£1528 to 1pt profit on all Saturday tips!
Latest Horse Racing Tips
Red Runaway firmly makes the shortlist today but has been well found in the market and this is a far sterner test than last
time. Ryan Moore is a plus and he is perhaps a different horse now gelded. Da Do Run Run is worth casting an eye over twice
at 25/1 but this is probably a little hot for him and he's not without his quirks. Dark Ruler and Vital Evidence are
of most interest. The former should improve for this step up in trip but there's no guarantee he's well handicapped. Vital
Evidenec promised more than he showed last term but finally got his act together at Wndsor in a modest contest. He's a big
horse and may come on as a 4 year old and that run first up at Kempton was encouraging. Staying on after being outpaced, he
will handle the ground and appreciate this extra fulong with a visor back on at 15/2. I don't think this will be nicked
from the front but he should race prominently behind Rossetti and, if he can get there, Aryal, and that should suit.
1pt e/w - U/P @ 4/1
The Derby trial has 2 entrants in the Derby itself. Hartnell has the strongest form but has to give a coupe of pounds to the field and is up against some 'could be anythings'. The other entry is Signposted who has his ground this afternoon but, though better than the bare result last time, still has to step up on that performance. Marzocco and Moontime are the 2 once raced unbeaten runners and the most intriguing. The latter won a better race on today's ground and is a bigger price of the 2 at 5/1. He's not entered in the Derby presumably because he's a gelding and Goldoni won this 2 years ago in the same position. It's getting repetitive putting up Godolphin runners for Derby trials but this one's debut win, when beating Munjaz, has subsequent form that ties in with Pinzolo and Sudden Wonder and that looks strong form. It was a proper test on debut and, given plenty of prominent runners in this, his battling performance stands this gelding, with a proper middle distance pedigree, in good stead.
1pt win - U/P @ 8/1
The feature handicap is worth taking a couple in and the first question is wether or not Rock Choir is chucked in. She probably is but, though by Pivotal, there is enough of a ground concern and a will she need the run concern to swerve at 5/1 in this open race. Former Derby entry Pasaka Boy is a big price but the yard tend to send them out needing a run and aren't in peak form. There are 2 clear standouts at the prices. Sennockian Star is well drawn to lead but he is versatile and his last win came when tracking the pace. I want to side with something prominent and he just gets the verdict over very likely leader Soviet Rock who is half the price of the selection (though has a superb chance). 18/1 is definitely underestimating the potential here of Mark Johnston's second string at the prices who is 5lb lower than his highest mark, which he was competitive from, and has the superb Silvestre de Sousa on top. Also overpriced is Hi There at 16/1 who welcomes back Samantha Bell, partner for his last win off 7lb lower. He ran well at Doncaster when dropped back on reappearance to an inadequate mile trip and will want a decent pace. That isn't guaranteed but, drawn 7, it seems unlikely he'll be ridden out the back and it will not be a dawdle, especially if both the Johnston runners go forward. Hi There will love the ground and can make amends for a luckless run when shaping nicely here last year.
Sennockian Star 1pt e/w - WON @ 12/1
Hi There 1pt e/w - U/P @ 12/1
Ludlow has the best card today with regard to decent, open races and the opening handicap looks to be one in which to support
something of an outsider. Spoil Me is likeable but, like so many, he has something to prove and blinkers have to eek out a
fair bit of improvement. The rain in the air may not be ideal either. Topthorn could be the one but the jockey booking is
more concerning than interesting as I know little about him. Of most interest are Kayalar and Carhue Princess. The former
is from a yard in form and has run well here before. His chase debut last time wasn't overly encouraging but his mark is.
Carhue Princess hails from a yard without a winner in 34 starts but her mark is also slipping. Still 6lb higher than
her last win over hurdles, her second chase start was encouraging. Her win came on good to soft so the forecast is no worry
and there have been signs of a yard revival of late. There should be a hot pace here an that will likely suit this prominent
racer who probably wants further and her price looks too big at 14/1.
1pt e/w - U/P @ 16/1
The opening handicap chase looks a really strong race with a few that could well compete in a higher class. This is sure to be run a decent clip with Charingworth and Take The Mick front runners and Talkonthestreet, Boyfromnowhere and What A Warrior having had success from the front before. Either way, you'll need something that will stay and that's a worry for the very likeable What A Warrior, even at this sharper track. Charingworth will be up there but his run here on penultimate start off 3lb higher just suggests he'll find something too good. Boyfromnowhere wasn't exactly revitalised by the blinkers last time out but it was an improved run and what makes him interesting today is the better ground. His superb Fontwell win, off just 2lb lower, came on heavy ground but he has gone on good before and he will appreciate a proper test having looked a touch outpaced last time at this trip. It often pays to go with something racing prominently here and he arguably is pick of the bunch on stamina having won over 3 and a half miles. 14/1 is a nice price and, having jumped right last time, he's worth chancing now going this way round for the first time under rules.
1pt e/w - U/P @ 9/1
Kingsmere will probably win under his penalty this afternoon given how well he won a competitive contest at Cheltenham last week. However, he does have nearly 2 stone more on his back today on rain softened ground and this is a very strong class 3 on paper so there are reasons to oppose at 7/4. Church Field likes the spring and has dropped to a feasible winning mark again, especially with a capable claimer on his back. The 2 I like most are Midnight Cataria and Dragon's Den and both should be backed at the prices. The former looks progressive and her poor winter efforts can be put down to yard form. She won well off 9lb lower over course and distance back in February and then ran a cracker over shorter at Newbury in a hot Listed handicap. Back over further, she'll handle the ground and 7/1 looks generous. Dragon's Den has the notable booking of Richard Johnson and has looked as though a step up to 3 miles was needed on his last couple of starts. He wants decent ground but it should be no worse than good to soft come race time and he is just 5lb higher than for his staying on win here over shorter at this meeting 12 months ago. He technically has the beating of Church Field on their Cheltenham Thomas Crapper form and the yard is flying this spring so 12/1 looks generous.
Midnight Cataria 1pt e/w - U/P @ 7/1
Dragon's Den 1pt e/w - U/P @ 8/1
Clarcam should clearly be favourite for the opener at Fairyhouse based upon his run at Aintree. He was travelling so well
a Cheltenham before coming down and has now fully proved himself amongst this class. However, he's well found in the market
and there's another runner with Guitar Pete form that is bigger than he should be. Lindenhurst was quietly fancied
for the Triumph but had his race snatched away form him when hampered more than any other runner left standing at the 2nd
hurdle. It was always a long way back from there but he beat Guitar Pete off levels on penultimate start and was a close runner
up to him in their previous meeting. The yard are without an Irish jumps winner this year but sent out a point to point winner
2 weeks ago and the ground will be ideal for Lindenhrst. I can't find a better bet in the race than him at 8/1, though
what we don't know about Kitten Rock makes him an exciting prospect.
1pt e/w - 3rd @ 8/1
I've been through the Irish National and the horse that looks the best bet is Home Farm. Third in this last year, and a little unlucky 3 out, he is 5lb higher but the better ground should be in his favour and he should be a more competent all round performer now a second season chaser. Last time was a disappointment on softish ground but this is the target and 12/1 looks a very decent price. Off the same mark is Cheltenham 4 miler 4th Shutthefrontdoor and there's plenty to like about his chances at 12/1. He didn't jump well at Cheltenham but did incredibly well to finish where he did and the yard won this in 2007. Barry Geraghty is riding out of his skin and, though the race has gone to a couple of oldies of late, it has gone to plenty of young improvers in the past and this one looks like he could have a bit in hand with the handicapper off 142.
If Shutthefrontdoor has a sniff then so too must Rogue Angel off 12lb lower based on their Cheltenham run and he nearly gets the third nod. It's a bit naughty putting up three but then the price of Jamsie Hall is too generous to resist. He was a staying on 3rd behind Double Seven and Spring Heeled in the 3 mile Munster National and those 2 went on to win off 10lb and 5lb higher marks respectively. 3lb higher himself, Jamsie Hall has a capable 7lb claimer on top (who may put up a little overweight but so be it). He won a veterans chase at Aintree next time out off 3lb higher than he is rated today and his run over hurdles at Fairyhouse on penultimate start, on ground softer than ideal, was very encouraging. Last time out simply wasn't a suitable test over 2 and a half miles. Don't forget Pineau De Re's last win before his National success was in a veteran's chase and Gordon Elliott's 11 year old is never a 66/1 shot now going the furthest he's been on ground he loves.
Home Farm 1pt e/w - U/P @ 12/1
Shutthefrontdoor 1pt e/w - WON @ 8/1
Jamsie Hall 1pt e/w - 4th @ 40/1
The final handicap of the day isn't the most appealing on the card but there's a runner that finally drops back in trip and he's unarguably well handicapped. Please Talk finished behind He'llberemembered (won off 3lb higher), Pineau De Re (won Grand National off 21lb higher) and Spring Heeled (won at Cheltenham off 19lb higher) at Leopardstown a year ago and lines up here off 1lb lower. He looked the winner on penultimate start off the same mark but faded after the last and was then strangely upped in trip next time when running poorly here. He's not consistent but he simply doesn't stay 3 miles and even this 2 miles 6 furlongs and 100 yards will be on the stiff side. The ground could just be in his favour as he's won well on yielding before and it should help in the stamina department too. Jumping can be an issue but the yard are having a better spring than winter and he's so ready to win off this mark that 10/1 should be snapped up, especially with Paul Carberry back on top.
