aid of a 5lb claimer and will appreciate the soft going. Arrives here in better form.
GLANCE BACK 20/1 (e/w) Uttoxeter 5:15
Won this race last year off 107 and arrives today off the same mark. The selection has won 3/7 starts on soft and been placed 5/7. The form of late hasn’t been too great but today’s slight drop back in trip and favourable conditions should hopefully see an improved performance.
AVARICE 16/1 (e/w) Wolverhampton 6:30
The selection raced well LTO over CD, finishing 5L behind Arij, who is likely to be Favourte for this race or there abouts. Avarice has a 5lb pull with Arij this time around and Adam Kirby takes over the reins which is a good jockey booking. Avarice is well drawn and with a positive ride, shouldn’t be too far away at the end.
My selection in this race is CAPTAIN DRAKE, 2nd in this race last year behind Truckers Lodge, Captain Drake then reversed the form with Truckers Lodge last time out finishing 4th in the Welsh Grand National, finishing ahead of Lord Du Mesnil that went on to win the The Grand National Trial Handicap and Cloudy Glen 2nd in this weeks Kim Muir at Cheltenham, so the form looks strong. Captain Drake loves the track with figures reading 1721 and stays the trip, got a good jockey Bryan Carver claiming 3lbs whos 3 wins and 5 places from 8 rides around Uttoxeter on fences.
8.00 Wolves- Bell Heather Each Way 20/1
2 pounds below last win mark and with with Connor Murtagh claiming 3lbs, I'll be taking a chance on BELL HEATHER. A 3 time course and distance winner and with a good stall draw (6), it should pop out in front and dictate the pace, i think it has a great chance of out running its odds and should at least make the frame.
8.30 Wolves- Street Poet Win 17/2
Three time course and distance winner STREET POET gets my vote in this. Now 16 pounds below its highest winning mark, Street Poet has been running well in defeat of late and I am expecting it to win again very soon. I dont think its a very strong race but see Berthog as the main danger.
Quite a trappy Class 3 Handicap. The selection looks poorly drawn, but often starts slowly and comes from off the pace. Of the 7 runners, 2 of them have fitness to prove so are discounted. A further two ran too recently for me ( finishing 1st & 2nd though ). The top weight has won just 1 from 11 aw starts. This leaves Futuristic and my selection. Futuristic has gone up 10lb in 5 runs and may just be edged out.
AL RASMAH EW - Wolverhampton 7-30 12/1
Another Class 3 Handicap and no less trappy. Again, the selection looks poorly drawn and quite well could be. Of the 7 runners, this time 4 of them have fitness to prove, so are discounted. The bottom weight has gone up 16lb in just 3 runs and must be nearing its ceiling. That just leaves Quickstep Lady and my selection. The application of a first time visor and a 5lb drop since its first aw run have swayed me in favour of Al Rasmah.
CAPTAIN DRAKE EW 12/1 - Uttoxeter 3-35
Not as well handicapped as last year and previous runners don`t have a great record ! But, this selection still fits lots of other trend requirements and more importantly, I can`t see any certain stayers from the unproven pretenders. So, Truckers Lodge and Captain Drake have been there, seen it and done it. The only reason for not picking last years winner is the weight ( one of main trends is < 10-13 lb ) Of the clear lower weights, I quite like Coo Star Sivola but the price is contracting already and I would prefer EW on a double figure selection.
Horse has won 2 out of 4 at the track and been placed 3 times. Its won on the going and was 2nd at the distance in the same race last year after hitting the final fence hard. Seems to like this time of the year too as its won 2 out of 4 in March and placed all 4 times
W 5.30 Sunset Glow – To win 12/1
The horse’s first run on the AW and only its 3rd run in total. Not done anything of note as yet but assuming it was green on its first race where it was last of 7, it ran 4th of 7 in its next race LTO over 5 lengths in the same grade as today but although fairly well beaten at 5f, it was going ok at the end and looked liked another furlong which it runs today, would not hurt at all. Must be quite well thought of as it was 7/2 on its 2nd run after being last in its 1st race? Hoping the 6f and new surface brings something out of it?
F3.20 Good News – EW 14/1
Going EW on this one due to the expected big SP it will probably go off at. Won 3 times in its career, all of them being at Fontwell. Running at a class higher than its ever won before unfortunately but only 2 of the horses in the race have won at this class anyway. This is the only horse in the race to have won on the expected going albeit most have not run on it much before to be fair.
