After Monday’s eighth winning nap from the last 10 selections (the other two were second), not only does your club’s new betting service come complete with an extensive suite ofhorseracing markets,we give you a few winners as well!
Each day we will be providing you with apreview of the day’s racing, offering what our experts feel will be the value bets of the day. Here is our idea of a Lucky 15 for Tuesday…
EASTER MATE (Lingfield 2.10) has not been seen since finishing well beaten by Ebtihaal over 1m at Doncaster on October. Ralph Beckett’s three-year-old by Acclamation had three unsuccessful attempts to break his duck in nurseries over 7f to 1m, having previously been beaten in three maidens over 6f last summer. He starts his sophomore campaign over 7f on a Polytrack surface which looks sure to suit, and given that he has had time to strengthen up, should be able to account for those who have had previous experience. Newcomers Abareeq and Major Assault look the most likely to trouble the selection.
BOLLIN LINE (Catterick 3.30) twice finished runner-up at this track before landing a novice handicap chase over 1m7½f early last month. That was his first win in 16 starts under Rules (he had won two point-to-points) but, up 7lb for that win, he clipped the third last at Musselburgh last time and landed too steeply. Lucinda Egerton’s runner receives weight from five rivals and should go close over the same C&D as his last success.
I AM COLIN (Leicester 2.20) has one win in 13 starts, having taken a modest conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle at Stratford (2m2½f, good) just over a year ago. Nigel Twiston Davies’s seven-year-old has been sent chasing this season and has improved with each of his three starts since November. His latest effort came at Warwick on December 31, when beaten a short-head by Merchant Of Milan in a heavy-ground 2m4f handicap chase, having been dropped back in trip from 3m. Today’s extended 2m6f looks a competitive affair and he concedes weight all round, but it looks a viable opportunity to get off the mark over fences.
VOLUNTEER POINT (Lingfield 4.10) has won three of her last six starts, including a neck victory over My Call in a decent 7f conditions event at Chelmsford. She was racing against her own sex, but she lowered the track record. She had been campaigned almost exclusively over further but took the drop back in her stride, having come from off the pace to get on top in the closing stages. She goes back up in trip to 1m this afternoon and has plenty in hand on official ratings.
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We look to continue our good run with our Premier League selections and, complete with the odds from your club’s betting service, take a glance at the big matches at both ends of the Premier League on Tuesday and Wednesday…
Given Villa’s current malaise, it will be a while before these two are playing each other in the league again.
Reme Garde’s Villa (4.75) are all but down with less than a dozen games remaining, while Everton (1.75) boast one of the most attack-minded coaches in the league, a wealth of top young talent and are in the FA Cup quarter-finals.
Villa have won two of the last 15 meetings and lost five of the last seven. They have shipped at least two goals in each of the last seven meetings (and nine of the last 10) with the Merseysiders.
And should the Toffeemen do that again, it is arguable that Villa will be able to match it, as their inability to find the net has been a recurring and frustrating theme. They have managed just 21 goals in their first 27 league games and are eight points adrift of safety.
Only Manchester City, Tottenham and Leicester have scored more goals than Everton this season, with Romelu Lukaku spearheading a side with width, guile and verve. It is no surprise that Ross Barkley and Lukaku will be the subject of much transfer speculation in the summer. Defender John Stones is almost certain to leave Goodison Park for a big pay-day, too.
Villa, who have won three games in the league all season, had shown a pulse with two wins and two draws in their previous five outings until thumped 6-0 at home by Liverpool on Valentine’s Day. With Manchester City (A), Tottenham (H), Chelsea (H) and Manchester United (A) to play in the next few weeks, it appears that any remaining life will be sucked out of them and they can start preparing for life in the Championship.
It is possible they will lose their only player with potential – Jack Grealish – although he appears to have something of an indifferent attitude and may scare some big clubs off.
Either way, the season is lost and with Everton losing just once on their travels this season, we see an away win as the only realistic outcome. [SM]
Andrew Surman has been one of Bournemouth’s most reliable players this season and the deep lying central midfielder will be facing his former club on Tuesday night. The ever consistent Surman started his footballing career with Southampton, making over 100 senior league appearances in a 13 year spell that saw him rise from youth ranks to first team regular.