1pt e/w - U/P @ 12/1
Fairyhouse has some irresistibly big handicaps to have a go at and most attractive of them is the 2 mile hurdle. If Hisaabaat
wins it'll be painful but I've had to give up backing him, though he's unarguably well treated. The shortlist consists of
the following... Sailor's Warn is remarkable considering it looked as though he may not race again 15 months ago. He is shortest
of the bunch though and still not obviously well treated. Best bet looks to be Ally Cascade who has won with Paul Carberry
up top before and ran really creditably last time over 2 miles 4 furlongs. He looked the winner that day until the last furlong
or so and this drop back in trip is a big plus off just 1lb higher. He's a progressive course and distance winner and 11/1
is well worth snapping up. Next choice is between Stocktons Wing and Kylestyle, both 5 year olds. The latter has some
good novice form and his maiden win has worked out nicely but he's not exactly chucked in. The former is certainly well treated
on the form of his narrow defeat to Our Conor and defeat of Dogora over course and distance but the yard haven't sent out
a winner since September and he has finished last on 2 of his last 3 outings so something has clearly been amiss. He missed
his last engagement due to coughing so we must take it on trust that he comes here 100% but, with conditions in his favour
and a useful claimer booked, 20/1 is worth the risk.
Ally Cascade 1pt e/w - U/P @ 16/1
Stocktons Wing 1pt e/w - U/P @ 7/1
It feels sacrilegious putting up Ballycasey after slating his Cheltenham chances but that was mainly due to him running in the RSA over the JLT. He does not strike me as a 3 miler but looks every bit the 2 and a half miler, especially if it's a decent test at the trip. By Presenting, he likes good ground and the presence of Bright New Dawn is a plus as that runner usually ensures a decent gallop. I'd rather see that runner over 2 miles, rather see Mozoltov on testing ground, and just wonder if Rebel Fitz is actually capable of winning a Grade 1. Ballycasey made all to win the Moriarty but doesn't have Ruby Walsh doing the sectionals up top this afternoon. However, he may well be better suited by racing just off the lead, as he has done successfully before, and Bright New Dawn is a real blessing. The Ricci owned 7 year old, who had fallen in a schooling session pre Cheltenham, jumped and travelled well in the RSA before fading and I'll be surprised if he doesn't take this less competitive contest over a more favourable trip at 6/4.
3pt win - U/P @ 11/8
Kempton's opening handicap looks more competitive than having a 7/2 favourite would suggest and I wouldn't rush to back Ayaar.
This mark looked stiff last term and, though sold for 105,000gns after winning at Newmarket, this is his polytrack debut and
it's a tough ask under top weight. Glen Moss will also have to put in a career best to win but he likes it here and
has form fresh that reads 212. His Grey Mirage form in this race 12 months ago looks solid, with that runner going well yesterday
at Lingfield and previously winning of an 11lb higher mark, though this one is still 7lb higher. He's not a massive price
at 5/1 but is unexposed on polytrack and the yard are going strong. Upavon could be the danger in what may not be a
proper test at the trip. There should be more to come from this 4 year old that loves it here and 7/1 isn't a bad price at
1pt win - 2nd @ 11/4
Zibelina looks a really good thing today and I'm happy to take a short price about her. She is a French Group 3 winner and the form of her 1 and 3/4 length defeat to Lady's First and Integral looks strong. She had a penalty for that but escapes one today and it's a big ask for Zurigha, who is at least back on track, to give the Godolphin filly 3lb. Zibelina was a bit free last time off a sluggish pace and hopefully Amulet will take them along today and a decent pace. The interesting one is Auction who we haven't seen since July. She looked progressive after finishing 2nd in the Sandringham form 8lb out of the handicap and was only a couple of lengths behind Integral next time off levels. She has form to reverse with the favourite though and 15/8 looks generous for a filly that should relish her all weather debut.
3pt win - NON RUNNER
Sea Shanty's last start is about the best piece of handicap form going and Captain Cat capped it off yesterday by winning off a 13lb higher mark. Sea Shanty lines up off 1lb lower today and is 6/1. It's an open race with many dangers and if Frasers Hill is anything like the force of old then he could skate this but he's a risky option. If we argue that Sea Shanty is well treated then so too is George Cinq who beat the former at Sandown last term and is just 1lb worse off. That was his first start since a gelding operation and, given he came form the back off a muddling pace and lost a shoe inside the last furlong causing him to hang right, then be corrected and held by Spencer, he looks good value for the win. He disappointed in the Silver Cambridgeshire but the yard wasn't firing at the time and is in decent shape now. Soft ground didn't then seem to suit last time out. There's a chance he'll need the run but his record here reads 122 and he has the speed to cope with what may be another muddling pace at a healthy 10/1.
1pt e/w - U/P @ 8/1
Carlisle has a few nifty prices to take and first up is handicap debutant May's Boy at 7/1. His hurdles debut was modest but he came on leaps and bounds for it next time when sandwiched between Population and Getabuzz. The form of that run looks good and would suggest he can be competitive off a mark of at least 110. He lines up off 106 with a capable 5lb claimer in the saddle today and will like the ground. He goes well fresh too and can surely be competitive. Vinstar is a worthy favourite on his novice form but a lacklustre win last time, when he should have won comfortably on ratings, wouldn't make me a backer at 11/8 and even Lone Foot Laddie, who was better than the bare result on penultimate start, makes more appeal.
1pt e/w - U/P @ 7/1
This has the potential to be a very good or a very bad shout. I've been waiting for American Life to run on decent ground over 3 miles at a galloping track for a few months now in the hope he turns up at a big price. He doesn't do much winning and the yard are 0-26 since January, but the way this one shaped at Sandown, and has done throughout the season, suggests he can at least go close at 14/1. His last and only UK win came 16 months ago on heavy ground but he is a German fast ground winner on the flat and is worth a go on good ground at this trip, and most importantly at a galloping, testing track. Sandown saw his best run to date, coming of a strong gallop over 2 miles 6 furlongs and he would have been 2nd but for falling at the last. He's 2lb lower and fresh from the disappointment of the sharper track at Bangor. Unfortunately there's no great pace likely today but at least this trip and track will ensure something of a test. Tartan Tiger is next best but a risk after nearly 2 years off.
1pt e/w - 3rd @ 17/2
Castilo Del Diablo was very impressive in his Kempton win last time but has a bit to find with Litigant for his effort on
penultimate start. There's also a chance he is better suited to Kempton and he'll want them to go a fair old lick here to
be most effective, though cheekpieces are clearly a big plus. Arch Villain isn't as big a name as some of these and
this is a great deal tougher than the course and distance race he won in January. He ran well here the time before under 10
stone though and the time of his win is very encouraging. He's progressive and overpriced at 10/1. Litigant will be
tough to beat but his time was less impressive here and he's short for what could be an out and out test at the trip.
1pt e/w - 2nd @ 8/1
Stepper Point was mightily impressive in his win last time and should appreciate this step up to 6 furlongs. Lancelot Du Lac and Hawkeyethenoo are closely matched on form and the bigger price about the latter makes him the most interesting, especially if they go a good gallop, which he will certainly need. Addictive Dream is a massive price but it is tough to see him winning this and it's Valbchek who looks the sensible option. He was a disappointment on turf towards the end of last session but won over course and distance on his last outing and that was a career best. That took his course and distance record to 2 form 2, in a super time, and there should be more to come from him on the all weather. Ryan Moore is always a plus and I can't really see him out of the frame at 7/1.
1pt e/w - U/P @ 3/1
There is no point going through everything in the final race as I was going to put up Solar Deity no matter who else lined up. As it happens he probably doesn't want too much of a test and a couple of Johnston runners is a worry on the face of it. Marshgate Lane is the most likely to go forward and if he is the only one, he will be setting a steady gallop, his best chance of success. The bigger field will make that tough and Solar Deity should overturn the form with him for their Wolves run in December. The Botti horse ran well at Meydan, especially on his first start there and always looked as though this would be his trip this term. Robin Hoods Bay looks very short as he needs luck in running and Grandeur isn't a bad bet at all given a far better daw than last time, especially as he is the top rated by some distance, but the selection is that little bit more exciting at 6/1.
1pt e/w - U/P @ 6/1
Johann Strauss, yet to win in 4 starts, is a 13/8 shot in a race with a fair few Derby entrants. He reposes with Seagull Star
who beat him on debut and we are yet to see that well bred colt again since. I'd far rather have the 11/2 about him. However,
there's every chance that Johann Strauss form leaves a little to be desired whereas I'm quite keen on the form of Sudden
Wonder, who finished a staying on 4th behind Breeders Cup Juvenile winner Outstrip and yesterday's star performer True
Story on debut. He was then 2nd to another Godolphin 3 year old in Pinzolo, who franked that form before a run too bad to
be true at the end of last season when 4/1 2nd favourite for the Racing Post Trophy. Sudden Wonder hacked up last time out
and looks like he will be best at middle distances. He's a very nice price at 4/1 given he should surely be favourite.
