Our resident tipster puts up five horses worth backing this afternoon.
If you’re having a bet this afternoon – and why not?! – the following five horses might help you turn a profit.
WARRANTOR (1.30 Wincanton) @ 7/1 Paddy Power
This is a cracking renewal of the Rising Stars Novices’ Chase and it will take a good horse to win it. The Paul Nicholls-trained Arpege D’Alene has been put in as favourite and the five-year-old, a dual winner over hurdles at Ascot last term, has to be respected on his chasing debut. However, Warrantor could turn out to be just as good over fences and the vibes coming out of his stable have been very positive, with his in-form trainer Warren Greatrex saying he “jumps brilliantly’” at home. He was at his best in the early part of last season and with his stable in flying form – five winners in the last fortnight going into Friday’s racing – there’s every reason to think he will be straight enough to land this valuable prize first time out.
ISAACSTOWN LAD (1.40 Kelso) @ 11/4 William Hill
Nicky Richards’ charge has climbed the ratings after a couple of handicap hurdle successes in the spring, including a Class 4 here in easy fashion, going up a whopping 22lb in total. However, the lightly-raced eight-year-old may be improving fast to cope and encouragement for that can be gleaned from a recent Stable Tour, with Richards saying it was “still worth keeping on the right side of him” and, indeed, making him his ‘trainer’s pick’, which is some compliment when you consider the talent he has at his disposal. The selection is up in grade this afternoon and therefore taking on better horses, but none look as progressive as him and the forecast “good to soft” ground is perfect as he doesn’t want it too testing.
THE OULD LAD (Badger Ales Trophy, 2.05 Wincanton) @ 7/2 William Hill
Paul Nicholls has won this Wincanton feature seven times and having missed the target for the last three years, he’ll be keen to put that right on Saturday. He fires two arrows at the race and last year’s fourth Benvolio should again make his presence felt, but he’s giving an awful lot of weight to his stablemate The Ould Lad, who is potentially thrown in on the form he showed for Tom George in the early part of last season. He dotted up twice in November before finishing second to Benbane Head at the December Cheltenham meeting, only for the wheels to come off after largely due to some indifferent fencing. However, he’s joined Nicholls since and we all know the champion trainer is a dab hand at ironing out jumping issues and building up a horse’s confidence. If he has worked his magic, the seven-year-old could take some stopping off his low weight.
BINCOMBE (3.05 Aintree) @ 8/1 Paddy Power
Philip Hobbs’ charge has been plagued with inconsistency in the past – form figures last season of 3R1PP513 – but his overall chase record of 5-14 is not to be sneezed at and the seven-year-old may have more improvement in him. He will have to progress to defy a mark just a 1lb lower than his peak rating and this Class 2 looks a competitive start to his season. However, his stable is in flying form and his trainer was sounding hopeful in a recent Stable Tour that his tendency to jump left has been ironed out at home by some intensive physio. He also reported the gelding to have had a breathing operation in September and he wouldn’t be the first horse to improve for having his wind sorted. Connor Smith, who has ridden one winner for the stable from his four chase rides, takes 7lb off his back and that means he gets weight from all his rivals.
ZARIB (Elite Hurdle, 3.15 Wincanton) @ 11/4 BetVictor
Dan Skelton sent out the 148-rated Bertimont to finish second in this race 12 month ago and in Zarib, who starts this season on a mark of 133, he looks to have a much better handicapped horse to go to war with. He was one of last season’s better juveniles, winning a couple of times including one here in February, and his sixth place finish in the Fred Winter at the Cheltenham Festival can be upgraded as his rider was perhaps guilty of riding him a little too positively, having taken it up approaching the last. The fifth-placed horse, All Yours, re-opposes this afternoon, but he looks to have a tough task at these weights, being 9lb worse off and having just over a length to spare. The final word on the selection goes to his trainer, who said: “Hopefully he starts in the Elite Hurdle and I think this season there is a really competitive handicap in him. He travels well and his jumping appears to have got better at home.”