Action from three meetings on the box this afternoon, including races from Doncaster, which hosts the fag-end of the Flat Turf season.
The televised races from Yorkshire are the epitome of ‘usual suspects’ affairs and, as we don’t know whose turn it is today, we will swerve that meeting and move on to Aintree.
Centrepiece is the Betway Grand Sefton Handicap Chase over the Grand National fences at 2.15, with currently a field of 13.
Our primary pick is the Alan King trained Senior Citizen, which has completed over this course twice in the past and looked an improved animal when scooting home at Market Rasen three weeks ago. Just 5lbs higher today, this 8-y-o should go close and be backed at 9-2.
We also give a squeak to the Irish raider The West’s Awake, which has been an intended runner in this race for the past two years only for something to go awry with the best laid plans. Today the sprightly 10-y-o pitches up in good form and is well worth an each way tickle at 16-1.
Finally, we must have a ‘saver’ on Corinthian David Maxwell‘s mount Cat Tiger, which appears to be on a very attractive mark for its handicap debut.
First televised race is the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle at precisely 1.08 and we think the Irish trained Act Of God will win this. Eddie O’Grady‘s 6-y-o warmed up for this with a win on the Flat last month and should be suited by the slight step up in trip. Have a decent bash at 4-1.
Best of the home team could well be Aquila Sky, a big improver last season and all the better for a pipe opener over fences, so we also advise an each way bet on Sam Allwood‘s charge at 7-1.
Final televised race from Aintree is the Betway Hurdle at 3.20 which sees the return to action of last year’s winner Summerville Boy. Tom George‘s 9-y-o was saddled with a 4lb penalty last year, but not this, so, despite the yard being a bit quiet, we recommend an win bet at 3-1.
Down to Wincanton for the rest of the action, swerving the 3-runner Novices’ Chase at 1.50 and moving swiftly on to the Richard Barber Memorial Mares’ Handicap Hurdle at 2.25.
The name of the race suggests that Paul Nicholls will be trying to win it for his old mate and he saddles two, but we are going for Kissesforkatie from Jeremy Scott‘s yard.
All her best runs have been at this track and we hope she has been ‘laid out’ for today – have an each way dig at 11-2.
The 60th Badger Beer Handicap Chase at 3.00 is up next, and, in this, we select Irish Prophecy to make it two wins in a row on this course. Emma Lavelle‘s horse was eased down to win by four and a half lengths two weeks ago and a 7lb hike won’t stop a repeat – we hope. Take the 7-1 on offer.
On the same form line, we also suggest an each way bet on Coup De Pinceau at 12-1 – Ralph Smith‘s horse was 7 lengths adrift of Irish Prophecy last time but is now 15lbs better off.
The Unibet Elite Hurdle at 3.35 completes the set and here we oppose the reliable Sceau Royal and the unreliable Goshen by recommending an each way bet on Sole Pretender.
Norman Lee’s 7-y-o is six from 11 over hurdles, including a Grade 3 last July and has the potential to trouble the ‘big two’. Let’s do it each way at 9-2.
Bye for now.
Senior Citizen 2.15 Aintree 2pts e/w @ 9-2 (5 places)
The West’s Awake 2.15 Aintree 1pt e/w @ 16-1 (5 places)
Cat Tiger 2.15 Aintree 2pts win @ 9-2
Act Of God 1.08 Aintree 2.5pts e/w @ 4-1 (4 places)
Aquila Sky 1.08 Aintree 1pt e/w @ 7-1 (4 places)
Sumerville Boy 3.20 Aintree 2pts win @ 3-1
Kissesforkatie 2.25 Wincanton 2pts e/w @ 11-2 (4 places Skybet)
Irish Prophecy 3.00 Wincanton 1.5pts e/w @ 7-1 (5 places)
Coup De Pinceau 3.00 Wincanton 1pt e/w @ 12-1 (5 places)
Sole Pretender 3.35 Wincanton 2pts e/w @ 9-2 (2 places)