2pt win - WON @ 7/1
Aljamaaheer is the best horse in the Abernant Stakes but is dropping in trip and, whilst I think he'll win, he's a no bet at 6/4. Given how strong the favourite's Group form is, however, I'm not tempted by the short enough 6/1 about Tropics, who is a lovely horse and certainly capable of winning more Group races. Racy is a nice price on his Meydan form with Medicean Man but isn't exactly unexposed and it's Heaven's Guest who I'm not sure we've seen the best of yet. He looks a Group class sprinter but disappointed in the Champions Sprint at Ascot (Group 2) in what was pretty testing ground. Cut is no problem but today's ground should suit him that little bit better and he's worth another go at 14/1 with Ryan Moore on top, who is 2 from 3 on him. He'll want a proper test and that's not guaranteed but so too will the market principals and I think this 4 year old is better than we saw last time when disappointing at Doncaster, again on soft ground.
1pt e/w - U/P @ 12/1
This is a selection based solely on the price but it's definitely worth chancing Gospel Choir back over 9 furlongs at 16/1. He's very well bred and, only a 5 year old who had just the 3 starts last term after missing the first half of the season, he looks capable of a win in this company. Ideally he wants 10 furlongs and he stays a mile and a half. His last win came over that trip but it was a muddling gallop that day and he may have the pace for this trip, it certainly looks that way on breeding…just. The hope is that Boom And Bust and Elkaayed ensure this is a proper test and the ground looks ideal. We can forgive him his last run when racing on his own at Ascot but he was sent off 3/1 co favourite for that Group company debut and has won fresh before. Elkaayed would be next best at the prices given it's a race where fault can be found in the 3 market principals. She may be good enough but I wouldn't touch Just The Judge at 7/2, personally.
1pt e/w - U/P @ 11/1
The big field mares hurdle has 4 that really catch the eye. I like Beyeh given her form with Pass The Time and Koolala means she should be closer to those in the market than she is. This is a step up though and she's inconsistent. There are 2 main bits of form for this - Cheltenham's mares hurdle and and the recent Newbury handicap. From the Mares Hurdle Top Totti looks best off at the weights now back in a handicap and the fact that she has won over 3 miles and likes good ground makes her bet of the race. The yard are back firing and I'm amazed she's as big as 14/1. From the Newbury handicap a coupe of disappointments are worth noting. Paul Nicholls saddles Fairytale Theatre and Oliver Sherwood saddles Luci Di Mezzanotte. Both yards had a torrid March but are back firing and their mares are better than they showed last time. The latter must get the nod at a massive 28/1, though she has a bit to find with the former, who travelled well before fading at Newbury, and has only a 3lb pull. She was staying on in a Listed contest on penultimate start over 3 miles 1 where she outran her price and looked good value for when back in a handicap. Out of the weights last time, she carries little on her back today and has Thomas Garner taking off a useful 5lb. That bumper form with The Pirate's Queen is well with noting and, in first time blinkers for a yard banging in the winners, she looks to have been underestimated.
Top Totti 1pt e/w - U/P @ 10/1
Luci Di Mezzanotte 1pt e/w - U/P @ 33/1
The market looks to have the favourite sussed for the staying chase and Ackertac has a great chance. Time For Rupert must have strong claims now the visor has brought him back to life but another from his race last time, who only finished a staying on 7 lengths behind him, makes much more sense as a bet. Bradley wants decent ground and loves it here. He will appreciate this extra couple of furlongs, not to mention the hill, more than Time For Rupert and Gauvin, and looks well treated on the basis of his 3rd here behind stable companion Alvarado back in November. Off the same mark, this is easier on paper and a touch shorter. That form has worked out very well and hopefully he'll get going sooner rather than later (strong finisher) at a tasty 9/1.
1pt e/w - U/P @ 13/2
Sometimes when you see a horse in the flesh and note the performance you want to back it more next time out, because you were
there last time. That's probably what is happening with Toofi but, having disappointed when favourite for the £500k
2yo Trophy in October, I'm happy to give him another chance at a very generous 5/1. We know he is classy given he beat
the Group placed Jallota early last season and he still finished well from the back of the field last time in a race won by
a leader-stalker. Wedding Ring will be a danger but, like the selection, she looks like she wants further and whether she
has the speed for this is questionable. Naadirr is a big danger and would be the selection if he was more like 8/1 or 9/1
but 11/2 is short given the proven class in this field.
2pt win - 2nd @ 9/4
It's tricky to be clever in the Nell Gwyn and, whilst I don't think we will see the eventual Guineas winner in action, those prominent in the market are tricky to oppose. Sandiva could turn out to be seriously good value at 7/2 but her run in Paris was a touch disappointing on ground that looked likely to suit and favourites do not have the best record in this. Dorothy B will very likely make the frame but I can still see something pipping her to it and it's a choice between the 2 Godolphin runners for a bet. Folk Melody is very interesting on her second career start and her form ahead of Enraptured, who finished ahead of another next time winner, is very solid. She should be good enough for Group company but she looks more an Oaks filly and I'm tempted to back her for that. Majeyda is more exposed than plenty of these but is a dual Listed winner and Group placed filly who wasn't quite as good as Ihtimal on her first try at a mile, no disgrace there. She was disappointing in Paris but, although she followed it up with a win on soft ground here at the end of last season, she has a pedigree that suggests better ground will suit. She is 2 form 2 with today's jockey on top and 14/1 looks generous. We know she gets a mile but she's not short on speed and that Ihtimal form makes her too big this afternoon.
1pt e/w - 3rd @ 6/1
The Fielden Stakes looks a strong renewal with a couple of Guineas and Derby entrants lining up and it's tricky to look beyond the top 3 in the market. I want to get rid of Somewhat whose form behind Berkshire wasn't exactly franked last week and, whilst his Be Ready form is very impressive, he was allowed to dominate that day. His Doncaster effort last term certainly leaves him looking vulnerable at 7/2 for all this is a drop in class. Barley Mow should be a better prospect on this better ground than he had the chance to show last term but it's the unexposed Saeed Bin Suroor colt True Story who looks a likely winner. He was seriously impressive on 2 starts over 7 furlongs here last year, winning last time and finishing a respectable 2nd behind Champagne Stakes and Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Outstrip on debut. He looks as if a step up in trip will suit and expect to see him going off shorter than the 3/1 currently available.
2pt win - WON @ 5/2
I wasn't sure I was going to have a bet in Cheltenham's opening handicap hurdle as there are plenty on the shortlist but then I saw Edgardo Sol was 16/1. That makes him one of the bets of the year at the prices. His effort at Aintree last time can be scrapped given the yard couldn't buy a winner but his run over course and distance in the Coral Cup should see him a single figure price this afternoon. He was beaten 9 lengths in a better race and is eased a useful 3lb. His previous start over course and distance saw him beaten 5 and a half lengths off 5lb higher and cheekpieces could give him that little bit extra needed to win this. It's easy to forget he's still only a 7 year old and he's back to a really handy mark with the yard flying so expect him to go well in ideal conditions. He's probably his price because he's winless in 2 years but is edging closer. Broadway Buffalo is another that looks too big at 12/1 whilst Thomas Crapper and, perhaps more so, Brother Brian look the most likely winners but are on the short side in an open contest.
1pt e/w - 3rd @ 14/1
Persian Snow and Buywise make most appeal in the next but neither are at all that attractive a price and are probably best left alone. The big field handicap hurdle has a group of likeable sorts nearer the bottom of the weights and both Bob Keown and Even If bring strong form into this. Both certainly look as though they will handle the step up in class. The former is a bigger price at 14/1 and, though up 8lb from his 2nd last time when running under a penalty for his Exeter romp, he should appreciate this step back up in trip and, crucially, the better ground. He was beaten by a well treated soft ground lover over an inadequate trip that day and he looks big for this, especially considering Rebecca Curtis runners are a different proposition since the spring. Withoutdefavourite is another that should improve for the step up in trip but doesn't have quite such strong form, whilst likely favourite Pay The King, undoubtedly well treated, still has plenty to prove. Cove was beaten by a decent sort last time but does have her work cut out against the boys and I worry about her seeing out the trip but Ballyheigue Bay, who was a few lengths behind her on penultimate start giving away weight, should relish 3 miles. He's a point winner that appreciates decent ground and was staying on strongly behind a progressive Pipe hurdler last time, making up some 11 lengths after the last. He's not exactly chucked in on handicap debut but is worth supporting at 16/1 and his Cove form suggests he could have something in hand off 114 for another yard enjoying a good couple of months.
Ballyheigue Bay 1pt e/w - U/P @ 16/1
Bob Keown 1pt e/w - 3rd @ 10/1
The ground has to be a slight concern for Kingman backers given that he will not run in the Guineas if it's too fast. In truth, him missing the race for a tilt at the often easier ground French Guineas seems unlikely but it looks sensible to get a decent priced fast ground lover on side. If Kingman doesn't run, prices will look a great deal different and Toormore looks big at the moment, even at 3rd favourite. His form with Outstrip from last year is about the best juvenile form going given what that Godolphin colt went on to achieve and it's difficult to see him not hacking up in the Craven. The race lacks a little strength in depth though and, considering the support for Kingman, dramatic shortening of the Hannon first string doesn't seem likely.
