Saturday, 31 December 2022

Saturady 31st December 2022 & Sunday 1st January 2023 - Laskalin Looks Tasty at Newbury

We’re betting across not just two days here, but two years as well as we say goodbye to 2022 and welcome in 2023 with some competitive horse racing.

The New Year’s Eve attractions are headlined by Newbury, where Hermes Allen may put up a big performance in the Challow although he is no price at all.

We have one selection from there as well as more from Warwick, Lingfield and Uttoxeter, while on New Year’s Day the big action is at Cheltenham but here, we have three more value punts at Musselburgh over the jumps and at Southwell on the Flat.

Saturday 31st December 2022

1.00 Warwick (Handicap Chase) – TEMPLIER

On the pick of their most recent form and at these weights, there is little doubt that Templier is the best horse in this race.

What really adds to confidence however as that those above in the market are arguably better on quicker ground, while this horse win this very same race last year on soft going.

Templier made a very satisfactory stable debut recently for Cambridgeshire’s Sarah Humphrey, reaching a level of form very similar to what he’d achieved last year going into this contest so at the likely odds he looks to be pretty good value indeed.

7lb claimer Jay Tidball takes the ride, as he did last time out at Fakenham.

1.35 Warwick (Handicap Hurdle) – ONE FER MAMMA

This is a Challenger Stayers’ Hurdle Series Qualifier over 3¼ miles and, if the ground stays testing at Warwick, then the best solution to this little puzzle is likely to be One Fer Mamma.

Matt Sheppard’s gelding was very good around here back in February and got through the mud nicely at Haydock last time too.

In between times, he also improved plenty on similar ground over fences and so I reckon he’ll cope best with the conditions and can quicken in them, possibly better than Sporting Ace. Langley Hundred was next on the shortlist.

2.05 Lingfield (Handicap) – HIGH VELOCITY

This may look like a handicap which is tough to solve at first, bookmakers going around 9/2 the field at the time of writing for what is a decent Class 3, six-furlong handicap.

While after his gelding operation Michael Attwater’s Tadreeb is interesting, as is Harb for Peter Crate who may attempt to make all, the key piece of form here involves last time out winner Tyger Bay over this same course and distance.

Conrad Allen’s runner was ahead of High Velocity and Emperor Spirit that day but considering age, progress, draw and pace, we can expect some turnarounds now.

One such turnaround would be James Tate’s three-year-old High Velocity improving again and appreciating a better draw to perhaps win this under Tom Queally, which I’ll be backing him to do from the inside gate.

2.25 Newbury (Mandarin Handicap Chase) – LASKALIN

Though just a Class 3, the Mandarin Handicap Chase is a famous old event having been run on this card since 1963. Some famous names have been etched on the trophy too.

Three and a quarter miles is the distance for the race, one in which it appears that Venetia Williams’ Laskalin is much the best of the 15 runners.

When he arrived from France, he was given a rating of 143 and while it could have been overegged at the time by the British handicappers, he has simply taken some time to reach his potential but that is happening now.

Having been dropped all the way to 128 last time out at Ludlow, he won with ease and has a few more gears to go into yet on his second start after a breathing operation, with his revised rating of 133 definitely still underestimating him. Charlie Deutsch takes the ride.

2.40 Lingfield (Fillies’ Handicap) – MORGAN FAIRY

Newmarket trainer William Haggas has had a fantastic year and he can finish it off appropriately with yet another winner in this race.

His Morgan Fairy, ridden by main man Tom Marquand, is worth plenty more than her current mark of 86 and it’s a positive that she now returns to a quicker surface having won on good to firm turf as well as on Polytrack.

Charlie & Mark Johnston’s pair Wadacre Grace and Jilly Cooper can both go well, while Sayifyouwill and Crystal Casque are also not out of things in what is a tight heat.

2.53 Uttoxeter (Novices’ Handicap Chase) – LYDFORD LAD

Though we’ve yet to see the form fully tested, I liked the look of Lydford Lad’s chase debut for Harry Fry in which he finished second and I think he could prove to be very well handicapped now.

