Take a look at our Lucky 15 selections (four singles, six doubles, four trebles and a four-fold) for the British meetings on Wednesday, January 25, 2017.
JALEO (Catterick 2.30) was entered in an extended 2m3f Grade 3 handicap hurdle at Ascot last weekend, but with that meeting frozen off, he makes plenty of appeal in a decent handicap over a similar trip today. He appeared to be a progressive sort before falling at the first in the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton last week, having been sent off favourite for the ultra-competitive Fred Winter at last year’s Cheltenham Festival before scoring on his return to action at Lingfield in December in a race that would not have been run to suit. The biggest concern is not that he shoulders top weight today, it is that Ben Pauling’s runner may not be suited by a small field where there is no guarantee of a stiff pace, which he would arguably prefer. Owner John Ferguson’s son, Alex, takes off a useful 7lb though, so he would hold a better than average chance in our book.
CIRCULATE (Lingfield Park 1.35) has had four starts without scoring but is the most experienced in the nine-runner field for the 7f maiden auction race and may well put that seasoning to good use. Trainer Tom Clover spent six seasons as assistant to David Simcock and will have learned a thing or two before branching out on his own in partnership with Jackie Jarvis, daughter of the late Classic-winning trainer Michael Jarvis. Clover has not had many runners, but Ashkari was only beaten a short head at Wolverhampton last week as she attempted to make all the running in a 7f maiden and while she won’t have many easier opportunities to get off the mark, today’s race looks bereft of any superstars.
AZERT DE COEUR (Ludlow 2.15) also carries top weight in a handicap and has gone up 5lb for simply sitting in his box, which seems a little unfair, given that he was beaten 55 lengths by Germany Calling in a 2m3f handicap chase at Doncaster in November. He went into that on the back of an impressive display at Chepstow, when scoring off a mark of 104 on his first run for 200 days. That is no surprise, given that Venetia Williams a master of her craft. The reason for his subsequent defeat was simple – he bled. The fact remains that he has had plenty of time to recover, goes well when fresh and the stable is in decent form, so the seven-year-old would appear to hold a fair chance of gaining a second win over fences in the 3m1½f handicap, which represents a drop in class.
THE BARD’S ADVICE (Newcastle 5.45) is not going to be on most punting radars, given that she has had one relatively unprepossessing run back in September. Keith Dalgleish’s runner was allowed to go off at 14/1 for a modest 6f juvenile maiden and, having made fair headway to over 2f out, she faded in the last 100 yards. This half-sister to all-weather winners Sound Advice and Archie’s Advice was beaten three lengths in the end, but the two horses in front of her won next time out, so the form may not be as bad as first thought. While she has to overcome a 145-day break, she might be a bit of value on her second start, as she has a fly weight in what looks a weak 1m maiden and is entitled to improve.
CATTERICK: 1.25 Cracking Find, 1.55 Major Ridge, 2.30 JALEO (NAP), 3.05 Two Taffs, 3.40 Herons Heir, 4.10 Rocky Two
LINGFIELD PARK: 1.05 Sky Ballerina, 1.35 Circulate (nb), 2.05 Tell A Story, 2.40 Shan Dun Na Ngall, 3.15 Coillte Cailin, 3.50 Winning Ways, 4.20 Major Muscari
LUDLOW: 1.45 Oxwich Bay, 2.15 Azert De Coeur, 2.50 Viking Mistress, 3.25 Un Prophete, 4.00 Aunty Ann, 4.30 Iconic Sky
NEWCASTLE: 4.15 Cavalieri, 4.45 Yasood, 5.15 Spinwheel, 5.45 The Bard’s Advice, 6.15 Captain Dion, 6.45 Erissimus Maximus
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