It's another Hannon runner that I want to have on side and, at this stage, he's not guaranteed to line up. Shifting Power can be considered the 3rd string for Hannon in the Guineas and is thus entered in a handicap at Newmarket tomorrow, with the principals lining up in Group company trials at Newmarket and Newbury. Plenty of former winners of this race have gone on to contest the Guineas though and I expect Shifting Power to be promoted to 2nd string after tomorrow with Night Of Thunder being re-routed to France a week later. He seems to want a little cut in the ground and a form reversal with Kingman looks nigh on impossible at this stage. Toormore will be the principal Hannon danger to the Greenham winner but the trainer has been keen to mention Shifting Power in the same bracket as his main 3 year olds this term and, if he wins well tomorrow, 25/1 will be long gone (not to mention the 70 about on the machine). How he fairs with Parbold will be interesting given that runner wasn't too far behind Toormore and Outstrip at Goodwood but a convincing performance by this as yet unbeaten colt should guarantee him his place in the Guineas line-up, bar soft ground. The form of Shifting Power's Newmarket race, which he won whilst still green but by an easy 6 lengths, looks strong with Treaty Of Paris going in to win a Group 3 at York. His receipt of weight from the 2nd made no difference to the result and it was an impressive display on just a 2nd racecourse outing. He's a giant frame, has been looked after, and a mile looks ideal given his obvious speed (he's by Compton Place) combined with plenty of stamina on his dam's side. Whether Shifting Power can be a match for Kingman is highly debatable but he is a lively dark horse for a Guineas in which those further down the betting have, understandably, been largely ignored.
Shifting Power 1pt e/w
Once again Exeter deserve plenty of credit for putting up a really competitive midweek card. The 18 runner handicap is a must
and Rydon Pines is a runner I'm very keen on. The yard hasn't sent out a winner this year and that has to be a concern
but, equally, they don't send out many runners and this one is definitely going the right way. He was just held by Upswing
at Newbury in February and should be better suited by a much sounder surface this afternoon. He is 3lb higher but further
progression can't be ruled out. As long as a fall last time in the Albert Bartlett (when punching above his weight) hasn't
hurt his confidence, this course winner is my idea of the winner today at 8/1. If he has a chance then so too must
Brackloon High, 3rd at Newbury, but he isn't consistent and another I like, Sir Kezbah, who won this off a higher mark a few
years ago, is probably too risky even at 33/1. A solid bet looks to be Forresters Folly at 25/1 for a yard in
top form. He looks a spring ground horse that has been kept away from soft going and his last win came 12 months ago after
a winter break. The form of that ahead of Warden Hill and Courtesy Call definitely gives him a chance off this mark and I
prefer him to the yards other, shorter in the betting runner. Chasing didn't work and he's too big back hurdling and back
Rydon Pines 1pt e/w - 3rd @ 11/2
Forresters Folly 1pt e/w - U/P @ 28/1
There's plenty to like about Jayandbee's chances today and he should reverse form with Orange Nassau for their meeting earlier this term. I sided with the former that day and the Longsdon form left me reeling but there's a chunky weight pull in Jayandbee's favour and he's a decent bet at 9/2. However, there are some more appealing prices around and an older horse is sometimes a safer bet in these marathons. Inside Dealer is in no sort of form in paper but the yard were a little down in the dumps when he ran last and they finally kicked into gear in March. April looks modest with just 1 win on the board but the horses are running well enough and this 10 year old has dropped to a handy mark. He has won or been placed here on 3 of 6 starts and been placed 3 times back from a break. 9lb lower than his last win when running over 3 and a half miles, he's worth a go back over a marathon trip and, on ground that will suit, is too big at 14/1. The lack of a tongue tie worries me but he used to go well without it.
1pt e/w - U/P @ 12/1
Yeeoow is very tempting this afternoon at Pontefract in their feature handicap but he is becoming a touch disappointing. His
effort last time could be put down to the different surface but there's also a chance he wants further now and isn't a nice
bet at 6/1. Newstead Abbey is pick of the bigger prices but still has a bit to find and is drawn quite wide. I'm really not
keen on Majestic Myles' draw or he would be the selection running fresh but too often I try and get something drawn in double
figures to win here and they don't. A sensible bet is Annunciation who is only 3lb higher than his last win and had
a nice cobweb blower last time on the all weather. Further progression looks likely this year and, though this trip is probably
a minimum, he's well drawn enough to sit handy off a likely decent pace. There's every chance something is a little better
treated but I can't see this one out of the frame at 11/2.
1pt win - 2nd @ 8/1
With the Nell Gwyn and the Craven coming up this week it's worth trying to guess how the market for the Guineas will look on Friday morning and taking advantage now. I want to wait a day for the 2000 Guineas to add to the Kingman bet but there's one worth getting on side now for the 1000. It's a funny market at the moment because those at the head of it are shortening without running. That's because Miss France disappointed in France and nothing pinged out of a weakish race at Newbury last week. As for the Nell Gwyn, I can't see the likes of Amazing Maria or Sandiva or Queen Catrine or Dorothy B running away with it and may look to side with something with a profile like last year's winner, something completely unexposed. Either way, those at the front of the 1000 Guineas market may be even stronger come Friday morning. Rizeena deserves to be favorite but she isn't an ante post bet. I'm not convinced Tapestry deserves to be as short as she is currently, though she is trained by a genius, and as much as I like Ihtimal, she surely is more an Oaks filly. It's My Titania, who I should have put up a week ago, that has to go into the ante post book at 9/1. She echoes the profile of her sire Sea the Stars who crept into the Guineas with an unbeaten run out of Group company. John Oxx knows how to win this as a result and his filly has a really likeable profile as far as a decent ante post bet goes. I'm convinced she will be shorter on the day and, especially without the best filly of last year in Chriselliam, this filly with the quieter profile, having been kept away from all of the other challengers to date, is worth having on side.
1000 Guineas - My Titania 1pt win
Just the one today and it's one of the horses I put up for the County Hurdle now back on the flat. Thomas Edison shaped
nicely at Cheltenham but didn't pick up and a mixture of quick ground and the odd shoddy jump meant he wasn't near good enough.
He's been unlucky in plenty of his races and I'm sure he has enough ability to win races like this today off a mark of 78
on handicap debut. His 3 flat efforts to date have twice seen him beaten by a 3 year old he's had to give bags of weight to
and the form of his flat debut suggests this mark is lowly. The trip is probably a minimum but the ground is certainly in
his favour and he's worth another chance at 13/2.
1pt e/w - WON @ 7/2
The Scottish National has a couple worth siding with and first up is Green Flag. His run at Cheltenham was very encouraging
and the form behind Ma Filleule and Holywell couldn't be better. He's still only 7 and off a handy mark based on that last
run. I think he'll go close for the local(ish) team at 12/1. The other is old friend Merry King who I've backed
for every run this season. He's yet to win but has seen a profitable return given his consistency at big prices. I wish Richie
McLernon was on top but he has a fine substitute and we can forget that effort last time when he broke a blood vessel. His
Welsh National run gives him a chance and the team are in better form coming into this. Slightly better ground will also help
and he's a nice price at 22/1.
Green Flag 1pt e/w - U/P @ 9/1
Merry King 1pt e/w - 4th @ 16/1
I think Kingman will win today and is worth backing for the Guineas. Australia definitely looks too short and he's more my idea of the Derby winner. Kingman has everything in his favour for the May showpiece and he'll be nothing like 7/1 if he wins well this afternoon.
2000 Guineas - Kingman 1pt win
I want to give J Wonder another chance at 11/1 given she was sent off favourite for her Group run at the end if last season and wasn't exactly disgraced in a very classy field. Meehan suggested it was the fast ground that caused her problems and it'll be quick today but not quite as quick. I'm not all that keen on those at the head of the market and think we could have something of a surprise, as apprised to the Greenham. It's too soon to write of her Group chances.
1pt e/w - WON @ 4/1
It may just be worth chancing Burwaaz at Newbury this afternoon, though there is a sniff of heart ruling head here.
I really like this horse and he showed that plenty of pre-injury ability remains when 3rd in the Stewards Cup off 1lb higher
(2lb higher mark but he's 1lb out of the handicap this afternoon). He has a Duke Of York entry so connections are happy to
keep gong with this once very smart Group performer and it's a big ask for the progressive Dutch Masterpiece to give a stone
to him. He has weakened on both his last couple of 6 furlong starts and is a nice price at 8/1 now back over 5. Kyleakin
Lass is another I followed last season but this is still a tough ask. The drying ground is not in Ballesteros' favour but
I fancy he'll give those at the head of the market something to think about.
1pt e/w - NON RUNNER
I was very keen to put Solix up this afternoon at Ayr but am a touch disappointed by his price, which should be bigger. He still has plenty to prove for all that first time blinkers and a drop in trip are likely to help. Bless The Wings has also dropped to a likeable mark but has to prove he's still capable of being a threat and 6/1 isn't all that generous. Headly's Bridge won a modest 4 runner affair last time and this is tougher but he's good value for his win on penultimate start and, perhaps more so, his close second over hurdles to Aldopicgros who hacked up last month at Newbury. 2 from 2 over fences, we probably haven't see the best of him and he'll be better suited by a lead today as opposed to having to make the running last time. 5/1 is more attractive than 7/2 about the still loftily weighted Tap Night.
