What are the best bets this afternoon? - we asked our resident tipster for his thoughts.
After plenty of study (and head-scratching), here are five horses who might just help you turn a profit this afternoon.
ALLOW DALLOW (12.30 Huntingdon) @ best morning-line price
I can remember this one getting a very favourable mention in a Stable Tour when he first joined Jonjo O’Neill, but he’s been very disappointing so far in hurdles and a bumper. He hasn’t been seen running down the field at Kempton in May 2014 and he clearly comes with a risk. However, he was always going to be better over fences and, rather than make his debut on a novice, it seems significant his trainer is starting him out in handicap company, suggesting he thinks he’s potentially well treated on a mark of just 110. A winner of an Irish point-to-point, he has been schooling well at home (gleaned from a more recent Stable Tour) and ought to be up to winning this modest contest.
GABRIELLA ROSE (1.30 Ascot) @ best morning-line price
The Alan King-trained mare is making her seasonal reappearance – unlike all her rivals – but she won first time out last season and has had this race as her target for some time – as revealed by her trainer in his Weekender column. She does have to overcome a career-high mark, but King thinks she can still be “competitive” off it and she must have further improvement in her after just seven starts under Rules. She’s ridden by Wayne Hutchinson, who has been a lucky jockey for me down the years, and she will revel in the testing conditions.
SHANTOU BOB (2.25 Haydock) @ 11/2 Paddy Power
The seven-year-old looks to have something to prove after ending last season with a couple of disappointing efforts at Warwick and Cheltenham, and the handicapper has left him on 143. However, his trainer was adamant (October 29 Stable Tour) that he wasn’t quite right on those occasions and, having given him a wind operation over the summer, he’s expecting him to leave that form well behind. The plan is to go chasing and he’s an exciting prospect for that sphere, but his shrewd connections must think he’s up to winning this first and the vibes coming out of the in-form stable in the run-up have been very positive. That has seen his price crash from an opening 12/1 to half that now, but he’s still a shade of value and I really fancy him to do the business.
CROWN THEATRE (3.15 Ascot) @ 11/2 Hills
The fact Henry De Bromhead travels over from Ireland with the six-year-old and has gone to the trouble of booking Barry Geraghty is a massive tip in itself. Delve a bit deeper into his form and it’s clear the horse is sharply progressive and is a superb jumper of fences. A strong traveller who needs producing as late as possible – he got to the front too soon when second at Fairyhouse last time – he is likely to be swinging on the bit turning in, and that makes him an excellent back to lay (in-running) proposition.
ROYAL PALLADIUM (3.35 Haydock) @ 4/1 Betfair
The Venetia Williams-trained seven-year-old ran a cracker to finish second in his seasonal reappearance in the ultra competitive Badger Ales Trophy, and this looks a good opportunity for him to go one better. A three-time winner over fences last term, he looks to be still improving and his in-form trainer was very complimentary about him in a recent Stable Tour, saying she liked “liked him a lot” and describing him as an “intelligent jumper”. He likes to get on with things and his fencing is going to be a huge asset in the testing conditions; he could make all.