A natural step forward is expected, something that would simply increase confidence about a horse who I think has already shown himself capable of running to a mark of around 115 or so and he gets in this race off a lowly 107.

Walk In Clover, Immortal Flame and Bak Rocky are others worth considering in this 2½-mile event.

Sunday 1st January 2023

1.35 Musselburgh (Auld Reekie Handicap Chase) – HALF SHOT

Named for nearby Edinburgh, the Auld Reekie is a competitive Class 2 handicap chase run over the extended 2½-mile trip.

This year’s running features a number of rock-solid chasers, albeit those who are not necessarily improving such as Baron De Midleton, Pay The Piper, Gold Des Bois and Minella Drama.

Cooper’s Cross may have more to give, while that is especially true of Half Shot who won with authority last time out and the form of that victory is working out very well indeed.

He beat Creative Control by 10 lengths who has since won, while just behind in third was Hidden Commander who has gone on to score twice.

It should also be pointed out that after that success, Half Shot also came out and won over hurdles with performance at least 5lbs better than what he’d managed in that sphere before.

2.45 Musselburgh (Hogmaneigh Handicap Hurdle) – AL ZARAQAAN

Al Zaraqaan and Homme Public are arguably the two to concentrate on here, the former now looking for a five-timer over hurdles.

What strikes me is that his speed figures across all race types are nothing to write home about, yet he has won a Flat race on turf, 4/9 on the all-weather and his last four in a row over hurdles.

It suggests, along with a few other informational nuggets, that’s he’s never been truly tested and finds things easy when getting preferred conditions so we don’t know just how far he could go.

3.56 Southwell (Fillies’ Conditions Stakes) – MANAAFITH

This is a fast-track qualifier for the valuable All-Weather Championships Finals Day at Newcastle on Good Friday in April. Run over seven furlongs, it features just five fillies and mares, all carrying 9st.

Roger Varian’s Shadwell filly Manaafith is now 4 from 4 on the all-weather, her best and most recent win coming over this course and distance.

In real terms, given her improvement, she could prove to be around 7lbs clear of the others here, but she’s not well clear on official ratings meaning we may yet be handed a backable price for her.

Friday, 23 December 2022

Monday 26th December 2022: Boxing Day Racing Spectacular

After a four-day break, horse racing is back with a bang on Boxing Day / St Stephen’s Day!

The Christmas Festivals at both Kempton and Leopardstown get underway, the former a two-day affair while the latter goes on for four days of brilliant Grade 1 action.

Constitution Hill goes in the Christmas Hurdle but takes far too much out of the market, while we also see plenty of Flat racing on the all-weather during this time, these being our top festive picks across the board.

12.45 Kempton (Long Walk Hurdle – Grade 1) – GOSHEN

The Long Walk has been rerouted from Ascot, but despite the absence of a stiff uphill finish Kempton is still likely to suit the better horses in the race and we can expect a fair result.

That result will affect the odds for the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, but for now let’s just revel in the glory of what is another top-level contest over three miles.

Champ heads the betting after narrowly edging out Paisley Park in the Long Distance Hurdle last time and both have a chance once again. Miranda and Not So Sleepy are also interesting, but a chance can be taken on Goshen.

His trainer remains convinced that going right-handed is better for him. We may forget sometimes that he’s still only six and we haven’t seen the best of him yet despite some top-level performances. He was an easy Grade 2 winner last time and this step up to three miles can drag out further improvement.

1.20 Kempton (Kauto Star Novices’ Chase – Grade 1) – McFABULOUS

Since 2009, the Kauto Star has produced Native River, Coneygree and Bravemansgame. We hope for another star to come out of this race.

Trainers like Paul Nicholls are rarely wrong. McFabulous is a horse he always thought would go right to the top, but what none of us know is that it may take three miles and fences to drag that ability out of him.

He can beat Thyme Hill again here, as well as his stablemate Gelino Bello and Galia Des Liteaux.

1.35 Wetherby (Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase – Class 1) – SHAN BLUE

While most eyes will be on Kempton, Leopardstown and Chepstow, we mustn’t forget what a fabulous race the Rowland Meyrick is.

