Our resident tipster is heading north of the border in search of winners
I’m giving the flat a big swerve this afternoon / evening and turning instead to the northernmost jumps racecourse in Britain for winners.
I’m referring to Perth of course and the second day of the track’s April Festival. There are seven races on offer and they’ve held up really well in terms of numbers, which is more than can be said for recent West Country meetings. But then again scheduling Wincanton, Newton Abbot, Exeter and Taunton on consecutive days was never going to be a good idea this time of year. BHA, take note!!
One of the BHA’s better ideas has been the introduction of veterans’ chases as it’s given many much-loved older horses a chance to compete for decent prize money, and the 11-year-old CREEVYTENNANT certainly made the most of his opportunity when hacking up in such a race at Ascot last time. It was a competitive little contest too as he had the subsequent Scottish Grand National winner Wayward Prince behind in third and, given his current frame of mind, he’s taken to follow up in this afternoon’s Kilmany Challenge Cup Handicap Chase (4.20pm).
Fergal O’Brien’s charge carries top weight this afternoon and is back amongst younger rivals, but he’s clearly no back number at the age of 11 and has won on his last two visits to the track, most recently in September on good ground like today’s. Conor Shoemark, who has steered him to victory five times from just eight rides, takes a handy 3lb off his back. He looks the bet of the day for me as none of his six rivals can hold a candle to him in terms of course and recent form.
You won’t go far wrong following County Meath-based trainer Gordon Elliott at the Scottish track as he rarely leaves empty handed, and all his runners at this meeting will have been primed. His Skilled looks a steering job in the opener at long odds-on and he can double up with ESHTIAAL, who is a far more backable 11/4 in the closing 2m4f handicap hurdle (5.25pm). A decent performer on the flat when with Brian Meehan, he’s taken time to find his feet over hurdles, but the penny dropped in a Wexford handicap just 13 days ago when finishing second to a well-backed favourite. With conditions identical here, he can get his head in front under Richard Johnson who has a 36% strike rate for the stable, which rises to 41% (7-17) over hurdles.
Last but not least, TIGER O’TOOLE was a much-needed winner for this column last week and Henry Oliver’s rejuvenated hurdler is a strong fancy to follow up in this afternoon’s 2m3f handicap hurdle at Warwick (1.40pm). Thrown in on some of his old form, he won like the good thing he was at Carlisle and as that was a race for conditional jockeys he escapes a penalty. Talented 3lb claimer Jerry McGrath keeps the ride on him.
Try a 1pt trixie (three doubles and one treble, four bets in total) on the above.