Ryan Bertrand has developed into one of the country’s best full backs and is now looking like a near certainty to be included in England’s Euro 2016 squad. The speedy left back joined Southampton from Chelsea for £10m a year ago, after impressing during an initial loan spell. Bertrand has since gone on to be named in the PFA Team of the Year at the end of last season, continuing his fine form during this campaign, despite his side’s struggles.
Southampton have a fine record in this fixture, winning all of the last four meetings between the clubs by two clear goals.
It is also worth noting that Bournemouth have lost four of their last five home league games, while Ronald Koeman’s side are unbeaten in their last three away outings.
The price looks too good to be true – everything points to an away win here. [CC]
Amazingly, Leicester(1.62) are looking like near certainties for Champions League qualification, something that nobody expected when Claudio Ranieri took over at the club in the summer.
All is far from well at the Hawthorns. West Brom (6.00) suffered a convincing defeat to Reading in the FA Cup ten days ago, and the post-match incident involving Chris Brunt and the travelling Baggies fan’s did nothing to help matters. On top of this, rumours about the future of under-fire manager Tony Pulis are beginning to circulate, which appears to be having a negative effect on the playing staff.
Between them, Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez have scored four times in their last two games against West Brom. The two men are among the front runners for this year’s PFA Player of the Year award after sharing over 30 league goals this season.
Darren Fletcher has been West Brom’s best player this season – by a considerable distance. The experienced central midfielder arrived at the Hawthorns from Manchester United a year ago, and was immediately named Baggies captain by Tony Pulis. Since being handed the responsibility, Fletcher has flourished and can often be seen vocally encouraging his teammates as well as leading by example with numerous battling performances.
Since December 2007, these two sides have met on eight occasions, and seven of those games have ended with more than two goals being netted.
In their last two meetings, West Brom and Leicester have shared a staggering ten goals, with the Foxes winning both by a 3-2 score line.
Norwich (5.50) used to have a decent record against Chelsea – until Roman Abramovich arrived with his buying power at Stamford Bridge. And since 2004, the Canaries have failed to win any of the subsequent 10 meetings (losing eight).
Chelsea (1.62) are in the midst of their best run of the season – just one loss in the Champions League (at PSG) in their last 14 in all competitions. They are favourites to win the FA Cup and while still 11 points adrift of the top four, any thoughts of relegation have been banished.
While speculation continues to swirl over who will be the next Chelsea manager, it has to be said that job Guus Hiddink has done in a caretaker capacity since Jose Mourinho’s departure has been nothing short of remarkable.
True, he has quality players in the squad, but many simply cheated Mourinho and the fans, downing tools and regularly not putting in a shift for their ridiculously high wages.
Many fingers were pointing at Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas, who were well below par under the former manager, but they have upped the ante under Hiddink, who is happy to slip away into retirement at season’s end.
We are still not convinced by Diego Costa. Good striker though he is, he brings plenty of unwanted attention to the club each week and his petulant behaviour is a blot on the Premier League.
There is no doubt that Chelsea need reinforcements in the summer, particularly at the back, and the loss of Kurt Zouma through injury has stretched resources. They lack pace and that will catch them out against the best.
Norwich cannot stop leaking goals and are fast slipping towards the drop zone and they have suffered six defeats in their last seven games. They have conceded 10 goals in their last three home games and gave up two-goal leads in their last two.
Chelsea may well rest a few stars ahead of a tough game against Stoke at the weekend and a vitally important Champions League second leg against PSG next Wednesday. Even so, Norwich will do well to earn a point. [SM]
When the going gets tough, the tough get going (yes, we’ve been listening to Absolute 80s), but there is no doubt Sam Allardyce is doing exactly what he was brought in to do at Sunderland (2.50): put the Black Cats in with a chance of staying up.
While they are still currently odds-on to be relegated with My Club Betting, his message appear to have got through and they are playing some of their best football of a disappointing campaign.
They attempted more shots in their 2-1 win over Manchester United (21) than they had in any other Premier League game, but their lack of clean sheets must be worrying Allardyce , who is My Club’s Brand Ambassador.
Their 1-0 West Ham at the weekend means they have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last 13 league games, the longest current run in the division.