Not only is it an important and valuable Premier Handicap Chase in its own right, but it’ll be a result that shouldn’t go under the radar when it comes to sussing out Cheltenham Festival contenders in the staying handicaps.

But for falling, Shan Blue put in a rather spectacular performance last season in the Grade 2 Charlie Hall Chase at this venue and it would be wise to catch him in this handicap off just 148.

At the weights, Dan Skelton’s runner should get the better of Chantry House, Sporting John and Sounds Russian.

2.20 Leopardstown (Racing Post Novice Chase – Grade 1) – SAINT ROI

Some tip-top horses have won this race down the years. Native Upmanship, Moscow Flyer, Sizing Europe, Douvan, Min, Footpad and Notebook have all won it and it is very possible that we will see another top-class chaser this time.

Four-year-old Fil Dor is all the rage after winning by four lengths at Navan last time, but before that he’d been beaten four times in a row.

Finished second to him was Saint Roi and some revenge may now be on the cards. He had to lead that day and went wide early on, while he is also now 2lbs better off with the winner. It is also interesting that Willie Mullins is more than happy to take the favourite on again which probably speaks to Saint Roi’s wellbeing.

Hollow Games is the other one to consider in a race which has broken up quite badly but remains high in quality – it’s one to watch with the Cheltenham Festival in mind.

2.30 Kempton (King George VI Chase – Grade 1) – HITMAN

The King George VI Chase is the traditional highlight of our Boxing Day racing and in terms of quality, this renewal should not let us down.

It would have been interesting had Protektorat been given a spin around here, though he was a big price and was rather expectedly pulled out last Tuesday.

Paul Nicholls has won this twelve times and he has three in the running this year. One is the likely favourite, Charlie Hall winner Bravemansgame who is coming of age, while he also saddles grand old-timer Frodon. His apparent second-string Hitman is the selection here however.

As an inexperienced horse Hitman finished second in both the Tingle Creek and the Marsh Chase last season which is impressive, while his easy win at Haydock last time has rather gone under the radar.

He is maturing very nicely and isthe value in the race over his stablemates and L’Homme Presse, though the latter was impressive at Newcastle last time. Ahoy Senor is also having a crack at this, but may just lack the quality to take a major hand.

4.10 Wolverhampton (Handicap) – BALDOMERO

We’re on the Tapeta for this handicap, a near 1¼-mile affair at Class 2 level for decent money, at least by current British standards.

A clutch of these horses are capable enough; Via Serendipity, Chichester, Civil Law and especially Greatgadian may all be dangerous on the Tapeta surface. The one I like best however is Michael Appleby’s Baldomero.

We all know how good Appleby is with all-weather racing during the winter months. In this case he has a four-year-old who may still improve and he has some strong course form.

A close second in the Lincoln Handicap Trial here in March, he was most recently seen on the faster Polytrack when chasing home Excel Power who has proven to be very well handicapped.

Back on Tapeta he will be seen to best effect and he is still on a very workable mark.

Thursday, 15 December 2022

Friday 16th & Saturday 17th December 2022 - Harrovian to Teach Them a Lesson

The all-weather Flat races often provide us with plenty of good betting opportunities on these pages. 

So, while it is a shame the weather is claiming the big National Hunt meetings at the moment, it doesn’t stop us getting stuck into the bookies once again this weekend.

Friday 16th December 2022

2.35 Southwell (Handicap) – SO GRATEFUL

On paper, this five-furlong Class 4 sprint is a close one with a number of horses in with each-way shouts.

It’ll be interesting to see whether Stone Of Destiny can improve on his second start for his new trainer, Lad Roca Del Fuego, Twilight Madness, Pockley, Double Dealing and Bang On The Bell are all solid enough too.

Of a little more interest is three-year-old Murbih at a big price. He won on the Tapeta two outings ago and can yet improve, with a line being confidently drawn through his last run.

Even more likely to improve though is Michael and David Easterby’s four-year-old So Grateful. His performances at Southwell, Newcastle and Wolverhampton offer plenty of encouragement with this switch back down to five furlongs a definite positive.

