Our racing expert picks out five horses to back this Saturday - weather permitting!
With temperatures set to rise overnight, there is a fair chance we will get to see racecourse action of the all-weather variety and the following five horses are expected to go well.
SEA FOX (Lingfield 2:45) @ 13/2 Betway
Group-placed as a juvenile, David Evans’ charge bounced back to winning form when making most to win a 7f Kempton novice in early February (third and fourth have won subsequently) and he so nearly followed up back in a class 2 handicap over 1m here three weeks later. Soon up with the leaders, despite a slow start, he was ridden to take the lead a furlong out only to get mugged on the line by the prolific Goring and Mr Scaramanga. That narrow defeat confirmed him in great heart and a similar effort here under Fran Berry, who was on board for the Kempton success, might suffice in this lower grade contest.
ENCORE D’OR (Lingfield 2.55) @ 9/2 Hills
Bookmakers prefer the chances of Atletico and that horse wouldn’t be winning out of turn having finished runner-up on his last three outings, most recently when beaten a head at Wolverhampton five days ago, despite falling out of the gates. However, he can ill afford another slow start here from his outside draw and when you also consider all his form is on Tapeta (they race on Polytrack here), I’d much rather be on last year’s winner Encore D’Or. Robert Cowell’s charge is now 2-4 over this track and trip and one of his two defeats was by the narrowest margin, that coming in a Listed race here only last Saturday. It was probably his 3lb penalty for his Listed win at Doncaster last September that cost him on that occasion and, now reunited with Ryan Moore and taking on handicap rivals, he can go one better.
HEADWAY (Lingfield 3:30) @ 13/8 Betfair
I wasn’t expecting much generosity from the bookmakers in putting up this William Haggas-trained three-year-old as his form is there for all to see, but he does look the one to beat in the feature Listed Spring Cup and 6/4 is not to be sniffed at. Certainly, his head defeat in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot and a subsequent third in the Gimcrack Stakes at York reads very well in this company, with the latter effort suggesting he will be suited by the step up to 7f. While we’re having to guess over his fitness, he must have been pleasing his trainer (who won this in 2014 and 2017) as he still has an entry in the 2000 Guineas and he has a few pounds in hand over today’s rivals on official ratings.
OCEAN OF LOVE (Chelmsford 6:45) @ 2/1 Hills
Saeed bin Suroor’s four-year-old mare has improved for the application of a hood and a further 8lb rise for winning over course and distance at the end of January might not be enough to stop her landing the hat-trick. An easy winner at Wolverhampton (1m4f) previously, the daughter of Distorted Honour clearly appreciated the step up to today’s trip and was value for far more than her near three lengths winning margin as she was heavily eased close home. Given her rate of progress her handicap days could be numbered and, while this is competitive, she may prove good enough.
BORN TO FINISH (Chelmsford 7:15) @ 7/2 Betfair
Excellent George has won twice over course and distance this winter, with a respectable third at Kempton in between, but he’s never won off a mark as high as today’s and preference is for Born To Finish, who is better drawn in stall three. Jamie Osborne’s five-year-old has also been good form of late and goes well over this track and trip (2-4, including a short head defeat two starts back). He showed a likeable attitude when bursting through between rivals to get up close home on his most recent outing at Kempton and a subsequent 2lb rise doesn’t look beyond him.
All odds were correct at time of posting.