Crystal Palace (2.88) gained a confidence-boosting win over Tottenham in the FA Cup at White Hart Lane last week and we suggested it could be the catalyst for a change in fortune. Prior to that, they had failed to failed to win any of their last nine league games (losing six) and it was a run that has seen them slip out of contention for a European place. They appeared to revert to type again at the weekend, when losing 3-2 at fellow strugglers West Brom.
Positive results are usually the norm when these two meet. There have only been four draws in the last 24 meetings (with a maximum of two goals scored in each).
Palace have a poor record in this fixture, however. Their sole win (In 12 attempts) came here last season when Yannick Bolasie scored a second-half hat-trick in the space of 11 minutes.
Sunderland will have to take care at dead-ball situations, as Palace have scored 52% of their goals from set pieces.
While manager Alan Pardew has a near fully-fit squad from which to pick for the first time in a while, we feel Sunderland are playing well enough to steal the points and it should not be too long before they clamber out of the bottom three. [SM]
Arsenal (1.33)return to the Emirates for the first time since their 2-0 Champions League loss to Barcelona last week. Despite the result, Arsenal gave a great account of themselves and would have been disappointed not to lead at half-time after having a good share of possession and creating a handful of clear cut chances.
North London will feel like a new home for Swansea(9.00) who took on Tottenham at White Hart Lane on Sunday afternoon. Francesco Guidolin’s side will need to find at least ten points from their run-in to avoid relegation, which will be no easy feat, particularly with games against Chelsea, Leicester, Liverpool and Man City still to come.
Lukasz Fabianski spent seven years at Arsenal, before leaving on a free transfer in 2014. While the Polish keeper’s spell with the Gunners will generally be seen as unsuccessful, he will never be forgotten Arsenal fan’s by after his heroics in their 2014 FA Cup success. Fabianski was an ever-present for the Gunners during that season’s FA Cup campaign, saving crucial penalties in their semi-final with Wigan and playing all 120 minutes in their final win over Hull.
Fabianski kept a clean sheet on his first return to the Emirates last May, something that Francesco Guidolin will be desperately hoping for on Tuesday evening.
Clashes between these sides are usually high scoring, with four of the last five meetings ending with more than two goals being scored.
In truth, the Gunners don’t have the greatest of records in this fixture. Swansea have managed to avoid defeat in six of the last ten meetings, winning four of those games.
However, with recent form and performances in mind, we see Arsenal having more than enough to get the job done here. [CC]
Newcastle (4.00) have lost their last five Premier League away games in a row and have won only two of the last 20 (D2, L16).
Having climbed out of the bottom three with a 1-0 win over West Brom, they reverted to type against Chelsea, losing 5-1 at Stamford Bridge and dropped back into the relegation zone.
While Steve McClaren took the Toon away from some warm-weather training, his problems increased when skipper Frabricio Coloccini suffered a calf problem during a warm-down after a 2-1 friendly victory over Norwegian side Lillestrom in La Manga. The Argentinian faces up to a month on the sidelines.
With Chancel Mbemba battling an ankle problem and Steven Taylor just two games into his comeback after a five-and-a-half month lay-off, the timing of Coloccini’s injury could not have been worse.
The club’s failure to strengthen further at the back in recent transfer windows is starting to look more costly, although they may well have Paul Dummett, Jack Colback, Vurnon Anita and Siem de Jong available after absences.
Stoke (1.95) are unbeaten in their last four meetings with Newcastle, winning the last two meetings at the Britannia Stadium 1-0. The Magpies have managed just one win in their last seven visits, and two in their last 15 since 1970.
Mark Hughes’s side ended a trio of 3-0 defeats – by Leicester, Manchester United and Everton – with a 3-1 win at Bournemouth last week and their victory over Aston Villa on Saturday leaves them seven points off the top four. They still have the likes of Manchester City and Tottenham to play, so can have a say in the title race.
Either way, it is good to see that such an entertaining side will likely finish in the top half of the table.
Though they failed to score in four games before beating the Cherries, Germany striker Joselu has weighed in with a couple of goals recently, and it usually pays to go with the hot striker where betting is concerned. He is a fair price to get the first goal, and if he scores a second, you will automatically get DUBBLE BUBBLE (double the odds) if you back him via your My Club Betting site.
