What are the best bets at Carlisle on Sunday?
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14:10 bookies.com Novice Auction Stakes, 5f 193y
Punters are faced with a short-priced favourite in this opener, with William Muir’s PHIJEE odds-on in places, and the best advice is to lump on at bet365’s even money. He has easily the best form of those to have had a run, having just lost out in a photo at Newbury on his debut, and it was only greenness that cost him victory – he hit 1.01 in running only to get lonely up front and allow the winner to get back up. Given he’s likely to improve for the experience, he must take all the beating, though both Vintage Dream and Baie D’Amour have shown enough to suggest they can make it interesting.
14:40 Get Carlisle Tips At bookies.com Nursery, 5f
This is far more open and it’s fair to say any of the nine runners can win. But I keep coming back to top weight THREE C’S, who is Worcestershire-based David Dennis’ first runner at the track and has found only one too good on his last two starts. The latest of those came over 6f at Epsom, having kept on into second at Chester previously, but this is a stiff 5f and I’d expect his rider Ben Curtis, who has a terrific 25% (16-64) strike rate at the track, to be positive on him from the front. He’s entered up all over the place in the coming week or so, including at Glorious Goodwood, so it’s possible that connections see this as the easier option. Take Betfair’s 4/1.
15:15 Compare Best Odds At bookies.com Handicap, 1m3f39y
Sennockian Star has dropped back down to a good mark and hinted he was ready to take advantage when third in a better race two starts back. He could also do with picking up a penalty if he’s to have a chance of getting into the Glorious Goodwood handicap he won in 2014. He’s hard to pass over but in the hope the forecast morning rain materialises, I’m going with Lucy Nomile’s ROYAL REGENT instead. Both of his wins have come on soft ground at Ayr, the latest by three lengths just 13 days ago, and this lightly-raced sort looks capable of rating higher than his current mark of 77. His trainer is 2-8 (29%) here, so it all adds up to a big run and Betway’s 13/2 is fair. Should the going deteriorate from the current ‘good’, he’ll be a lot shorter.
Top Of The Glas is respected of the rest after his latest second at Newcastle, though his winless sequence has reached 16 now.
15:50 bookies.com Betting Tips Handicap, 1m1f
Forecast favourite Toffee Apple could only finish fourth when attempting to land a hat-trick at Musselburgh six days ago and, having had four quick runs in a month, she might be ready for a break. The two last-time-out winners are also opposable: top weight Blacklister was all out when prevailing by a short head in a modest Haydock contest, while Wootton Vale also scrambled home by that margin in a lower grade handicap at Nottingham from Frozon, who let the form down next time.
That’s not to say they can’t win of course but, at the odds, I’d rather take a chance on BIT OF A QUIRKE at bet365’s 11/2. Mark Walford’s charge has shown more than enough in finishing second on his last two starts over shorter to suggest he can land a small handicap like this one off his current mark. On both occasions he has given the impression he needed more of a test and the stiff finish here should be right up his street.
16:25 Opera Bingo Maiden Stakes, 1m1f
None of the newcomers make much appeal and the best of those with experience may be William Haggas’ HIS KYLLACHY, a 4/1 shot with Betfair who was a promising third on his Windsor debut over an extended mile, giving the impression he wanted a stronger test. The stable runners do tend to need a run and this track has proved a happy hunting ground for the Newmarket-based trainer, who has form figures of 213111U336121 (6-13) at this track since 2013 for a profit of £4.95 to £1 level-stakes. His booking of Ben Curtis also takes the eye, with the rider boasting a 1-4 strike rate and all his rides yielding a whopping £102.75 since 2012. Karl Burke’s Apres Midi is feared most.
17:00 bookies.com Handicap, 7f 173y
Curtis gets the leg up on the Brian Ellison-trained MISTER ROYAL in this class 5 handicap and the ex-Irish five-year-old is the form horse having narrowly failed to follow up a Catterick win on his stable debut at Nottingham just nine days ago. A 5lb rise makes life tougher for him and a couple of his rivals, Character Onesie and Who’s Shirl, could prove troublesome, but he’s worth sticking with in his current frame of mind. Sadly, the bookmakers see it that way too and we’re being asked to take 11/10 (Hills being one of several firms offering that price), but I think he’ll win.
17:30 Free Horse Racing Bets At bookies.com Handicap, 6f 195y
I just hope we’ve backed a winner or two by time of this closing handicap as it looks tricky to say the least. Only rank outsider In Focus can be ruled out with any real confidence so it’s only a tentative vote that goes to WAR DEPARTMENT, who is making his debut for Keith Dalgleish after losing his way with William Haggas and then Michael Bell. The former was in charge when he won on his debut over this trip at Leicester in May of last year and he was then sent off at just 7/1 for Royal Ascot’s Coventry Stakes on his next start. He finished last there and has shown precious little since, but his handicap mark has plummeted as a result and his new trainer has improved horses of lesser raw ability in the past. In which case, it’s worth having a little of bet365’s 9/1 to find out.
Good luck with your Carlisle bets!