Antartica De Thaix to repeat last year’s win

4.05 Huntingdon  ANTARTICA DE THAIX    4pts @ 9/2

This looks the race of the day & I’m backing the Paul Nicholls 8yo to repeat her win from last season. She beat Harry Fry’s Desert Queen 9l last March, but is 10lb worse off with her rival so things are set to be much closer this year. The selection finished in front of Desert Queen again at Market Rasen last November when both making their seasonal re-appearances & with Desert Queen promising to help set a strong pace, I fancy her to set the race up for our mare once again. Another mare who likes to front-run is Dan Skelton’s Rene’s Girl. The 8yo looks likely to take on Harry Fry’s 10yo for the lead & there’s always the possibility (and hope) that they manage to cut each other’s throats out in front. In fact, I’m slightly surprised that Rene’s Girl appears as, following her runaway win in Doncaster’s Silver Vase Mares Chase, her trainer nominated the Manifesto Chase at the Grand National meeting as her next race. Oliver Sherwood’s 5yo Got Away beat the selection just over 4l in a 3-runner affair at Leicester last month. He’s now 7lb worse off with our mare & although Got Away is the more unexposed of the two, I suspect this 42k pot has been the selection’s main target of the season. I don’t know what to make of Kerry Lee’s Happy Diva. I had her down as a weak finisher when she got beat at a short price at Uttoxeter last November, but her last two novice chase wins has put that theory firmly to bed. This is by far her hardest test & the likely strong pace may expose her but I’ve got little right about the 7yo so far.


February 21, 2018 by : Posted in Free Racing Tips 1 Comment

Jennys Melody to one better over fences

2.25 Thurles  JENNYS MELODY   4pts @ 4/1

Jennys Melody narrowly failed to make a winning chase debut at Fairyhouse fifteen days ago behind one of her rivals here West Bridge & on 5lb better terms is strongly fancied to reverse that 1/2l defeat. Previously, on her debut for trainer Stuart Crawford, she’d run a massive race over hurdles following seven months off at Punchestown finishing fourth to some much higher rated opponents. The lightly-raced 9yo ran about a stone above her hurdling mark that day & I had her earmarked as a future handicap hurdle winner, so the fact connections are pursuing a chasing route seems highly significant. The selection is rated superior to her Fairyhouse conqueror West Bridge over both hurdles & fences & I would be very surprised if the form was upheld on these terms. I’m hoping the Willie Mullins 9yo Kate Appleby Shoes makes the market for the selection. The step-up to three miles should suit her & she can’t have it soft enough so any drying of the ground will not be in her favour. On a line through West Bridge there’s little between her & Jennys Melody on these terms but I think our  mare is sure to improve on that first run over fences & I’m emphatically in her camp. The one I’m worried about is the Jessie Harrington 7yo Magic Of Light. She bit off more than she could chew in a big Leopardstown handicap last time & will be much happier back in mares novice company. She holds Kate Appleby Shoes on bits of form & has also promised to improve at three miles. She has the best chase form in the book & looks the one to beat. One or two of these promise to have a bit too much toe for the stayer Routes Choice & Youcantcallherthat will find it difficult under a double penalty.