We see Stoke exploiting a ropey Newcastle defence and gaining a seventh home win of the season. [SM]
Slaven Bilic has really impressed since taking over at Upton Park. West Ham (3.75) are comfortably in the top half of the league table, and recently progressed the quarter finals of the FA Cup after a convincing 5-1 win over Blackburn.
Tottenham (2.00) are also having a fine time of it, and stand a real chance of winning the Premier League title this season. Champions League qualification was the main aim for Mauricio Pochettino’s side at the beginning of the campaign, and that now looks a formality after their recent key victory away at Man City.
While Dimitri Payet has been the most popular of the Hammers summer arrivals, nobody should forget the impact of Angelo Ogbonna. The powerful centre back arrived at Upton Park from Juventus for just under £10m and is already looking like real value for money after a string of wonderful performances next to Hammers stalwart James Collins this season. Ogbonna really endeared himself to the Upton Park faithful after his 120th minute winner in his side’s recent FA Cup victory over Liverpool.
Harry Kane is not the most popular figure among West Ham fans. The former Millwall loannee has scored three times in his last two appearances against the East Londoners, however it is not his Millwall past nor his recent goal scoring record that has turned the Hammers fans bitter.
The bad feeling dates back to their meeting last February. Kane appeared to ‘go down easily’ while winning a last minute penalty, which he then converted himself – much to the anger of the West Ham support.
This game falls just three days before Saturday’s massive North London derby, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see Tottenham resting a few of their bigger names at Upton Park.
It is also worth noting that the Lilywhites have won just two of their last six meetings with West Ham.
With that in mind, we feel that the visitors are simply too short for this one, and are more than happy to lay them here. [CC]
On Wednesday night, Liverpool (2.50) and Manchester City (2.88) clash for the second time in just three days. The two sides went head-to-head in the League Cup Final at Wembley on Sunday afternoon, with Manchester City lifting the trophy after a 3-1 win on penalties.
Phillippe Coutinho has a fine goal scoring record against Wednesday’s opponents. The talented Brazilian has managed to net in four of the last five league appearances, including a sumptuous long-range strike at Anfield a year ago and also in Sunday’s final. Coutinho was the best player on the field in the reverse fixture at the Etihad, scoring once and laying on a wonderful assist for fellow Brazilian Roberto Firmino in Liverpool’s dominant victory.
Wednesday sees Raheem Sterling return to Anfield for the first time since leaving Liverpool in the summer. During his last six months at the club, Sterling became less than popular with the Reds faithful after refusing to sign a long term contract and an evident dip in performances. The England international eventually got his wish in early July, when Liverpool accepted a staggering £49m bid from Wednesday’s opponents.
In truth, the speedy youngster is yet to convince since arriving in Manchester, finding himself on the sidelines in recent weeks after unconvincing performances during the January period. Make no mistakes – Sterling won’t receive a good reception from the Kop on Wednesday night!
As mentioned in the previous edition, goals are usually on the agenda when these two sides meet, and this was evident in the reverse fixture back in November, which ended in a 4-1 away victory for Liverpool.
Both sides have managed to find the net in all of their last seven league meetings and with this in mind, we are going for a scoring draw at Anfield. [CC]
They have a fair chance of getting to the FA Cup semi-finals, since they play a flaky West Ham side in the quarter-finals on Saturday week. They are also still in the Europa League – and victory in the lesser of the European competitions comes with a guaranteed Champions League spot next season.
Still, they are one of the dullest sides in the Premier League to watch.
While Van Gall’s CV is bountiful, it is all about the here and now – and United simply bore the pants off anyone who has the misfortune to watch them. They lack width and are predictable.
Under Sir Alex Ferguson, United won 38 trophies. Since 2013 under David Moyes and Van Gaal, they have won the Community Shield. Big whoop.
To be fair to the manager, he has had a length injury list to deal with. Already without 13 players before their FA Cup win at Shrewsbury, they lost Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Will Keane to injury. Jesse Lingard also finished the game limping. Wayne Rooney is sidelined for the next six weeks with a knee injury, while first-teamers Bastian Schweinsteiger, Ashley Young, Phil Jones, Luke Shaw and Marcus Rojo remain out.