1pt win - 3rd @ 6/1
A really good Mares' Hurdle sees the very likeable Mickie at the top of the weights but this is some ask against some really unexposed younger sorts. Twin Plan is no more than interesting and the McCoy booking may well drive the price down too close to that of the market leaders. I want to back whichever is bigger out of Bull And Bush and Clara Mc Cloud and actually think the former should edge favouritism. Alan King has his yard in great shape and this 5 year old is open to bags on improvement. She was better than the bare form of her win last time and relished the step up to 3 miles. This is tougher but a 6lb penalty looks lenient and 7/2 a touch generous. Hopefully the ground continues to dry as she will not want it soft. Gordon Elliott's 6 year old is also a last time out winner and she will want it the softer the better. I'm not so sure she's as well treated under her penalty though and has to prove she can follow up her effort last time having run modestly on her first 2 starts for the yard.
2pt win - U/P @ 3/1
I must have missed something because Cayman Islands shouldn't be favourite today, nor Divine Intavention. Highway Code
looks a much more solid option off what should prove a handy mark. He goes on any ground but good ground over 2 miles here
last time was always going to prove too sharp a test. He wants 2 and a half miles and, given his defeat of Massena before
being outclassed at Cheltenham, 128 looks lenient. The yard are going well and 5/1 is worth taking. Great Value is
exactly that at 11/1 but he may find one too good and if Tara Rose wins it will hurt but she is not to be trusted at present.
1pt win - 3rd @ 8/1
The following hurdle sees another John Ferguson runner, Chat Room, at the head of the market and this time justifiably so. He is progressive over hurdles and a 5lb rise looks reasonable in what is a weakish contest for its class. Tiger O'Toole is tempting but reason has to get in the way given what he has shown of late. There is one unexposed sort who could serve it up to the favourite on what is his handicap debut. Ever Fortune doesn't exactly looked chucked in off 105 but I like a debutant in this sphere in races lacking depth like this and he looks big at 12/1. Definitely better than the bare result last time when unlucky in running, that run gives him a chance off his mark and his debut was encouraging in a race where few have made handicap bows so his mark is a little tricky to analyse. I see that as a positive for this 5 year old whose best effort came last time out and he'll like the ground this afternoon over a sharp 2 miles which should suit.
1pt e/w - U/P @ 14/1
4 year olds have a good record in Nottingham's Listed feature this afternoon and both Flying Officer and Mighty Yar have a
good chance. The latter is preference for a yard I hope have a good year and this colt could be Group quality. He is very
sort at 7/2 though, given what he has beaten in just 2 starts, and not really a bet for me. Earth Amber continues to flatter
to deceive but is worth noting in conditions that should suit. Biographer should be favourite on what he's shown so far, especially
when not beaten far on Champions Day, but Repeater is the really interesting one. He's shown signs of fulfilling his
potential since moving to David O'Meara and could easily be Listed quality. He was a close 3rd to Times Up in a Group 2 on
yard debut and the hood has clearly helped. The saddle slipped next time and 1 mile 4 was too sharp on Champions Day. We haven't
seen the best of him yet, he has very little to find with High Jinx, and the ground will suit at 11/1. I do, unfortunately,
fancy he'll find something too good but he's a nice price.
1pt e/w - U/P @ 10/1
The feature handicap at Carlisle isn't the strongest but I ilke the chances of Lucinda Russell's Ben Akram over the
favourite. He finally got off the mark last time at Musselburgh and should improve for a little more of a test this afternoon
over a furlong further and at a stiffer track. He ran poorly on penultimate start but that was in heavy ground and, more importantly,
came at a time when the yard could't find winners. They are in much better shape now and 7/2 is a fair price. Stuart
Coltherd's duo are of interest but the favourite is 13lb worse off for his meeting with the selection last year and is probably
seen to better effect on genuinely good ground. Doubledisdoubledat is the danger but he has to be guessed at really having
shown nothing prior to this handicap debut.
1pt win - U/P @ 7/2
I put up Hawaii Klass last time at Musselburgh and the track really didn't seem to suit him. A course and distance winner here, he looks more at home at this galloping tack and I still think he can defy his current mark, 11lb higher than his last success. He was staying on last time before unseating but I don't think he would have won. However, the ground had softened dramatically that day and only 3 went off in the end from 10 declarations. Though he has won on soft, Hawaii Klass wants decent ground and hopefully it remains good to soft this afternoon. After his last win his trainer said 'He´s a half-brother to Harry Flashman and the whole family seem to prefer this time of the year, from March onwards. It´s a weird thing" and that's worth noting. His run back from a break here behind Etxalar was encouraging and I expect him to reverse that form on better ground and with a 5lb pull in his favour. The danger is Indian Voyage but Etxalar has a chance of holding him again given an 11lb pull in his favour from their December meeting. That makes the selection best of the lot of them and a really nice bet at 17/2. Tom Scudamore rides only 1 horse today, Ultra Du Chalet, whose mark has tumbled and is justifiably a 7/2 shot. I'm not convinced he's worthy of that though and will happily swerve.
1pt e/w - U/P @ 9/1
As the flat season gets under way it's time to start swinging the bat at the code which will feature more and more throughout April. The feature handicap at Pontefract is interesting as we have a few course and distance winners to note. The main 2 are Las Verglas Star and Easy Terms, both of whom will appreciate any early morning rain. The former hasn't won for over 18 months but that last win did come here off 4lb higher so he should be a danger. It was a 4 runner race though and this looks more competitive. Sennockian Star, like many a Johnston runner, will be a danger if allowed to dominate but that looks unlkely given at least 3 others that have led in the past. I'd have Amralah over Centurius at the top of the market and couldn't put anyone off backing him at 7/2 but the bet of the race and day is Easy Terms. She won over course and distance first time out 2 seasons ago off 4lb lower and followed it up with a win at York off 3lb higher than she races off today. She returned to run 4th in this last year off 7lb higher, proving she is definitely worth noting fresh, when doing best of those held up and has a 3lb pull with Las Verglas Star this afternoon. How she is considered a 16/1 shot is beyond me. She should be half that, especially given a likely good gallop over the trip, something she could have done with more of 12 months ago.
1pt e/w - U/P @ 11/1
It may be worth taking a chance with Endeavour this afternoon at an overpriced 8/1 given those near the top
of the market have something to prove. There is nothing progressive in the race and Dianne Sayer's 9 year old has had 4 of
his 10 wins at this track, including the last 3. He probably wants further and has looked outpaced on recent starts over 2
miles but softening ground and some likely front runners should hopefully turn his into a bit of a test. He has won on heavy,
though in truth he will not want the ground too testing given the majority of his wins have come with 'good' in the going
description. Inoogoo has dropped to a handy mark but is worse off for his meeting with the selection last November and was
held on that occasion. Sudski Star is a sensible option given a staying on performance last time but he's short for what was
weak handicap form.
1pt e/w - U/P @ 5/1
Sealous Scout is an obvious choice in the next but I want to take him on at 2/1. A McCain horse ridden by McCoy is always going to attract support and will probably win but will generally go off a false price and you'll not make money if you back too many of them. As a stand alone race, Sealous Scout will probably be asked to go forward and will very likely have company. McCoy has been riding brilliantly from the front of late but, for all his mount is off a handy mark, he has to prove he can handle a test over the furthest he's been. The 2 I like are bottom weight Caerlaverock and Bop Along. The former seemingly wants at least this far and will handle deteriorating ground. He's still shorter than I'd like though and Bop Along is a nice option at 9/1. He is a stone well in for handicap debut on the basis of his course and distance run nearly 18 months ago and showed the promise of that was still there when winning a modest contest last month on return. This is a step up and the big worry is the ground but that can be overcome if his opening mark is handy enough.
1pt e/w - NON RUNNER
A course and distance specialist has to be respected and we have one in the feature handicap in the form of Or De Grugy. The rain will cause him no trouble at all but I don't think he should be favourite. He's a 12 year old that tends to find something too good from this sort of mark and this is not a weak contest. Fiddlers Reel will likely prove popular given he won well last time but he too is off a lofty mark for a double figure age runner and is not guaranteed to appreciate the softening ground (if it doesn't rain today at Kelso then we're probably stuffed!). 10lb higher than for a narrow defeat here a month ago, he looks short at 7/2. I have Fentara as favourite so she looks a solid option at 4/1. She wants at least this far so hopefully they don't hang around but this is a drop in class form when a closing 2nd here last time over 3 miles 2 and she will relish the forecast rain. By Kayf Tara, her best efforts have come on heavy ground and it was a super performance 16 days ago on good ground, ahead of Gullinbursti who ran well at the weekend. A poor effort on penultimate start can be blamed on blinkers and she has a great chance today, especially with Or De Grugy and Kealigolane ensuring a half decent gallop.