The selection comes here in tremendously consistent form, having placed in each start this season. The form from his previous runs this season is strong (Notachance followed up Bangor win with a win in the Classic Chase at Warwick and Secret Reprieve confirmed his lenient mark in the Welsh National) and comes from classier contests than here. The Haydock run last time was slightly disappointing on the face of it, seeming to fade late on but he’s shaped similarly at the track before and it creates an overly generous price here. The Two Amigos comes here only 2lb higher than his gallant Welsh National second place and is very well treated on that basis in my opinion. Matt Griffiths is a tremendous boost back in the saddle (trainer commented that the horse is quirky and he gets the most out of him) and I can see The Two Amigos going out in front and jumping them ragged where plenty have stamina to prove, including the short priced favourite who has it to prove up in class from a higher mark.
1440 Kempton: Vive Le Roi 15/2 (0.5pt EW)
Vive Le Roi’s second place over course and distance last year from 9lb higher looks the best piece of form on offer here. His runs this season look disappointing on the face of it but he forced an overly strong pace on his return at Plumpton and fared best of those racing prominently (Langer Dan well beaten off). The second run was a similar story, racing prominently and finishing fifth when the top four were all held up in rear. The final two starts were in deep handicaps over 3m that stretches his stamina but ran respectably nonetheless. On the face of it, a 9lb lower handicap mark for 4 runs that look solid enough seems generous and the drop in class combined with a return to optimal conditions of 2m5f, decent ground and less pace pressure seems to bode well for a strong run.
1515 Kempton: Mellow Ben 5/1 (0.5pt EW)
Mellow Ben’s form may look uninspiring but he has been running admirably from the front in good races, whilst arguably going off too hard and not quite seeing out the trips beyond 2m5f. His 5 length third to Cap Du Nord and Canelo at Newbury (rated 18lb and 9lb higher now, respectively) looks very strong. Following that he set an overly strong pace at this course over 3m before fading to Royale Pagaille, Cap Du Nord and Double Shuffle who have all strongly franked the form since. Again, the last run creates a bit of a price having gone off far too hard and faded badly. I’m happy to put a line through that and say that the drop in class (0-140 today vs 0-155 last time) and trip, combined with a smaller field, should mean he can boss this. Front runners typically go well at Kempton and I expect to see a bold display here.
Not disgraced on his last 2 starts, doing his best work at the death on both occasions. Should be suited by this galloping track and if the rain stays away he should go close as drying ground seems key to his chances. Brian Hughes knows the horse well and he will appreciate the drop in class (ran well at this level previously). Solid ew material.
CAPTAIN DRAKE - 3:35 Uttoxeter (EW) 12/1
Runner up in this race last year and has been in good form this season, most recently when a very respectable 4th in the Welsh National back in January. Very likely he has been kept fresh with this race in mind as he has shown a distinct liking for this course with two hurdles wins to his name along with last year's game effort. Ground conditions should be fine and another big run expected.
FUTURISTIC - 6:00 Wolverhampton (WIN) 15/8
Has formed a good relationship under Ben Curtis in 3 runs following a lengthy break, winning the latest of them over C&D in gutsy fashion last month. Up just 3lb today, there should be a decent pace on for him to chase and he's tipped to get the better of Power Over Me who is stepping up in grade.
There aren’t many in here with proven stamina over this marathon trip, however Captain Drake was 2nd in this event last year and everything looks in place for a big run again. The selection ran well in the Welsh National last time out, staying on to finish 4th over 3m6f and looked in need of the extra yardage he will get today. In last years event, he was looking to challenge the winner after staying on for pressure before a last fence mistake put paid to his chances of winning. He showed his liking for this track when winning here on this season’s reappearance, and today’s event looks to have been the plan since his Welsh National run. Just 2lb higher than last year’s 2nd and much better off with the winner from that day, Captain Drake should have every chance of going one better.
PROSCILI 5:00 Wolverhampton 8/1 (each way)
Despite finishing 4th last time out, Proscili wasn’t beaten far and was doing her best work at the finish. Today’s race is slightly easier and the useful apprentice takes off a handy 5lbs. I’m hoping they go quicker here which should set this up nicely for the filly who should be finishing fast. She’s still a maiden but has finished runner up twice to some progressive sorts this winter, and if things fall into place I can see her going very close, so she’s of definite interest each way at double figure odds.