The injuries have left plenty of scope to blood youngsters and while Marcus Rashford has been hitting the headlines – his brace against Arsenal (his second double in as many games) – and Memphis Depay has had a couple of good games recently, you don’t win anything with kids. Not at this level, at least.
Watford (6.00) have had a tremendous first season back in the top flight and they are certain to be in the Premier League next season. They also have an FA Cup quarter-final to look forward to.
Unlike United, Watford have a strike-force that is the envy of the division in Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo, yet the Hornets have a poor record against United, having lost the last nine meetings. In all but one of those games, Watford conceded two or more goals.
They have managed just two wins over the Red Devils in 18 attempts – and both of those came at Vicarage Road. They have never won at Old Trafford, losing on six of their eight trips.
After two tough games against Midtjylland and Arsenal (both victories), we feel United might be ripe for the taking and take a chance on Watford securing at least a point. [SM]
After a seventh winning nap in the last nine days on Saturday (the other two were second and Sunday’s best bet was a non-runner), not only does your club’s new betting service come complete with an extensive suite ofhorseracing markets,we give you a few winners as well!
Each day we will be providing you with apreview of the day’s racing, offering what our experts feel will be the value bets of the day. Here is our idea of a Lucky 15 for Monday…
THE CIDER MAKER (Plumpton 3.40) was a little fortunate break his duck here last time, winning a moderate 3m1½f novices’ chase in heavy ground, with the race falling apart (two of the six-runner field pulled up, one unseated and another fell). However, Colin Tizzard’s six-year-old, who had undergone a wind operation since his previous run, made light of the conditions and looked in need of the trip. He made the odd mistake, but that can be forgiven. He runs over the same trip and he should be able to shoulder an 11lb hike at the weights.
MAHLER’S SON (Plumpton 2.00) looked a hurdler with potential when second to a more experience rival at Towcester on his debut over 2m in soft ground. He was unfancied that afternoon, largely owing to a 10-month break after finishing runner-up in an Irish maiden point-to-point. He had previous winners in behind and the sixth home, King Cool, scored at Fontwell on Sunday. That form looks solid enough, trainer David Bridgewater’s stable is in form and the selection should strip fitter today in this competitive 2m maiden hurdle.
FAIRYTALE THEATRE (Ayr 1.40) takes a drop back to 2m, having raced exclusively over further since her bumper days. Dan Skelton’s nine-year-old, well beaten in a 2m7½f Grade 2 mares’ Ascot hurdle last month behind Vroum Vroum Mag, has not won for two years since landing a novices’ handicap at Wincanton. Today, she makes a belated chasing bow and receives 7lb from her sole rival. If she runs anywhere near to her hurdling mark, she should win easily.
KILBREE CHIEF(Ayr 4.20) has finished runner-up on all three chase starts since being switched this term, and has mproved with each run, latterly when a half-length runner-up to Subtle Grey in a three-runner 3m½f heavy-ground affair at Carlisle. Earlier this month. Though flattered to finish so close to the idling winner, Donald McCain thinks quite highly of Subtle Grey, so Lucinda Russell’s eight-year-old can probably be seen in a better light than the bare form suggests. The eight-year-old has a fair chance of getting off the mark over fences in a competitive 3m3f handicap and has to concede weight all round, but runs off the same mark of 119 which gives him a leading chance.
After a seventh winning nap in the last nine days on Saturday (the other two were second), not only does your club’s new betting service come complete with an extensive suite ofhorseracing markets,we give you a few winners as well!
Each day we will be providing you with apreview of the day’s racing, offering what our experts feel will be the value bets of the day. Here is our idea of a Lucky 15 for Sunday…
AS DE MEE (Fontwell 2.20) looks the most obvious selection on a low-key day, bereft of quality. Entered in yesterday’s Pendil Chase at Kempton, Trainer Paul Nicholls has obviously decided that a confidence booster would be preferential ahead of a potential trip to Cheltenham for the JLT Novices’ Hurdle. He won a Grade 3 novices’ hurdle at Sandown last March but seeks a chasing victory having been a fair second to Bristol De Mai in the Grade 1 Scilly Isles Novices Chase earlier this month. This drop in class should see him get on top at last.