2pt win - WON @ 11/4
Yesterday's words "I was all out to back Pineau De Re" may haunt me for some time. Ultimately I did back him but this column
and the support of it is important to me and boy I wish I'd tipped him. Onwards… Arvika Ligeonniere goes back right handed
today but he's no bet at 4/7. I'm much happier supporting stable companion Twinlight who looks a likely 2nd and can
cause an upset at 6/1. He had a throat infection when not showing up at Naas and didn't jump that well at Kempton on
penultimate start but that was also over a trip that really doesn't suit him. A strongly run 2 miles or 2 miles 1 is best
and he'll get that today. He has been rated just 4lb lower than the favourite in the past and there's too much between them
at the prices.
1pt e/w - 2nd @ 5/1
The Novice Handicap Chase is wide open but there's only 1 I want to back. Barry Geraghty is riding out of his skin at the moment, having had a superb couple of festivals, and any booking with his name is a positive one. He rides the recently below par Some Tikket this afternoon and 10/1 is bigger than it should be. First and foremost he will handle conditions. All his wins have come on soft or heavy and, though former trainer Dermot Weld once said he'd prefer better ground, he is bred to handle plenty of cut and should be at home this afternoon. He gets further but Weld also said he'd make a nice flat horse and he has a fair bit of speed in his armoury. A decent test here should suit and he looks well treated for this handicap debut on the basis of his win at the start of the year. Dogora is a danger but has a stiff opening mark and perhaps the other Mullins runner is the threat in these conditions.
1pt e/w - WON @ 6/1
Wicklow Brave is a strong favourite to win today and, though a fan of Valseur Lido, the former may be that much better. If he does win then it will be another boost to the form of Lieutenant Colonel who I think deserves another chance at middle distances after running a touch below expectation in the Neptune. Faugheen, for example, was always likely to handle good ground but not so Dessie Hughes' 5 year old. He should be better with some cut and he has won here over hurdles before. 2 and a half miles should be no problem on breeding and he's worth backing at 13/2 given Apache Stronghold has to give weight all round and Renneti doesn't convince a truly run 2 and a half miles will suit.
1pt e/w - WON @ 5/1
The 3 mile 1 Boylesports handicap Chase has a few that like to go forward and it would be no surprise to see this go to a National type. I think Are Ya Right Chief wants plenty further than this but will relish the testing ground and should also be seen to good effect at this stiffish track. He'll be waited with but that should be no bad thing and he's favourite in my book. Cheekpieces are a possible plus and 12/1 looks generous. Civena seems well treated on handicap debut, so too Golden Wonder, though top-weight could be tricky to defy. Glenquest is back off his last winning mark but will likely find something too good and the other selection in this open contest is Sword Fish, the never off the bridle winner of the Cork National back in November, who looks so much better than a mark of 116. 7lb higher than for his win, he has been way out of form of late but if a first time hood spells improvement then he can make a mockery of 20/1. His 4 career wins have been sparked by a change of headgear and it's only his 2 recent starts that have been too bad to be true. He ran ok off 7lb higher at Punchestown and the yard were out of form for his run on penultimate start. Last time is a worry but he's definitely better than that. He has little weight this afternoon and an all important course and distance win to his name.
Sword Fish 1pt e/w - U/P @ 20/1
Are Ya Right Chief 1pt e/w - U/P @ 11/1
Something for every race today. The opening hurdle is fascinating given the mixture of Cheltenham runners and other very progressive
types. The 2 from the Supreme are Un Ace and Wilde Blue Yonder and, given the strength of that form after Josses Hill
and Sgt Reckelss ran so well yesterday, they make most appeal. The 2 were around 2 lengths apart in the middle part of that
race and so too at the finish with Kim Bailey's runner looking most likely to improve for a step up in trip. That said, Alan
King's classy 5 year old will also appreciate the extra distance but he is that bit shorter, and so he should be. The fact
that this is only Un Ace's 3rd hurdles start though makes him so interesting and 9/1 is very fair indeed. Hopefully
the rain doesn't dampen his chances but the earlier the race the better given it will be wet throughout the afternoon. Interesting
that Geraghty chooses Oscar Hoof over Volnay De Thaix and the former would be choice of the rest.
1pt e/w - U/P @ 8/1
The Maghull perhaps lacks that big name but is ultra competitive and it has probably got to come down to who is most likely to win as opposed to digging out some value. I want to rule out Hinterland who has always flattered to deceive and the form of his Henry VIII Sandown win looks dubious. Next Sensation is a front running trail blazer that could well be of this class but is rather proximal in the market to the 2 that look the most likely winners. Next Sensation will ensure this is a proper test and the fact that Balder Success is a winner, and track record breaker at Chepstow no less, over 2 and a half miles gives him the edge. Trifolium was impressive in his Leopardstown win but the form of that can be questioned given how Felix Yonger disappointed at Cheltenham and the fact that Defy Logic broke a blood vessel, and he doesn't always see his races out that strongly. He may also want a little more cut in the ground and Balder Success, who should be 5 from 6 since sent chasing, is the pck at 4/1. He wasn't right behind Hinterlard at Sandown but has been superb since and the yard are in top form.
2pt win - WON @ 7/2
The stayers' hurdle is a cracker and I think At Fishers Cross will win. I will have a nibble but it's not a race to go crazy stakes about. The spanner in the works could be Melodic Rendezvous who will appreciate the rain and may stay the trip, we just don't know. Zarkandar ran very well in the World Hurdle but you'd think Melodic has the edge on him…if he stays. It's too big an if to take though and, with the likes of Thousand Stars and the ever prominent Whisper ensuring a proper test, At Fishers Cross has all the credentials to reclaim his crown. That World Hurdle is the strongest piece of Grade 1 hurdling form this season and his 6 length 3rd gives him right to go off shorter than the 13/8 currently available.
2pt win - 2nd @ 11/8
Having tried and failed to find a big price handicap winner this week, I'll settle for any winner and do like a couple of shorties for the opening handicap of the day. Victor Hewgo looks about 10lb well in on his form this year and should be backed at 7/2. He will want every bit of this in truth but a strong pace will help and he has been 2nd to 3 subsequent winners (including an Arkle winner and Holywell) in the last 13 months and won his other 3 starts. He wants decent ground and that looks likely on the chase course. The other to go for is winner of this 2 years ago Saint Are. Battle Group, 2nd that day, came back and won this last year off 6lb lower and Tim Vaughan's 8 year old returns off 8lb lower this afternoon. He lost his way a little but loves it here and showed improvement for a visor on penultimate start. That goes back on and 7/1 should be snapped up for a yard bang on song.
Victor Hewgo 1pt win - U/P @ 5/1
Saint Are 1pt e/w - U/P @ 10/1
In truth I've gone off Chance Du Roy a little as it's a big ask for him to see out the trip. He was a nice early price but looks far less appealing on the day. Without the forecast rain I'd be very confident with Double Seven but still have high hopes on what should stay manageable ground. I have a shortlist of 4 on the morning of the race and will stick up 2. The Package is on the list but had a failed attempt here before and, though his Cheltenham form is immense, he's still on the short side for a horse that has never looked top class. Pineau De Re is an Ulster National winner and I was all out to back him. However, he's a similar price to Prince De Beauchene (25/1) who looks that little bit better treated. We know he's class and has been aimed at this before but just keeps missing out. Now he finally lines up off 147, 8lb lower than his Hennessy mark. Mullins, Townend and Wylie got off the mark yesterday with Boston Bob and I really fancy their charge today. Also worth a chancer at a monster price is Rose Of The Moon who looks to want extreme distances and comes here after getting back on track at the turn of the year. The tongue tie was left off after a disappointing effort in the 4 miler at Cheltenham last year and that may be because he bled from the mouth. He certainly hasn't missed it since. The 9 year old has plenty to find this afternoon but is open to improvement and an 8lb rise looks fair. He has just 10-3 on his back with a jockey that gets on well with him. He will not want it too soft but the rain is no bother and, having jumped the fences well over an inadequate trip in the Becher, he can outrun his 80/1 price. Both selections should race prominently which is always preferable in this 'anything can happen' marathon.
Rose Of The Moon 1pt e/w - U/P @ 50/1
Prince De Beauchene 1pt e/w - U/P @ 20/1
Double Seven 1pt e/w 33/1 - 3rd @ 10/1
Chance Du Roy 1pt e/w 40/1 - U/P @ 33/1
Nesterenko is a nice price for the Conditional Jockeys' handicap but he has failed in this class once before and others look less exposed. He goes on the shortlist though, along with Katgarry and Rainbow Peak. I swore not to back a short price Nicholls runner this week (after Conti) as the yard are struggling so John Ferguson's former Italian Group1 flat winner gets the vote at 16/1. He shaped nicely off 3lb higher at Cheltenham but Ferguson horses just don't win there. This track should suit him much better, so too the drop in class, and he's definitely overpriced given the forecast rain will suit. He has the non-claimng but very capable Joshua Moore in the saddle. The other Ferguson runner, Bordoni, is returning form a break and is potentially well treated. However, he is nowhere near as appealing as the returning Bold Henry who we haven't seen for some 17 months (507 days). He is chucked in on old form and looks worthy of chancing at 25/1. His 2012 form with Claret Cloak, Kian's Delight and Rebel Rebellion suggest a mark in the late 130's would be realistic. Normally you'd like to give him a run but Philip Hobbs is known for having them ready (look at Doctor Foxtrot last year) and a mark of 128 with the impressive Thomas Cheesman claiming 7 makes him the irresistible bet of the day.
