After the drama, emotion, sadness and unbridled passion and joy of the Cheltenham Festival comes what has to be said is a run of the mill Saturday of racing, save for the Midlands National should it definitely go ahead, but always there are betting options placed on the table and we have a handful of them
We reach a turning point in the racing calendar now as over the next few weeks the National Hunt game will have one last hurrah at Aintree before fully handing over the limelight to the stars of the flat and while ours aren’t stars, we have a couple on the level who look very backable in Wolverhampton’s evening meeting.
We start with Kempton’s Silver Cups day and a couple of big value bets in both the feature races:
2.40 Kempton (Silver Plate Handicap Hurdle) – TOWNSHEND
This is a very tight handicap with at least four of the runners very hard to separate, namely Mahlervous, Honest Vic, My Way and Crystal Lad who all have place chances.
The competitive nature of the race should ensure that it is fairly run and will mean this Townshend, improving with every run this season and acting well for conditional jockey Joe Anderson after a wind op, should be able stay on past them in the last furlong or so.
Despite his latest runner-up effort at Wincanton he was put in at a crazy price on Friday afternoon, a general 10/1 shot on the first showing, and is worth chances now that he has seemingly got his act together for trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies.
3.15 Kempton (Silver Bowl Handicap Chase) – VALUE AT RISK
There could be plenty of value, appropriately you’d say, in Dan Skelton’s Value At Risk who despite some sketchy form has the ability even at the age of 10 to see this lot off from his current handicap mark.
Two outings ago at Market Rasen in January, the Kayf Tara gelding ran close to his career best when scoring off a mark just a pound lower than he gets in here off and with plenty of question marks next to his rivals he may be the one at a big price.
Both Brother Tedd and Kayf Blanco are in a similar position and can run into the money, but at the odds bandied about on Friday Value At Risk could be one worth chancing to small at stakes with perhaps even room to take him each-way to play it safe.
3.45 Newcastle (Northern Staying Novices’ Hurdle Series Final Handicap) – SAM’S ADVENTURE
Confidence can’t be sky high with this one given that, having shown good improvement over his first three hurdle starts, he ran poorly in these conditions over the course and distance last time out leading some to believe he doesn’t act around Newcastle.
He was a little keen that day though and wasted a fair amount of energy so assuming that was the reason for his failure and that it has been eradicated, he should be able to improve past this field to score at a level he’s more than capable in.
Brian Ellison loves a winner in his home town so I’m sure the son of Black Sam Bellamy will have been prepped to perfection too, just watch out for any strong money coming for him late on Friday or early on Saturday as if the stable are very confident the price is in danger of collapsing.
Lord Du Mesnil and Stop Talking, the latter seeking a four-timer in this race, are probably next on the shortlist and can fight it out for the places.
6.15 Wolverhampton (Class 3 Handicap) – SALUTE THE SOLDIER
This is another tight looking race but crucially the selection has, on the balance of things at least, more chance of progressing from where he is right now than the others do and rates a fair bet to go one better than when last seen 105 days ago.
Before his break he had won two on the bounce before losing out only to the battle-hardened and progressive Original Choice who has since tried his luck in Dubai. All of these runs were on different all-weather surfaces too which proves his versatility though it seems his best may be saved for the Tapeta.
The quality combination of trainer Clive Cox and jockey Adam Kirby may be the ones to follow here with David O’Meara’s solid yardstick Ballard Down next on the list ahead of Tough Remedy, who perhaps would have had a better chance if had he been a little better drawn.
7.15 Wolverhampton (Class 3 Fillies’ Handicap) – TIGER EYE
In fillies’ handicaps such as this the form is often sketchy but the trick is usually to find a young filly who is improving, or at the very least hinting at improving.
James Fanshawe’s four-year-old filly Tiger Eye is moving up the ranks nicely and fits the profile after winning easily at Lingfield Park last time and, perhaps even more pertinently, scoring over the course and distance in a novice race back in January proving that she acts on this surface.
She’s been given an opening handicap mark of 83 which seems pretty generous to me, so while she won’t be a huge price in the market come Saturday evening she can be backed pretty confidently to secure a third win in four starts under jockey George Wood.
Toy Theatre, the top weight who is on a hat-trick, and four-year-old Treasure Me who much the like the selection can improve in the early part of 2019, are next on the list.