GRUMETI (Fontwell 3.20) is nothing but versatile. A Grade 1 hurdle winner at Aintree four years ago, he has won a couple of novice chases and his last victory was in the Cesarewitch on the Flat at Newmarket last October. Alan King’s eight-year-old lines up in the Grade 2 National Spirit Hurdle this afternoon, having been beaten 12 lengths by Rock On Ruby in the Grade 2 Ascot Hurdle back in November. He has run well when fresh in the past and the hope is he will do so again.
SPACE CADET (Leopardstown 2.00) has finished runner-up on five of his last six starts in bumpers and maiden hurdles (last four). Gordon Elliott’s representative has been called some names regarding his resolution, which seems fair enough, yet it is also hard to know what his ideal trip is, judged on his narrow defeat at Fairyhouse last time, when he did not seem to get home over 2m4f. He goes over a similar trip today in another maiden hurdle and while enigmatic, this looks a fair opportunity to finally get off the mark.
ORCHARD ROAD (Southwell 4.10) drops back into selling handicap hurdling company, a grade that he has attempted only once, but one in which he was not beaten far at Sedgefield in November 2014. Tristan Davidson’s charge h=is relatively lightly-raced for a nine-year-old and has been found out in class 4 handicaps in his last two starts, but the handicapper has started to relent and Dairmuid O’Regan’s 5lb claim could be invaluable.
Not only does your club’s new betting service come complete with an extensive suite ofhorseracing markets,we try to give you a few winners as well!
Each day we will be providing you with apreview of the day’s racing, offering what our experts feel will be the value bets of the day. Here is the preview of the big race of the day and our idea of a Lucky 15…
THE STATS – This race is an obvious stepping stone or final prep for horses targeting the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, yet the last winner to do the double was Flown in 1992.
Some trainers have also used this as a prep for juvenile hurdlers, despite the fact that the Adonis Hurdle, restricted to four-year-olds, is also run on the same card. Alan King’s Grumeti won this race in 2012 and was sent off as favourite for the Triumph Hurdle (finishing third). He went on to win the Grade 1 Anniversary 4-Y-O Hurdle at Aintree the following month.
Another notable winner was Sire De Grugy, who landed this race in 2011 and subsequently developed into a Champion Chaser.
There have been three winning favourites in the last four renewals and Nicky Henderson has saddled three Dovecote winners in the last nine years, including two of the last three. Five of the last 10 winners were aged five.
INSIGHT – There are never very runners in this decent Grade 2 event and this renewal is no exception with five going to post, none of whom won last time out. Four of the quintet scored on their penultimate start, however. Despite the paucity of runners, there should be a decent pace.
Marracudja represents Paul Nicholls, who has won this race twice in the last six years with Escort’men (2010) and Irving (2014). The five-year-old likes to get on with things, as he showed when unsuccessful in his hat-trick bid here on Boxing Day. Having won a novices’ hurdle by eight lengths at Wincanton, he followed up over course and distance in November, but was picked off in a better event here last time. He has dropped 2lb to a mark of 136 and is conceding weight to all bar Welsh Shadow.
The latter-named, trained by former Nicholls’ assistant Dan Skelton, won a decent Class 2 Listed novices’ hurdle at Haydock on his third start in November, having made a winning debut in a Wetherby bumper last March.
The six-year-old was a little disappointing when upped in class for the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown on January 2, however. He did not jump fluently out of the heavy ground and, held up, he made little impression when the pace increased. The stable were not in great form at the time, either, so excuses can be made. The Skelton yard scored twice on Friday at Exeter with Captain Chaos and Girly Girl (both tipped by the MyClubBetting experts) and Weslsh Shadow represents the biggest danger to the selection.
Cold March is entered in three chases at the Cheltenham Festival, including the Ryanair Chase, for which Venetia Williams’ runner is a 100/1 shot. Rates 150 over the bigger obstacles, the six-year-old has not run over hurdles since finishing fifth in a Listed 4yo event at Auteuil before joining his current trainer in June 2014. His ability is clearly apparent, as he took a Listed 2m1f handicap chase at Ascot in October.
However, it would be an upset should he plunder the spoils in this hot heat.
Oceane appears to be the second string from Alan King’s yard. He was foiled in a hat-trick bid when second favourite for Grade 2 Triumph Hurdle Trial at Cheltenham in November, having been upped in class after facile victories in a Fontwell maiden and a Kempton juvenile hurdle on faster ground than he will encounter today.