3.45 Southwell (Handicap) – MAKETH BELIEVETH

Over the 2-mile, 2½-furlong trip on Tapeta this race will take some getting but the increase in race distance also brings about improvement from many horses. I hope that’s the case with Maketh Believeth.

The favourite here is very likely to be Roger Teal’s Blazeon Five. He is progressive now and is looking for a hat-trick, but this is a very different test to his recent races.

Shadowfax is interesting as a lightly-raced three-year-old trained by Mick Appleby, but Galileo’s progeny doesn’t do as well as many expect on Tapeta and he may be better off at Kempton. Flint Hill is very reliable and is improving slowly over time, while there is nothing wrong with conditions either.

Maketh Believeth has the most interesting profile. A Tapeta winner and a four-year-old with lots more to give, he is now with Amy Murphy who has booked Luke Morris for the ride. The big step up to the extended 2m2f trip is a major positive in my eyes and he looks good value.

6.45 Kempton (Maiden Fillies’ Stakes) – SAPPHIRE SEAS

A look at the trainers involved and the owners’ colours being worn in this race makes you think more of a Group contest. In fact, this is simply one-mile, two-year-old fillies’ maiden but there may be some very nice types lurking in the field.

Newcomers Albany (Ralph Beckett/Kirsten Rausing) and Free Lovin’ (John & Thady Gosden/Helena Springfield) could be anything, while the experience shown by Alice Knyvet (Harry & Roger Charlton/Juddmonte) and Scenic (Ed Walker/David Ward doesn’t set the bar overly high.

Godolphin also have two fillies in the race, with the Fastnet Rock filly Magical Skies ridden by Cieren Fallon. He wears the blue cap, but William Buick has chosen Charlie Appleby’s other horse Sapphire Seas.

A Frankel/Street Cry cross, Sapphire Seas is the best-bred filly in the race and represents very powerful connections who do so well in this type of race.

7.15 Kempton (Handicap) – UNFORGOTTEN

This is a good handicap, a 0-90 over the mile. Simon & Ed Crisford’s Court Of Session remains of interest in such races, ridden this time by Harry Burns who claims 3lbs, while again we see a multiple entry from Godolphin.

Noble Order is the supposed first string. Trained by Charlie Appleby, he did well at Kempton last winter but was a disappointing 4/7 favourite on his return after a long break here last month.

He should come on for that run, but Godolphin’s John & Thady Gosden-trained Unforgotten looks even more tempting after his own enforced break.

Although it was the Tapeta he won impressively on when last seen, Unforgotten has very sound Polytrack form and there is lots of evidence in his form to suggest he comes back on a lenient mark.

Saturday 17th December 2022

12.40 Lingfield (Novice Stakes) – GOLDEN SPEECH  

There are some very interesting newcomers in this line-up.

Andrew Balding trains Siyouni colt Swordofhonor, while Ziryab is a Kingman/Galileo cross representing John & Thady Gosden and Juddmonte.

Godolphin’s Golden Speech however cannot be ignored with the hope that money for any of the newbies would force a decent price for him.

After an inauspicious start in June, this son of Dubawi ran two very solid races indeed on the turf. He separated 93-rated One Nation and 99-rated Stormbuster first, before following home subsequent Group 3 winner and Dewhurst third Nostrum, beating home the now 114-rated Arrest.

Officially, Golden Speech is rated 90 but he is most likely a 100+ horse now. He’s had a rest and been gelded and, in all truth, should be running a race that the newcomers can’t quite match up to yet.

3.00 Lingfield (Winter Oaks Trial Fillies’ Handicap) – SEA TSARINA 

This is a decent quality, tight fillies’ handicap over the mile and a quarter.

Sweet Fantasy, Tequilamockingbird, Tahasun and Queen Of Ipanema, who is looking for a six-timer for George Boughey and William Buick, are all strong on paper.

There is a lot more to come however from William Haggas’s very well-bred Sea Tsarina and she could be the one to claim the prize.