February 21, 2018 by : Posted in Free Racing Tips 1 Comment

Cyrname looks the one in the Pendil Novice Chase


CYRNAME  2.5pts @ 8/1 Paddy Power

I don’t usually put up one who may not run when betting ante-post & this soft-ground loving 6yo may not get his ideal conditions but when you think the layers have got it wrong, you must step in. Paddy Power are the only firm pricing this race up & that could work in our favour as the penny may not drop so quickly with no opposition to compare prices with. Paul Nicholls has farmed this race over the years having won seven of the last ten runnings & the one certainty is he’ll have a runner. He has two entered, both in the colours of owner Mrs Johnny De La Hay, so it’s just as likely only one of these will compete. Apart from the afore-mentioned Cyrname, she also has another 6yo Adrien Du Pont entered. He’ll appreciate the likely good to soft ground more than the selection & on official ratings is forecast to dead-heat with him. He’s a classy novice & this is his trip rather than the two miles he competed over last time, but though he’s undoubtedly got a nice prize in him, he’s already been beaten in two of these types of races & may just have to lower his sights a tad. Cyrname on the other hand looks highly progressive. He easily won the Wayward Lad novice chase here at the Christmas meeting over two miles, for which he incurs a 5lb penalty here & then put himself in the frame for this race when just failing to get back up after leading in Sandown’s Scilly Isles novice chase earlier this month over 2m 4f. Now, we know the selection wouldn’t run on fast ground, but as it stands at the moment the ground is on the soft side of good to soft with forecasts of -1 on Thursday night & -3 on Friday, so I can see it riding pretty dead. We know he jumps well here & could have an easy lead, which would make him very difficult to peg back. The layers have got the other penalised runner, Gary Moore’s unbeaten 6yo Benatar, very short at even money. He’s obviously pretty smart, but his owners are very keen to run at the Festival & the winners of this race usually give Cheltenham a miss, seeing as it’s only sixteen days away. The only horse I can remember doing the double is Captain Chris, who went on to win the 2011 Arkle, so there is the possibility of him not even turning up. Paddy Power have Alan King’s 7yo The Unit at 4/1, who needs good ground & on a line through Shantou Rock, has about a stone to find with Cyrname.

February 21, 2018 by : Posted in Free Racing Tips 1 Comment

Princess Mononoke to follow up Sedgefield win

2.00 Wetherby  PRINCESS MONONOKE  5pts @ 3/1

Admittedly, it was a weak mare’s handicap that Princess Mononoke won by six lengths last month but this looks pretty uncompetitive with only three runners with realistic chances. Donald McCain’s 7yo received a 5lb hike for that win, which seems pretty fair considering how far the field was strung out behind her. Sam Drinkwater’s 8yo Northandsouth looks likely to head the market following two improved runs under Bryony Frost. Ciaran Gethings takes over here & this race is a drop in grade. The one to beat. The Peter Winks 9yo Hartside won a poor race earlier this month & is only up 3lb for that but he is an infrequent winner, that was his first win for 24 races & is far from certain to follow up.

February 19, 2018 by : Posted in Free Racing Tips 1 Comment

The Kings Writ warrants support on tighter track

3.10 Taunton  THE KINGS WRIT  3pts @ 4/1

Winner of back-to-back point-to-points in November & December, The Kings Writ was well fancied at Bangor in early January but was tightened up halfway around & ultimately fell at the 8th. Stepped up to 3m 1f at Hereford twelve days later, Kayley Wollacott’s 7yo showed no ill effects from that fall & travelled like the winner for much of the race before being ultimately outstayed from 2 out. This slight drop in trip & tighter track will definitely be in his favour & he can give his young trainer her third success since taking over the yard following the tragic death of her father Richard earlier this year. Graeme McPherson’s Hey Bill will be fancied following his Ludlow win last month. The 8yo won’t mind this step-up in trip but, despite the milder drying weather forecast tomorrow, still might find this ground on the soft side. Following a Chepstow fall in November, Colin Tizzard’s 8yo Muffins For Tea has not convinced as a chaser & I much prefer his stablemate Cucklington. Despite this being a better race than he’s been competing in, the 7yo is likely to get a soft lead here & could have a few of these in trouble around this tight circuit. Speedalong has to prove he stays this far while the topweight Will O’The West hasn’t shown much in his three chase runs so far, although this is a significant drop in grade. Cadeau Du Bresil has his first run for Grant Cann since coming over from Gordon Elliott’s yard in Ireland.