While easy to back when beaten by Wolf Of Windlesham at Cheltenham, he is no back number and went off second favourite that day.
WINTER ESCAPE (NAP) is the King first string and will take plenty of beating, however. The five-year-old, whose dam is from the family of the high-class hurdler Black Jack Ketchum, has had just two starts and won them both. He travelled strongly on his debut at Doncaster and was good value for is 3¾l win over Deauville Dancer. He then followed up over the same course and 2m½f distance in a novice hurdle Barry Geraghty, despite making a mistake at the second last.
King considers him “potentially exciting” but given his inexperience, it is unlikely we will see him in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and he may well head to Aintree instead.
MUTHMIR (Lingfield 1.45) heads the weights for a cracking 5f Listed sprint to kick off Lingfield’s six-race card. William Haggas’s six-year-old is something of a turf specialist and won the Group 2 King George Stakes at Goodwood in July (by a head from Take Cover, who re-opposes). He was last seen in October, when sent off favourite for the Group 1 Prix de L’Abbaye at Longchamp when third to Goldream. The draw (stall 1) should be no handicap and he can get the new season off to a flyer.
ROCKY CREEK (Kempton 3.35) will not be on everyone’s radar in the ultra-competitive 3m chase, given that he was a very disappointing fourth to Houblon Des Obeaux in the Denman Chase at Newbury, embarrassing trainer Paul Nicholls, who said he had him looking “as good as ever” beforehand. Sent off favourite that day and having his first run since being pulled up in the Grand Sefton Chase at Aintree, he lacked fluency and Nicholls has opted for first-time blinkers in a bit to liven him up. He has plenty to prove now, but it must be remembered that he was runner-up to the high-class Don Cossack in the Grade 1 Champion Chase at Down Royal in October and a replication of that form may well be good enough. Either way, he is going to be a much bigger price than his form warrants.
CULTRAM ABBEY (Newcastle 2.50) should be a decent price in the 4m½f Eider Chase, but he is a horse with plenty of potential. Nicky Richards only started him over fences in November, but the lightly-raced nine-year-old (who has had only 12 starts under Rules), has shown plenty of ability and was unlucky not to get off the mark over 1m short of today’s trip at Ayr in early January. Dropped back to 2m3½f at Wetherby, he was dropped out but made up plenty of ground in the closing stages to win by eight lengths. That was only his fourth start over fences and Richards, who used the sharper trip to sharpen his jumping, knows that his representative has plenty of stamina.
SELECTIONS FOR SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2016
CHEPSTOW: 2.05 Aurillac, 2.40 Ivy Gate, 3.10 Ballyglasheen, 3.45 Arpege D’alene, 4.20 Arthur’s Oak, 4.55 Not For You, 5.30 Bacchanel
KEMPTON PARK: 2.00 Gibralfaro, 2.35 The Saint James, 3.05 WINTER ESCAPE (NAP), 3.35 Rocky Creek, 4.10 Kublai, 4.45 Cloudy Bob, 5.20 Berce
NEWCASTLE: 1.50 Seeyouatmidnight, 2.20 So Satisfied, 2.50 Cultram Abbey, 3.25 Delusionofgrandeur, 4.00 Presenting Rose, 4.35 Special Catch, 5.05 Shambougg
LINGFIELD:1.45 Muthmir (nb), 2.15 The New Master, 2.45 Plutocracy, 3.20 Energia Davos, 3.55 Si Senor, 4.30 Lady Lloyd
NAVAN: 1.55 All Souls, 2.30 General Principle, 3.00 Owennacurra Milan, 3.30 Kansas City Chief, 4.05 Black Zero, 4.40 Witness Of Fashion, 5.15 Bel Sas
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We give you free kit. We give you money back. And we give you winners! Thursday saw our SIXTH winning nap (at 11/4) in SEVEN days. Our Next best selection won as well (at 10/3) – that was a nice little 15/1 double.