Bold Henry 1pt e/w - U/P @ 22/1
Rainbow Peak 1pt e/w - 2nd @ 8/1
I always advise never to back a horse without studying the rest of the field but, having missed out on the notebook Cheltenham chaser yesterday (Boston Bob), nothing will stop me backing Modus in the bumper this afternoon. Plenty more is in his favour today. He's a proper flat bred and should appreciate today's flatter track, though he had won over 15 furlongs at Cheltenham. Another plus is the overnight rain given he won his first 2 starts on juicy ground and looks better suited to some cut on breeding. He travelled so well but had to come very wide at Cheltenham and faded a furlong and a half out. I'm convinced he stays though and he did best of the 4 year olds that day. The youngsters have a better record in this so he must have a leading chance and I think he should be favourite. 15/2 is worth taking.
1pt e/w - U/P @ 9/2
Josses Hill is a really likeable favourite for the opening race this afternoon and he may well turn out to be a cut above.
He will be helped by a likely strong pace and the forecast rain holds no concerns. Favourites have won the last 2 renewals
of this but before that they had a poor record and I don't want to be a backer at 15/8. There are a few unexposed types here
and Sgt Reckless will surely be a danger after that flying at the finish run in The Supreme. He made up some 15 lengths on
the front 3 at Cheltenham and will also appreciate a proper test. However, rain is not ideal and he may not be so suited by
being held up here. He has form to find with Amore Alato who has to be pick of the prices at 14/1. Rain will
be useful and he too will want 2 and a half miles minimum in time. He likes to go forward but some company up there will be
no bad thing as he just looked outpaced when setting a moderate gallop before staying on behind Irving at Kempton. He has
battled back to win before and, with the yard in cracking form, has been underestimated this afternoon.
1pt e/w - U/P @ 10/1
Having all but sworn to back Wonderful Charm at Aintree it feels silly to swerve him but Paul Nicholls has admitted a few of his are coughing and they are certainly not performing as expected. Silviniaco Conti won yesterday but I still don't think he was at his best and I'll avoid the Ditcheat team at short prices from here on. Don Cossack still looks best over shorter and is inherently risky and the race could be between O'Failains Boy and Holywell. The former won last month despite losing a couple of shoes and I've backed him for next year's God Cup. It's just Holywell's follow up run here in the Liverpool Hurdle last year that makes me want to side with him for this at 10/3. I think he will have more in his armoury to cope with what may not be an out and out test at this sharper track than Cheltenham and I can see him going off favourite. Curtis' horse looks a proper stayer and would want this trip as an absolute minimum. Their respective times over the same trip at Cheltenham last month were 1 second apart with Holywell carrying 2lb more so there is very little between them. Many Clouds is not that far behind the favourite on form but, even at an attractive price, is perhaps not Grade 1 quality.
2pt win - WON @ 7/2
An interesting issue with the Topham will be the ground. It is officially good to soft but there is plenty of rain forecast overnight and this fresh ground could be soft come off time. Ether way it looks unlikely to be good ground and that just puts me off Standing Ovation. He jumps like a stag and will be seen to good effect from the front but 9/1 isn't really my bag for this. Only 1 winner in 10 years has carried more than 11 stone and that was Gwanako trained by Paul Nicholls. 3 of his 4 carry more than 11 stone today and I am interested in Kauto Stone who is fitted with a first time tongue-tie. However, there are just too many ifs and buts to be over confident about this former Grade 1 winner. One runner it may be worth chancing for a return to form is last year's 4th Dunowen Point who was sent off favourite for the Grand Sefton on reappearance this season. The top 7 in that had all had a run and he travelled well before fading from the front. I backed him next up, under the impression he needed an outing, but he has shown nothing in 2 starts since, albeit on heavy ground. That wasn't enough of an excuse to account for the performances and he has no Jason Maguire today but, as a horse we know handles the track and who won't mind some rain, he is with a go at 16/1 with 12lb less on his back than last year. Hopefully a 10 week break has solved whatever problem he had. WIth a few tearing off from the front, it looks sensible to have a 3 miler on side and I like Big Fella Thanks and Mart Lane. 50/1 is worth taking about the latter and he's potentially back off a competitive mark of 139. The forecast will be no issue and his 3 mile December win suggested more to come. His mark looks workable on the basis of his Shark Hanlon Irish novice form and Dr Richard Newland is back on song after a poor February. That tied in with some disappointing efforts from Mart Lane at the end of January (broke blood vessel) and start of March but he's overpriced for this now eased in the handicap and Wayne Hutchinson has gone well with him before. He's also quite little and I prefer the idea of him up in class with a lesser weight on his back.
Dunowen Point 1pt e/w - U/P @ 14/1
Mart Lane 1pt e/w - U/P @ 50/1
I took a chance on Port Melon at Cheltenham but he's half the 40/1 available that day for this afternoon's contest and the way he was unnerved last time is a concern. Add to that the poor form of the Nichols yard and he is best left for next season. 2 bits of form on offer here come form Seeyouatmidnight and Killala Quay. The latter ran a super race in the Neptune and looks as though a step up to 3 miles will suit. The former has been a revelation this term and deserves to win this but it is his toughest ask yet and better ground than his last 2 starts so I'll avoid at 9/2. The one that should be closer to him in the market is Beat That who is the choice of Barry Geraghty over Tistory. 3rd in the field on official ratings, he looks a good thing to reverse form with Killala Quay over this extra trip and would likely have won last time with a better jump at the last. He is unexposed on just his 3rd hurdles start and, by Milan out of a Presenting mare, the decent hurdles ground should be in his favour at 7/1.
1pt e/w - WON @ 6/1
Attaglance won this contest 2 years ago under top-weight off 1lb higher having won at the Cheltenham Festival. He should have won over fences 3 weeks ago and returns here to seek compensation. There's every chance he may lack that speed needed for this as he progresses through the years but he is still only 8 and showed what good heart he is in last time. The ground is perfect and 11/1 looks a really safe bet. Pass The Time is a progressive mare who could be capable off her current mark and her form ahead of Koolala on penultimate start has checked out well. I worry about her at the trip though and she's not quite big enough in the market. So too Alaivan who has to prove he wants this far and I want to take a really big price. Step forward Party Rock for the back on song Jennie Candlish yard. His May course and distance win capped off a progressive season last year and, just a 7 year old, it looked as though a decent pot could be on the cards this term having been just touched off in 2nd here in December off 5lb higher. Off the boil since, he was running in really testing ground over the winter, which doesn't suit, and his Cheltenham effort on a sounder surface came bang in the middle of a dip in form from the team at home. He has plenty to find with the principals but is off a handy enough mark to suggest he can outrun his 40/1 price back at Aintree. Morning Royalty is another place hopeful that looks too big with 2 time win partner Brian Harding back in the saddle.
Party Rock 1pt e/w - U/P @ 16/1
Attaglance 1pt e/w - U/P @ 9/1
Hopefully the Nicholls yard isn't under a cloud but simply waiting to hit top form at Aintree because there's little else
that catches the eye on the card like Calipto at 7/2. He was desperately unlucky at Cheltenham but to finish
where he did with a powerless Daryl Jacob on top was impressive (stirrup leather broke). He will have no trouble with some
forecast rain and has form ahead of Activial that should mean there's a little more between them in the market than there
is currently. He would likely have finished ahead of Guitar Pete in the Triumph but for his misfortune and I expect him to
do so today. The pick of the Fred Winter runners is the unfortunate Clarcam who fell when looking solid but this is a proper
step up and he has form to find with Guitar Pete. Fox Norton is something of the unknown but Broughton and Royal Irish Hussar
haven't exactly set his form alight since December and the favourite is taken to get his Cheltenham compensation.