February 19, 2018 by : Posted in Free Racing Tips 1 Comment

Bako De La Saulaie to get off mark over fences

4.40 Carlisle  BAKO DE LA SAULAIE  4.5pts @ 10/3

Half of this field have stamina doubts over this stiff extended three miles.  Winner of both the handicap hurdles he’s contested, I fancy Bako De La Saulaie to get off the mark over fences at his third attempt. After needing the run following a year off at Newcastle just before Christmas, Rose Dobbin’s 7yo looked all over the winner until being collared 100 yards out at Doncaster last month. Connections think the world of him & it’s interesting Craig Nichol looks to have got off the topweight Chidswell to ride him.  The selection looks sure to improve & can go one better here. I’m hoping the aforementioned Chidswell, a consistent Nicky Richards 9yo, makes the market. He appeared to show improved form after stepping up in trip from 2m4f to Kelso’s extended 2m7f & certainly looks worth another try at this sort of distance. However, there’s a world of difference between Kelso’s 9f round chase course & Carlisle, which along with Newcastle must be regarded as the stiffest course in the North. He does need to improve for this extra distance, as he seems just held from his current mark at 2m4f. One I have severe doubts about staying is the Sue Smith bottom-weight Never Up. The 7yo surprised connections when winning here over 2m4f last October & being a front-runner, there’ll be no hiding place up this tough uphill finish. Un Guet Apens is another with stamina doubts & one I do like is Lucinda Russell’s Newtown Lad. The 8yo has shown he’s a thorough stayer with his second at Newcastle last month & as long as he’s as effective going this way round, he’s never raced right-handed before, he could be the one to beat. Another who must be worth a mention is Lucy Wadham’s Shanroe Santos. This is the 9yo’s time of year & it was the Newmarket trainer’s first runner at the course when he was third here last October. He’s another who’ll be staying on up the hill & this looks an easier race than  he’s been competing in recently. Brian Ellison’s 7yo Point The Way should not be under-estimated either. Like the selection, he’s unexposed over fences & is currently 10lb below his hurdling mark.

February 18, 2018 by : Posted in Free Racing Tips 1 Comment

Mystical Knight can put heart problems behind him

4.10 Ffos Las  MYSTICAL KNIGHT  1.5pts ew @ 18/1

Following his tailing off at Ludlow a month ago, Mystical Knight was found to be suffering from atrial fibrillation, which is an irregular heartbeat causing severe breathing problems. The prognosis in horses of this ailment returning following treatment is 15%-20%, so seeing as Rebecca Curtis’s 9yo looks like going off at an attractive price & has dropped to a very dangerous looking mark, I’m more than happy to take that risk. The 9yo is lightly raced for his age & had previously run an encouraging race on his seasonal return at Bangor, when third from a 10lb higher mark than he has here. Not for the first time, his chance was ruined by a jumping mistake, but these fences are not especially difficult & this race, in terms of the standard of opposition is the easiest task he’s had over fences so far. The selection is owned by JP McManus, who also runs the 7yo Behind Time, trained by Harry Fry. He also has his jumping issues & probably would have won a four-runner race at Wincanton a month ago with a better round of jumping. He’s likely to be a shorter price than the selection, but I much favour Mystical Knight of the two. Favourite is likely to be Tim Vaughan’s lightly-raced chaser Looksnowtlikebrian, who ran out an easy 12l winner here over three furlongs shorter two months ago. The 7yo will have no problem with the extra distance, but he will have to improve as this is a much stiffer ask & he’s been raised 9lb for that win. One with a similar chance is another last-time winner, Neil King’s Big Meadow. Another 7yo, he won over this trip on heavy ground at Uttoxeter three weeks ago & has a rise in grade plus 7lb in the weights to overcome. I think the benchmark & quite possibly the one to beat is the topweight, Kerry Lee’s Krackatoa King. The 10yo ran an uncharacteristically bad race in the Betfred Classic at Warwick last month, the first time he’d been out of the first four since November 2015. However, this would be the first time in either’s career that he would not be getting weight from the selection. Jenny’s Surprise has been beaten twice from a 1lb higher since winning first time at Uttoxeter after a year off.

February 17, 2018 by : Posted in Free Racing Tips 1 Comment

Aengus looks ready to strike

3.35 Kelso  AENGUS  2pts ew @ 9/1

Jennie Candlish’s Aengus was successful twice in February last season & judging by his third under topweight at Ayr last month, the 8yo is ready to strike again. The yard have a 30% strike rate at Kelso & this is their sole runner here. Keith Dalgleish’s  Mac N Cheese finished 4l behind the selection in that Ayr race & I think it’s over fences that the 8yo’s future lies.  Favourite will undoubtedly be the Rose Dobbin 6yo Planet Nine, following his battling win at Catterick a fortnight ago. My only concern would be that he looked a real stayer that day & this tight track may not play to his strengths. Iain Jardine’s 6yo Bruichladdich was beaten 37l by a 20/1 chance at Haydock last time, but would have every chance on his Ayr second previously. Course form is invaluable here so Nick Alexander’s 10yo Landecker is worth a second look, although he’s been regularly beaten from his current mark. He does hold another course specialist Total Assets on his last CD win however.  Ruth Jefferson’s runner, the 7yo Ryedale Racer, has been beaten on his two attempts at this sort of trip, but has suggested recently that three miles will suit. He’ll love this ground & would be a very poignant winner.