3.33 Lingfield (Quebec Stakes – Listed Race) – HARROVIAN 

A good race, one that provides an early trial for the Winter Derby apart from anything else.

In it we get to see the progressive three-year-old filly Makinmedoit who will be interesting in the market, as well as likely favourite Algiers who didn’t leave anything on the track when going for it over course and distance five weeks ago.

The Gosdens run a pair of popular six-year-olds too. I love Forest Of Dean but a fear his time is up at this level, though Harrovian ran well last time and will take a step forward. If he does, then he has a big shot at beating the market leader.

William Buick has been booked to ride the gelding who was beaten narrowly by Pyledriver last November over course and distance, as well being as a four-time winner on the turf.

Friday, 9 December 2022

Friday 9th & Saturday 10th December 2022 - Jet to Fly to Victory at Doncaster

For jumps fans it’s all about Cheltenham’s International Meeting this weekend.

The December Gold Cup and the International Hurdle are featured, while Doncaster proves some very good National Hunt back-up on Saturday.

There are some good opportunities on the Flat also, with another busy betting weekend beginning early on Friday as we head somewhat randomly to Bahrain.

Friday 9th December 2022

11.20 Bahrain (Al Muharraq Cup Handicap) – BOX TO BOX

With nothing of major interest away from Cheltenham in the jumps realm on Friday, attentions turn to the card over in Bahrain.

This 1¼-mile handicap on the turf is a decent one, certainly it’s competitive, but is full of horses who should have peaked or are confirmed to be past their best in all truth.

What’s The Story, Commonsensical, Lucander, Inigo Jones and Marie’s Diamond are all British-based horses looking to grab the £36,000 winning prize pot, but three-year-old Box To Box is the only improver who looks like he will relish the conditions.

Harry Davies rides for Hugo Palmer and it’s a big chance for this fine young jockey to get some winning international experience.

11.50 Bahrain (Al Manama Cup Handicap) – NOMADIC EMPIRE

There’s another £36,000 prize for the winner of this five-furlong sprint handicap.

While David O’Meara’s Nomadic Empire isn’t expected to reach his career highs at this stage of his career, maybe not even perhaps quite his seasonal ones, he does have enough on quicker ground at these weights to suggest he’s well in.

King Of Stars, Get It, Digital and Soldier’s Minute can make an impact most likely, though some of the contenders aren’t drawn particularly well which dampens enthusiasm a wee bit.

Saturday 10th December 2022

12.55 Doncaster (December Novices’ Chase – Grade 2) – JET PLANE

An interesting race, and as a Grade 2 you’d expect the quality to be bang on.

Mahler Mission has some questions to answer over fences but obviously has talent, Bellatrixsa gets a very handy weight allowance and Gentleman At Arms will be well fancied despite his form figures.

The one I like best however is Dan Skelton’s Jet Plane. Unlike his main rivals, he’s gone and done it over fences meaning we’re looking at real ability and not potential.

His win at Hereford recently was very easy and he has so much more than that to give, while he also stays the full trip and won’t mind the potentially quicker underfoot conditions.

1.30 Doncaster (Summit Juvenile Hurdle – Listed Race) – SCRIPWRITER 

On the face of it this juvenile race comes down to two horses – Milton Harris’s Scriptwriter and Joseph O’Brien’s Nusret.

The Irish colt won nicely on his hurdling debut and the form looks good too. He also gets a handy 5lbs from his main rival but he is set to be rather short in the betting.

Scriptwriter has also won easily not once but twice, drifting across the track last time a little and being winning better than the margin at the line suggested.

Milton Harris’s horse was also the better Flat horse by some way, so considering we know he can jump being two from two over hurdles, that Flat ability can go a long way making him the value selection.

2.19 Newcastle (Novice Stakes) – NAZYMBEK

In a one-mile novice race at Newcastle these days, there may always be a potential future star lurking.

In this race there has already been solid form shown by Wonder Legend, James Ferguson’s runner being a Sea The Stars who should appreciate the Tapeta test, and especially by the Crisford’s Itricacy who was second on a similar surface on debut at Wolverhampton.