Remember, your club’s new betting service comes complete with an extensive suite ofhorseracing marketsand every day we will be providing you with apreview of the day’s racing, offering what our experts feel will be the value bets of the day. Here is Friday’s Lucky 15…
FOUR MILE BEACH(Wolverhampton 8.15) should take all the beating in the three-year-old maiden that concludes Wolverhampton’s interesting six-race evening card. Mark Johnston’s representative was third on his debut over 1m at Southwell 10 days ago and despite running a little green, stayed on well, having started slowly. He gets an extra half-a-furlong today and there is no reason why he will not go on the Tapeta surface, given that he is trained on it at Middleham. The trainer’s 19% overall strike rate at the track (he is also 19% with his three-year-olds here) in the last five seasons is not to be sneezed at. Newcomer Ultimate Star, who cost £230,000 as a yearling, rates the danger, but that previous experience should make the difference.
PILLARD (Warwick 2.40) was a little disappointing on his British debut for Jonjo O’Neill when beaten comprehensively by Sneaking Budge in a weak 2m juvenile hurdle by Sandown’s standards. The four-year-old, who had won over hurdles at Vichy over 2m1½f on good to soft ground last August, may have been unconvinced by the deep ground he encountered at the Esher track, particularly since he was having his first run four months. It has taken a little time to get over that experience, but he should come on a bit for that and the fitting of a hood may also benefit Richard Johnson’s mount.
JARIR (Lingfield 4.40) has a fair chance of following up his all-the-way 1m2f win here a month ago in a competitive 1m4f handicap. He stepped up on his fine handicap debut second at Southwell to score readily last time and while this son of Oasis Dream has an extra 7lb to shoulder and is upped in class, he is bred to improve over middle distances and should have plenty more to offer.
TRIPLE CHIEF (Exeter 5.30) is a viable option in a very weak-looking 2m1f handicap hurdle that concludes Exeter’s seven-race card. Chris Down’s runner finally got off the mark at the nineteenth attempt at Plumpton 11 days ago under top weight in a conditionals’ event. He was given a peach of a waiting ride by young Cairan Gethings, whose 5lb claim could make all the difference today. He runs off the same mark and while by no means a certainty, this strong traveller may improve a bit for this less taxing ground.
We give you free kit. We give you money back. And we give you winners! Wednesday saw our FIFTH winning nap in SIX days. You’re welcome.
Remember, your club’s new betting service comes complete with an extensive suite ofhorseracing marketsand every day we will be providing you with apreview of the day’s racing, offering what our experts feel will be the value bets of the day. Here is Thursday’s Lucky 15…
SKIDBY MILL(Lingfield 2.00) is the epitome of what a consistent mare should be. The Laura Mongan-trained six-year-old rarely runs a bad race and while her strike-rate has not been fantastic of late (3-30), she has been placed on numerous occasions. She has gone down fighting by a length in each of her last two starts, both runs coming here over 1m, and while she has yet to win off a mark as high as 64, she has won four times over C&D and has been knocking on the door of late.
OSCAR O’SCAR(Sedgefield 2.55) made a pleasing chasing debut, despite going down by 4½l to Bollin Line in a novices’ handicap at Catterick just shy of 2m earlier this month. Micky Hammond’s inmate, still a maiden after 16 starts, has looked better over further and while today’s extended 2m3f trip may still be on the sharp side, he is expected to reverse form with Discoverie, who was one place and two lengths in front of him last time.
MY TARGET(Lingfield Park 3.45) was upped to a mile at Chelmsford last time, having previously run in a stronger 7f event at Wolverhampton than when scoring over that C&D on Boxing Day. Michael Wigham’s runner ran a fine fifth at Chelmsford, going down by a length to Loyalty (form subsequently franked by sixth home Fleckerl) off today’s mark of 84. He was very well backed, coming from well behind to get involved. A little more luck in running should see the five-year-old thereabouts again.
BLUE RAMBLER (Huntingdon 1.45) won four races in France in 2013, including a Listed 3yo event over a mile and a half. He was not up to that standard for Charlie Appleby last April, finishing last of seven in a 1m6f Listed event at Nottingham, having had six months off. Now with John Ferguson, he jumped soundly on his hurdling debut at Catterick in December, and improved a shade when a narrow runner-up on his second attempt at Musselburgh last month (2m3½f, soft) to an odds-on favourite. Though he stayed on strongly, suggesting he will need a stiffer test of stamina, he drops back to 2m today and the track should suit.