February 14, 2018 by : Posted in Free Racing Tips 1 Comment

Chti Balko can lead the way in Morebattle Hurdle

2.25 Kelso  CHTI BALKO   4pts @ 5/1

Kelso stage their second biggest meeting of the season behind the Premier Hurdle day with the staging of the 30th anniversary of their famous Morebattle Hurdle. This hurdle track is not for all types being just over a mile round & suits the more handy type. I think Chti Balko may well get his own way out in front here & this class 2 hurdle will suit Donald McCain’s 6yo better than when trying to give between 10lb – 31lb in a handicap over CD a month ago. Not that he was disgraced in finishing a 5l fifth & that followed a comfortable 7l success at Haydock’s Christmas meeting. If there is one that takes on the selection for the lead, it will more than likely be the 5yo mare of Richard Hobsons,  Dame Rose. After being put in her place in Newbury’s Challow Hurdle, she returned to her own sex with a creditable fourth in the Yorkshire Rose Mares Hurdle at Doncaster, a grade 2 event. Providing she doesn’t take the selection on for the lead, she would be the danger. Last year’s winner Cyrius Darius would be popular for Malcolm Jefferson’s daughter Ruth, but has a 6lb penalty this time around & that may just cost him. This will surely be too sharp for the Nicky Richards’ novice Better Getalong, while Katgary hasn’t won since June 2016.

February 14, 2018 by : Posted in Free Racing Tips 1 Comment

Ch’Tibello can go one better in Kingwell Hurdle

ANTE-POST. Saturday. Wincanton. Kingwell Hurdle.

CH’TIBELLO. 5pts @ 3/1

This looks to concern three runners. Following his length beating by Yanworth in last season’s event, there’s no doubt in my mind that connections have had this Grade 2 hurdle as Ch’Tibello’s target for the season. Dan Skelton’s 7yo was 11lb wrong with the winner that day, but this year comes into the race top on official ratings with 156. Now, those ratings are far from the being sacrosanct, but on the other hand shouldn’t be totally ignored either. The selection vindicated his current mark last time in the Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock last month behind The New One on very heavy ground. He looked at one time like prevailing before being outstayed close home on that desperate going. With very little rain forecast this week, the going here is going to be nowhere near as testing, which will suit Ch’Tibello, who is basically a classy two-mile grade 2 hurdler. Whereas we’ll be getting what it says on the tin with the selection, his two principal rivals are improving handicappers. The favourite is Nicky Henderson’s Call Me Lord, an impressive winner of a heavy-ground Sandown class 2 handicap last month. The 5yo went up 9lb for that 3l victory, but is still 4lb below Ch’Tibello on ratings. Connections were initially worried about his handicap mark of 143, but the 5yo soon put those concerns to bed with a taking display on a track he loves. Whereas Sandown is a testing course with a steep uphill finish, Wincanton is as flat as a pancake, much more conducive to the speedier type. Call Me Lord is certainly a progressive 5yo, but whether he should be an 11/10 chance when taking on Ch’Tibello on level terms is highly debatable. I can report plenty of stable confidence behind the third of the main protagonists, the Alan King 6yo Elgin. He followed up a victory in the William Hill Handicap Hurdle with victory in Cheltenham’s Greatwood Hurdle, before finding a mark of 151 beyond him at Ascot’s Christmas meeting. Owing to his class 1 victories, Elgin has a 4lb penalty, thereby giving weight to his two main rivals, which means he’s 10lb & 6lb worse off with both respectively than he would be in a handicap. As he’s found his current mark beyond him in a handicap, I think he has a stiff task despite the upbeat vibes.

February 14, 2018 by : Posted in Free Racing Tips 1 Comment