He sets a tough standard for the others to aim at that’s for sure, but Nazymek really stands out on paper and if opening up at a reasonable price may be worth taking a chance on.

This colt is by Kingman out of a Galileo mare. Beautifully bred, he is in the Derby next June while he and jockey Jack Mitchell have been sent here alone by Roger Varian who appears to think he can make a big debut.

4.00 Newcastle (Nursery Handicap) – CARIAD ANGEL

In this six-furlong nursery the majority of the market is likely to be taken up by Pocket The Packet.

Already a course and distance winner twice over, George Boughey’s gelding has won another pair of races in the past couple of weeks, including on December 7th at Lingfield.

His trainer does this quite a lot, but it doesn’t always result in the horses holding their form every time. He’s been consistent but not hugely progressive, so at these weights he could be vulnerable.

With that in mind I really like the improvement shown on this surface by Karl Burke’s Cariad Angel. Second to a William Haggas horse last time here, he can better that now and looks fairly well in under top jock Danny Tudhope.

4.50 Wolverhampton (Handicap) – ABBEY HEIGHTS

George Boughey runs another busy horse here, this time Pocket The Profit. Newcastle winner Vespasian is interesting back on Tapeta after a gelding operation, while Ahlawi did well to score last time and is another to consider.

Based on form, speed and potential, the one to side with looks to be Daniel & Claire Kubler’s Abbey Heights, ridden by Luke Morris.

They have the right man on board if things get tight here, but all in all there appears to be enough in the Dark Angel gelding’s profile to think he can back up his course and distance win in November.

Unlike many sprint handicappers, including a couple of his main rivals here today, he has been given enough time to recover and go again which is also an advantage.

5.20 Wolverhampton (Fillies’ Novice Stakes) – TARJAMAH 

This is a novice race for the two-year-old fillies and there are potentially one or two nice ones in it for the future.

Tarjamah is the best of them, at least potentially, this beautifully bred Shadwell filly representing the powerful John & Thady Gosden yard who we know of course are so good with their better fillies.

She has targets to aim at set by Nakano and Marie Laveau which probably mean a debut run in the early to mid-80’s is required, something she is more than likely fully capable of which means she rates a bet at anything above 5/2.

Friday, 2 December 2022

Friday 2nd & Saturday 3rd December 2022: Find the Way at Chepstow

It’s Tingle Creek weekend at Sandown, the Surrey track hosting a Grade 2 race on Friday and two Grade 1’s on Saturday.

The big betting race is at Aintree, the £150,000 Becher Chase being well supported while there are also good cards at Wetherby and Chepstow, the latter staging the Welsh Grand National Trial.

There’s impressive prize money offer on the Flat at Newcastle on Friday and at Wolverhampton on Saturday, but we begin out betting weekend at Exeter on Friday.

Friday 2nd December 2022

1.25 Exeter (Novices’ Handicap Hurdle) – HORN CAPE

This is a trappy race on the face of it, with an obvious favourite in the hat-trick seeking topweight Blenkinsopp.

We know that JP McManus and Nicky Henderson will have expected much more from their Horn Cape though and it’s likely we’ll see a big improvement from him.

He was pulled up on his first hurdle start, lost two places on the run-in on his second and then lost second last time on the run-in at Kempton. His form isn’t great, but if you look close enough it’s getting significantly better with each run and so he may be good value in the market in a generally weak race off a mark of only 103.

2.20 Sandown (Winter Novices’ Hurdle – Grade 2) – MAXIMILIAN 

On known evidence, not that there’s a whole lot of it admittedly, it could be close between Henry’s Friend, Man At Work and Henri The Second here.

With luck though they’ll only be fighting for minor honours as Maximilian looks to be clear of them and can score over once hurdles again.

Donald McCain’s six-year-old is arguably a little stronger than his rivals and his form beats theres so far, while this is the main reason top jock Brian Hughes is making the trip south.