TORONTO 6:30 Wolverhampton 9/2
This former Ballydoyle runner should be capable of better than he’s shown thus far, and now with a yard renowned for improving new recruits he can start to fulfil his potential. He was ultra keen on his stable debut last time out, taking a vigorous pull in the early to mid stage of the race which put paid to his chances. However, the small field and slow pace were clearly against him, not to mention his first run after 115 days off. That run should’ve taken the freshness out of him and there looks to be more pace in this line up which should be run to suit and help him settle. The selection is 3lbs lower today and drops a grade. Well punted last time, clearly more was expected, and with different conditions today I reckon we’ll see a bold showing.
Has not improved as expected, believe it or not this fella went into the little black book after finishing 4th at the 2018 festival when BF behind Relegate / carefully selected and tornado flyer,. Recording just the one victory over hurdles when accounting for the flying sofa over 16f soft ground under regular jockey Aidan Coleman ~ however since then ibeen partnered by Rex Dingle ~ certainly well HC went off 15/2 behind Royal Pagaille showed up well until taking a crashing fall 5 out “. I’m sure theirs a decent pot to be won with the horse when everything clicks ~ best form been achieved with cut underfoot / clearly been difficult to train and has recorded 2 wind operations with the last coming in July 2020 returning from 200+ days absence when winning 1.5L aintree backend October ~ does go particular well fresh ‘ hopeful the Anthony Honeyball runner can get in amongst the principals 7yr olds also have a good record in the race winning 6 of the last 10 certainly warrants close inspection in the markets ....only time raced at the track was over 20f in a hurdles race finishing 3rd behind poker play when BF 5lbs higher than chase mark,. BHA mark 136 tells me theirs still plenty of improvement from the horse when putting it all together,. you’ve only got to look at the amount of times the honeyball runner has been sent off favorite / clearly talented if not a shade quirky !
Midland grand national .....
Days feature race and a devilish tricky race to unfold with so many twists and turns whenever looking through races of this nature I like to follow certain stats trainer,jockeys course form ~ as we know from past exploits ‘ trainers are creatures of habit ‘
Whilst going through these favorable stats I’ve come up with a shortlist of 2 trainers starting with Dan skelton stats at the track 84-293 recording 29% SR LSP £37 next we’ve Harry fry smaller sample ~ less runners yet still recorded 28% SR 20-72 LSP £13. Captain drake represents team fry and theirs already been some market interest however when looking back to last years 2nd beaten 17L behind truckers lodge and arrives here with extra 2lbs and should have little difficulty in turning last years form around however i honestly believe the Skelton runner has been laid out for this contest after a huge run over hurdles latest behind Brinkley,.that chase form win over Darlac reads well with just 3lbs extra / maybe
Selection Tommy rapper 0.5pt e/w 20/1
.. Made seasonal spin in hurdles races back in February behind Brinkley off 136 excellent effort as that was the selections first race on the track since beating Darlac fontwell park BHA 136 just 3lbs above that winning effort here,. solid enough stayer and you would like to think that spin over hurdles will have sharpened the Skelton runner up no end,. arrives here a fresh horse ~ although never won at listed or graded level has been placed twice from just 4 starts over fences,selection has remained at the yard since being purchased for just 17,500 guineas back at the sales in 2011 and making debut 4yrs later,l which tells me theirs possibly been a few niggled issues along the way or just simply needed time to full out ~ seems versatile regards to ground conditions although interesting comments from Bridget Andrews stating the horse was still raw and green when winning the Pertemp’s hurdle when accounting for Theo’s charm Hay 23f heavy ground although never won on good,soft ground the selections been placed 5 out the 6 career starts,.visually looked as though would come on plenty for that seasonal spin and with several of these already having had a hard season I’m hopeful the Skelton runner will arrive with a fighters chance and off the current BHA 139 looks a interesting contender.
