Terrific action on our screens today, with coverage from three meetings and no less than nine races to have a dip at.
Roger Miller kindly supplies our headline and refers to Alan King heading up the A1(M) to Doncaster, where we sincerely hope he has a very good day.
First up at the Yorkshire track is the Virgin Bet Mares’ Novices Hurdle at 2.20, a Listed contest with a field of nine.
Mr King supplies the favourite in Wynn House, last seen finishing 4th in a Grade 2 event at Cheltenham in December, after which the 6-y-o was treated for heat stress, so it must have been a lovely day.
That was the mare’s first try at today’s trip of 3 miles, her previous two victories having been at slightly shorter distances, but she got it well and with the stable in blinding form we recommend a win bet at 11-8.
The Virgin Bet Handicap Chase is next on the agenda and our hero’s runner in this is Ballywood.
No wins for this 7-y-o since 2019 has seen its mark fall to below the 140 off which it last won and this race represents a substantial class drop. A recent warm up in a Jumpers Bumper at Kempton should have put Bally spot on and the 3-1 available should be taken.
The Virgin Bet Grimthorpe Handicap Chase at 3.00 completes the telly coverage and, once again, our mate Alan supplies the favourite in the shape of Canelo.
In the familiar Trevor Hemmings‘ colours, Canelo has been Mr Consistency this season and finished an excellent 4th in a Listed event on this course at the end of January. Eased a pound by the handicapper, the faster ground and extra two furlongs of today’s race should do the trick and we suggest a decent bet at 6-4.
We are also going to suggest a small each way bet on Special Prep, which looks overpriced at 10-1, especially as three of our bookmaker friends are offering 3 places in this 7 runner affair.
Unusually, ITV have taken their cameras to Kelso for 4 races and their enterprise has been rewarded with some very competitive fare.
We start with the bet365 Premier Novices Hurdle at 1.30, which has a field of 7, headed in the market by My Drogo from the Skelton team.
Saddled with a 5lb penalty for its Ascot success, 2-1 looks no value and we prefer the chances of Castle Rushen, trained by Nicky Richards.
This 6-y-o would be unbeaten in 3 hurdle races had the Stewards done their job last time out, when it was beaten a nose by a horse that carted CR across the track on the run to the line. The trainer, who knows a thing or two, really rates this horse and, at 18-1, it looks vastly overpriced. Just two places, but we go each way anyway.
The bet365 Handicap Hurdle at 2.05 has nine runners and our selection is Mark Walford‘s representative Mega Yeats, which is available at 11-4.
Previously with Ruth Jefferson, this 7-y-o ran a stormer in a Jumpers Bumper at Kempton on stable debut, its first race since December 2019. Very well handicapped on old form, this must be our bet.
The Listed bet365 Premier Chase at 2.40 witnesses a rematch between Two For Gold and Aso, which were separated by just a neck at Warwick 19 days ago. With a 9lb pull in the weights, the logical pick would be Aso, but the Warwick race was over 2m 4f, whereas it’s 3 miles today, with an uphill finish to boot and the fragrant Venetia‘s horse is a very doubtful stayer.
On balance, we are going to swerve this one – please forgive.
Highlight of the card is the bet365 Morebattle Hurdle, now reinvented as a handicap and with a highly competitive field of 14.
Favourite at 5-2 is the Oirish raider The Shunter, which landed a touch when winning the Greatwood at Cheltenham last November and has since finished a good third in a valuable chase at Leopardstown.
However, not far behind at Cheltenham and better off today was Hunters Call, which has since finished a good third in the Lanzarote, and this lightly raced 11-y-o will be hard to knock out of the frame this afternoon. Have an each way bet at 8-1.
We also want you to have an each way bet on Blakeney Point at a juicy 33-1.
This 94 rated Flat racer had excuses last time when 5th at Musselburgh and can show truer colours today under Our Brian.
Just time to cover the two races from Newbury before exhaustion sets in, starting with the BetVictor Veterans’ Handicap Chase at 1.15.
Please don’t ask why, but we recommend an each way bet on Singlefarmpayment at 6-1, so there.
Finally, the BetVictor Greatwood Handicap Chase at 1.50.
Each way bets here, please, on Killer Clown (9-2) and Pistol Whipped (9-1).
A lie down in a darkened room beckons.
Wynn House 2.20 Doncaster 4pts win @ 11-8
Ballwood 2.55 Doncaster 2pts win @ 3-1
Canelo 3.30 Doncaster 4pts win @ 6-4
Special Prep 3.30 Doncaster 1pt e/w @ 10-1 (3 places Ladbroke, Coral)
Castle Rushen 1.30 Kelso 1pt e/w @ 18-1 (2 places)
Mega Yeats 2.05 Kelso 2pts win @ 11-4
Hunters Call 3.15 Kelso 1pt e/w @ 8-1 (5 places Paddy, Betfair, Skybet)
Blakeney Point 3.15 Kelso 1pt e/w @ 33-1 (5 places Paddy, Betfair, Skybet)
Singlefarm Payment 1.15 Newbury 1pt e/w @ 6-1 (4 places Hills)
Killer Clown 1.50 Newbury 1.5pts e/w @ 9-2 (4 places Ladbrokes, Coral)
Pistol Whipped 1.50 Newbury 1pt e/w @ 9-1 (5 places Ladbroke)
* ‘King Of The Road’ by Roger Miller (1964)