Our racing expert has unearthed five horses for potential profit.
The Flat turf season has already started – at Redcar last Monday if you hadn’t noticed?! – but call me old fashioned as I’ve always considered the Doncaster Lincoln meeting as the official start, with seven races on Town Moor this afternoon to kick us off.
Sadly, only two are on Channel 4 who have deemed qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix to be more important and that ‘sport’ has brought about the ignominious moving forward of the feature Lincoln handicap to a due off time of 2.45pm, with the rest of the card demoted to More 4.
It’s a sorry state of affairs and racing should hang its head in shame that it has allowed itself to be pushed around by Channel 4, but let’s not dwell on that here and concentrate on finding a few winners to help pay for the weekend. I’ve already covered the feature Lincoln elsewhere so, without further ado, here’s five horses who could wreak some damage on the bookmakers.
ASTON CANTLOW (Uttoxeter 2.00) @ 6/4 bet365
Joined Philip Hobbs after the second of his bumper starts in Ireland and while he’s yet to get his head in front in four hurdle starts for the Minehead trainer, he’s shown more than enough to suggest this modest maiden is his for the taking. His latest and best effort came on his handicap debut at Sandown in February when he finished a close third. He looked in need of the run that day and therefore should come on plenty with today’s longer trip also in his favour.
TOP WOOD (Kelso 2.20) @ 7/2 William Hill
David Pipe’s charge would almost certainly have been involved in the scrap for the places in the Kim Muir at Cheltenham had he not come down four out, so well was he going. Prior to that he’d bounce back to winning form over fences at Ludlow, making most to win by an eased down 16 lengths, and he’s clearly on very good terms with himself. Much better treated over the small obstacles, this looks an excellent piece of placement by his shrewd handler, who does well on his forays north of the border.
FOX APPEAL (Newbury 3.05) @ 13/2 Betway
Emma Lavelle’s charge has faced some stiff tasks of late and will appreciate this drop in grade. Twice a winner over fences, he ran two crackers in defeat last autumn, finishing third at Cheltenham and Ascot, before getting found out in tough handicaps, including at the Cheltenham Festival last time. The handicapper has cut him some slack for those efforts, dropping him back to 143, and I’ll be very disappointed if he can’t give weight and a beating to today’s seven rivals.
HEATHFIELD (Navan 4.05) @ best morning-line price
Trainer Tony Martin has found some form of late with three winners in the last fortnight and his nine-year-old looks nicely treated on his return to hurdles after an unsuccessful spell chasing. He was far from disgraced when finishing ninth (of 28) in the Paddy Power Chase over the Christmas period and has won three times over fences, but he’s rated 17lb lower over the smaller obstacles and is probably better off giving weight away to inferior rivals in lower grade races like this one. Mark Walsh rides the top weight.
THE LAST LION (Doncaster 4.30) @ 3/1 Sky Bet
This year’s Brocklesby is all the more interesting for the presence of Wesley Ward’s Create A Dream. The US-based trainer is a dab hand with juveniles, plundering several prizes at Royal Ascot. His daughter of Oasis Dream may well be good enough here under Frankie Dettori but she also makes the market for the rest and Mark Johnston’s runner, who is related to prolific winning sprinters Russian Rock and Silvanus, should know his job. The stable’s two-year-olds look forward well forward this season, with a double at Kempton last weekend as proof, and the stable won this race 12 months ago.