2.05 Kemp ... Eskendash 1 point win bet 5/1
0-6 over fences wouldn’t jump off the page as a well HC runner until you’ve dissected the form “ reasonable performer when on the level off BHA rating 81 hurdles form 1-12 rated 123 over fences 1lbs higher was a excellent 3rd behind Greaneteen BHA 125 novices event when wrong at the weights ~ receiving 8lbs yet rated inferior 22lbs on the figures and only beaten 6L. Selection had a nice break before returning to the track Wetherby when finishing 5-11 beaten 12L Amoola gold holding every chance until fitness told over the final couple of fences,since then had a wind-operation and left Pam sly for Olly Murphy’s yard ~ if the change of scenery along with the wind-op works with the talented Fergus Gregory booked,.claiming a vital 3lbs also sporting a first time tongue-tie, hopeful rather than confident yet if putting best foot forward could be well HC by claiming the win especially with the better ground c/d winner at the track over hurdles on good ground and believe the current odds 8s represent good value,.
Like most of my betting, it is a process of elimination. Which horse looks like could be in front compared to the field and which horse should be put aside so I can concentrate on the few with a chance ones. Especially in big fields this approach is relevant. By rule I do not like to consider top weight (with exceptions) and because of that I am discounting Regal Encore. Truckers lodge is one that i have been wondering about for a while. The Trucker named horses tend to be fairly good in placing and winning but a bit heavy and not fitting the profile of this specific race which has seen many runners on lighter side. The one that caught my eye is Captain drake. On a race as long as 4m having distance or thereabouts experience is important. Captain drake place previously on such distance, has won on the course before, has a jockey with 60% win or place which sounds like massive and a good trainer. That will do me well for today and my first tip in the competition.
John Betjeman - 12.30 Fontwell - EW bet 14/1
I might be crazy as the racingpost says it is a tougher than the two it bottled when short priced... When I see the name pop up somehow I am attracted to it. Might be the multiple places it got over the years. Top 3 RPR which usually works well for me. It is a first week, i like first races of the day and taking a chance on this one..
Melgate Majeure - 17.00 Wolverhampton - EW bet 7/1
The golden queen in recent times (before Rachael Blackmore super week) has been Hollie Doyle. On a horse that has won 40% of its races in this class. It is the kind of race where a horse might be hidden in the ratings as ephemeral, delleyl or others seem to have better stats. The Hollie effect I am counting on to bring this one in front for the start of a good night for her in the course with other races at shorter odds so not so exciting to pick.
This looks the sort of race Paul Nicholls mops up post Cheltenham. Despite a win record of only 2 wins from 22 starts, My Way won well last time beating Awake at Midnight over course and distance recording a personal best RPR of 136 relishing it appears the good ground and 1st time blinkers. My Way was 3rd to Cepage the time before that who run well on Tuesday in the Ultima finishing 3rd. Appears it has Falko Blitz to beat who often jumps left. I fancy Bryony to pop him out and attempt to make all.
1pt win – ST BARTS – 225 Uttoxeter 9/4
Phillip Hobbs has had just the one winner at the time of writing in the last fortnight which raises some reservations but I was greatly taken by the win of this son of High Chapparal last time at Newbury and fancy he can win this competitive looking novices handicap chase. An eye catcher when 2nd to Ofalltheginjoints at Exeter first time up this season, the money was down at Newbury when St Barts made all to win at 6-4 beating Versatility by 2 ¼ lengths with a 12 length back to third. St Barts’ jumping was assured that day which will stand him in good stead at Uttoxeter, a course where he has run once and won once, winning a maiden hurdle by 13 lengths on heavy ground. His last 3 RPRs have been personal bests, (127, 130 and 135) and the cards are in place for a big run here.
1pt each-way CALLETT MAD – 335 Uttoxeter 40/1
Its 17 years since Nigel Twiston-Davies saddled Baron Windrush to win the Midlands Grand National but a speculative punt is taken on this 9 year old to run a big race. His wellbeing has to be taken on trust but looks on an attractive mark of 142. In 2019 he was second off 145 in the Classic Chase to Impulsive Star. He fell on his comeback but will relish the trip (9th and 2nd on his starts of 4 miles+) and I just think NTD wouldn't be bothering if he didn't have him back right. The odds are factored into the risk.
Rules and prizes can be found here
After an epic battle that went down to the very last race of the competition, the Final Result...
1st: RACINGJACK +17.48pts
2nd: THE EDGE +14.25pts
3rd: TOMPO'S TIPS -2.93pts
Full competition weekly results here
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