2.55 Sandown (Handicap Chase) – CORRIGEEN ROCK

A number of these are going the wrong way by the look of it, so while Corrigeen Rock didn’t with a lot to spare last time, he and solid topweight Heartbreak Kid may have an advantage.

Lucinda Russell’s Corrigeen Rock is only a five-year-old and has had enough time to recover from his winning mission at Kelso, so he can continue his progression and score again.

Heartbreak Kid is next, while Rose Sea Has at least boasts consistent speed which bodes well for this race.

4.10 Newcastle (Novice Stakes) – MACHO MANIA

Newcastle’s nine-race card boasts over £100,000 in prize money on Friday night. Assuming a reasonable price is offered, Hugo Palmer’s Macho Mania is the one in the second division of this six-furlong novice race.

Heartlander may go well on debut, Deepdale ran well here on debut and De Bruyne may appreciate this. Macho Mania’s debut was decent at Kempton however, natural progression would see him go close and his sire’s progeny have gone OK on Tapeta and on dirt.

4.45 Newcastle (Handicap) – SPIRIT OF NGURU

Cieren Fallon makes the trip up to Gosforth Park for his and William Haggas’s one and only runner on the card.

Their Spirit of Nguru has strong Polytrack form and soft ground form on the turf, is a three-year-old and an overall improver and should go very well on this surface.

Raatea, based on his summer win here, could be well off at the weights, Bass Player has made some eye-catching runs and Documenting is sold but not progressive as a nine-year-old.

5.45 Newcastle (Conditions Stakes) – LOGO HUNTER

This five-furlong sprint is a £30,000 contest and a qualifier for the £1 million All Weather Championships Finals Day next April.

Art Power is a standout name. His Curragh form is pretty much Group 1 standard, but he rarely runs to that level, we can’t know exactly what level he’ll run to here and he is penalised 5lbs.

I wanted to back Logo Hunter at Lingfield last time but he had travel problems. He should love this race, is nicely drawn and Seamie Heffernan even flies over to take the ride.

Saturday 3rd December 2022

12.55 Aintree (Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle – Listed Race) – ISALINE DE CHANDOU 

As usual there are a number of French recruits in this race, but the contest may go to one still trained there in the shape of Isaline De Chandou.

Brian Hughes has been booked to ride the filly; one whose French form is better than others in this contest. Yes, she’s penalised, but on a line through some of the horses she’s beaten she could handle that penalty and more.

1.37 Chepstow (Welsh Grand National Trial – Handicap Chase) – WAYFINDER

Four stood out against the field in what is usually an important staying handicap chase. But Secret Investor has been off 650 days and never was at his best on softer ground, while both Secret Reprieve and Elegant Escape are regressing.

Wayfinder on the other hand is going the right way, stays well and has been in the first two on 6 of 9 chase starts. While some horses don’t handle Chepstow, this fellow loves it and can add another win on his favourite course for Rebecca Curtis.

2.20 Sandown (Handicap Hurdle) – LOVE ENVOI

Although beaten when last seen, Dawn Run winner Love Envoi remains very progressive overall and can handle topweight in this race to see off the likes of Playful Saint, Hermes Boy and Homme Public.

Jonathan Burke is on board for trainer Harry Fry.

3.15 Aintree (Handicap Hurdle) – WALKING ON AIR

Nicky Henderson’s Walking On Air is another horse I wanted to back recently, this time when he was pulled out due to ‘good’ ground (no shock) at Newbury last month.

He hasn’t raced for a while and was pulled up on his second hurdles start, but was extremely impressive before that and in fact we have no idea where his ceiling is. What we do know, is that it is some way above the rating of 132 he has here.

Harbour Lake and Langer Dan were next on the list.

7.20 Wolverhampton (Handicap) – BASE NOTE

This is a decent mile and a half handicap on the Tapeta.

King Of The South keeps getting the job done on this surface but never by much and he’s up another 2lbs in the handicap. Pirate King is better on Polytrack but does have William Buick on board, while Outbox is a start but I fear he’s being a little flogged now.

Three-year-old runner Base Note however is an easy course and distance winner around here, will appreciate the return to Tapeta and may be well clear of his handicap mark on it.