2pt win - 3rd @ 7/2
I like First Lieutenant but can't have him against the top 2 in the Betfred Bowl. So it's Dynaste or Silviniaco Conti and I think the market has them just about right. His win at Cheltenham gives Dynaste every right to be favourite and he clearly handles decent ground. Even with the rain in the air, the chase course is unlikely to be worse than good to soft and that will be no trouble for either of the top 2, though I get the feeling Silviniaco Conti really wants it the softer the better. This race is littered with winners that contested the Gold Cup or the Ryanair on their previous run, with the exception of Tiutchev who came here as a Champion Chase 3rd, and the market principals are very difficult to split. However, Silviniaco Conti is still rated 8lb superior to Dynaste and recorded a slightly better Racing Post rating than the favourite for their respective Cheltenham races. Dynaste has beaten some good horses but Conti's King George is what just sets him apart here and he is the bet at 5/2. On his day he is the better horse and we have to hope that the Gold Cup hasn't seen him off, as it does so many. It wasn't a killer Gold Cup though and, though potentially weak form-wise, I think we'll see a better horse at Aintree than we did at Cheltenham and don't forget he shaped like the winner before hitting that hill. His Mildmay win here was more impressive time-wise and visually than Dynaste's 12 months later and Conti will appreciate this easier ground and different tactics to the race last season when a disappointing 3rd. There again I always get Dynaste wrong…
2pt win - WON @ 9/4
Handicap time and the Red Rum normally goes to a progressive youngster. Claret Cloak is obvious and has been completely found in the market. 4/1 is very dull for an open handicap. I'm close to putting up Turn Over Sivola, and probably should, but do worry about him seeing this out if they go a serious gallop and if the rain comes, but he's a sensible bet. A not so sensible bet is Gus Macrae given his best run this term came in a much easier contest at Ascot off 5lb lower. Add to that he's a 10 year old that was pulled up on his last start and beaten a distance on his previous effort and he looks a no hoper. But he is 1 from 1 over course and distance and should appreciate today's better ground than those last couple of runs on heavy. He certainly has plenty to find but Rebecca Curtis runners are a different proposition now compared to the turn of the year and he can definitely outrun his 33/1 price off 1lb below his highest winning mark. More sensible and a really good bet is Astracad for a team going very well over the last month or so. His Aintree form reads 132F2 and I can't fathom how he is 18/1 in a race that should prove a proper test at the trip. He doesn't quite stay 2 and a half miles but wants a strongly run 2 and is 5lb lower than when a well held 2nd in this 2 years ago. He's not in the greatest form but has had excuses, track and Grade of late, and has to be of interest back here off 140... with hopefully not too much rain.
Gus Macrae 1pt e/w - U/P @ 20/1
Astracad 1pt e/w - 4th @ 16/1
I was going to leave the Novice Chase alone envisaging a crunch of horses at the top of the market but can't believe Fox Appeal is 10/1. All of his rivals ran at Cheltenham and he may just have slipped under the radar for this now returning from a 6 week break. I wouldn't have minded a bit of headgear on him as he can be a bit keen and that probably cost him last time. His jumping wasn't perfect either but he was sent off 5/4 favourite off levels with the undoubtedly classy Balder Success and only beaten a length and a half so his price today looks strange. This is over a little shorter and on better ground so, if he can relax into the race, the trip looks ideal, especially given it was a serious test last time thanks to the free going Loose Chips. Emma Lavelle has said 2 miles 3 is probably perfect but I still fancy Fox Appeal to see it out better than some ahead of him in the market. Uxizandre has a likeable profile but 5/1 is short given he had the run of the race in the JLT and I don't know what to make of Western Warhorse after his Arkle win where he seemed to outpace Champagne Fever up the hill after the last. Oscar Whisky loves it here but is a dodgy jumper and Dodging Bullets is not guaranteed to appreciate the step up in trip. It's a value play opting for the Lavelle horse but a strong one.
1pt e/w - U/P @ 11/2
Crowning Jewel and Uncle Jimmy, my 2 for Cheltenham's Pertemps last month, both line up off the same mark for the 3 mile contest today and I'm still tempted by the former at 33/1. I just worry about the ground and he ultimately may not be of this class. The 2 I want to side with are Two Rockers at 12/1 and Busty Brown at 9/1. The latter has a touch of the Ned Buntline's about him who just missed out at Cheltenham for Noel Meade. He has been kept away from handicaps and wasn't given a hard time of it back after a 15 month absence last time over an inadequate trip. He will enjoy the rain and is undoubtedly well handicapped. Two Rockers promised so much as a novice but ran poorly in the Neptune and hasn't been the same since. He is as well treated as he is risky but was well supported before coming to grief at the first at Ascot last time and is worth having off his current mark. I was all out to back him…but have just seen that Utopie Des Bordes is available at 33/1! Ladbrokes are pissed! I have a theory about small mares like her. As we saw with Miss Saffron the other day, they are often better up in class being asked to carry less weight on their backs. It's no coincidence that Utopie Des Bordes' best efforts have come carrying around 11 stone with the pick of her handicap runs coming in a Grade 3 over 3 miles at Haydock when just held. Back off the same mark as for that Haydock effort, she has been hit and miss since but is too big at her price after a decent run in the Pertemps where she would have been suited by softer ground. If the rain comes and the ground eases she could be a player will 11-1 on her back. Carole's Destrier is another useful mare who is a threat but nothing like as appealing at the prices.
Busty Brown 1pt e/w - U/P @ 7/1
Utopie Des Bordes 1pt e/w - U/P @ 20/1
Pick of the Wincanton feature handicap is Ballyallia Man but his price is a little short. If he drifts he will be of interest
but not at 9/2 off the back of some modest efforts and now against some younger potential improvers. Jump City is off his
previous winning mark, like the aforemetioned, but has similar concerns about him and Vif Argent is in a much tougher race
this time around. I prefer the prices of Al Alfa and Lord Of The Dunes. The latter is from the Tizzard yard and watch
out for their runners in the coming weeks as a turnaround in fortunes is under way. He is unlikely to appreciate the overnight
rain though and a better option is the Philip Hobbs charge. Al Alfa is half a stone worse off with Lord Of The Dunes but I'm
not sure that will stop him in these conditions. His dam was related to a National winner and, though unlikely to be allowed
to dominate, a proper test at the trip here may suit him. He has seen horses off from the front before and he's definitely
pick of the prices with Richard Johnson back on at 17/2.
Al Alfa 1pt e/w - 2nd @ 5/1
V Neck fully deserves to be favourite for the handicap hurdle in the middle of the card and looks well treated on debut in this sphere. He, unlike plenty of those towards the head of the market, is almost certain to handle the ground after the forecast rain and is a very likely winner. Paul Nicholls only sent out 6 winners in March though, very poor for him, and I don't want to back this McManus runner at 7/2 given 2 others I like at the prices. The first is the horse I think should be clear 2nd favourite if the rain comes. Generous Ransom looks set to handle this step up in trip on breeding and so too the worsening conditions. Currently 8/1 he is 1 from 1 with Richard Johnson (hopefully he has a good day) after their win last time out where an 8lb penalty looked within them. This is a step up in class but his effort behind New Year's Eve would indicate he can still be competitive off 116, especially given the form the yard are in. Kings Bayonet is in the notebook after a strong travelling effort on heavy ground at Newbury after a near 2 year absence last month. However, I worry for soft ground with him and this is over further so it may be worth waiting for a more suitable opportunity to get behind this well treated 7 year old. The other to take a chance with is course and distance winner Russie With Love at a massive 25/1. Not obviously well-in, she has been competitive from this sort of mark in the past and carries the same weight on her back (10-9) as when beaten just 6 lengths in this class 12 months ago. Hopefully a return to the course and distance of her last success can give her a little bit extra, and the rain will certainly be a plus. That last win came in very tacky ground and she clearly appreciates testing conditions. The yard are back in form and, given they were without a winner this term until March, her early season efforts can be virtually dismissed. Without a guaranteed front runner in the field, a retrun to positive tactics could steel her a march here and she can definitely outrun her price.
Generous Ransom 1pt e/w - WON @ 11/2
Russie With Love 1pt e/w - NON RUNNER
The withdrawal of Ocean Legend from Kempton's Class 5 7 furlong handicap really changes the dynamic of the race. The only
guaranteed front runner in the field, whilst there are a few that like to be prominent, he would likely have dragged them
along and the closers may struggle without him. That's the reason I'm just avoiding First Class who is back off his last winning
mark but really wants a strong gallop. He's a nice price though and worth a nibble. I fancy Welsh Sunrise will be well
supported and he looks a good bet at 2/1. He's not worth going mad with but I'd be surprised if he isn't successful.
The booking of a genius is a positive and he is dropping in class and back at a track he goes well at so looks a good thing.
Others don't appear to have much in hand with their marks but Stuart Williams' 4 year old should be able to go on from a rating
of 75 and this isn't the strongest contest.
2pt win - U/P @ 6/4
Newton Abbot's opening handicap is a shoddy little affair with both the market leaders having something to prove. Likely to take each other on up top, Lucky Sunny would be the preference in first time headgear but backing an 11 year old to win over hurdles for the first time isn't all that appealling. Kaki Island isn't guaranteed to like the overnight rain and he too looks short if not allowed a lead. Hold The Bucks would be the pick but I can't resist having a go at outsider of the field Special Report on handicap debut. He has a 6lb 4 year old allowance and is off about the right mark based on a decent effort at Lingfield on penultimate start. Last time was poor in a decent 3 year old race but, on his 3rd run over hurdles and with no chance of winning, connections may have had 1 eye on his opening mark. He might not finish but is certainly the most interesting in a very weak Class 4 at 16/1.
1pt e/w - U/P @ 22/1
The stayers' handicap has a progressive looking favourite, albeit a 10 year old one, who is lightly raced and may have been unbeaten in 4 bar a fall at Leicester. However, this is a tougher ask for Gotoyourplay and there's more fun to be had elsewhere. I've been wanting to back Seven Woods for a while but am not interested at 5/2 and it's Cnoc Seoda who catches the eye at 12/1. He's a plausible winner off a mark of 117 on the basis of his saying on 3rd behind Ma Filleule at Kempton off 1lb higher. 2 runs since have been poor but so was yard form at the turn of the year and it picked up dramatically in March. By Dr Massini, you'd expect better ground to suit but he has won all his races on heavy and is too big for this now returned to 3 miles plus.
1pt e/w - U/P @ 12/1