BetBright Grimthorpe Chase Doncaster Saturday (3m2f)

BetBright Grimthorpe Chase Doncaster Saturday. (3m2f)

Tim Easterby will be trying to maintain his 100 % record in the race with the 9yo Trustan Times

Run as a Grand National Trial, it has produced three winners of the Aintree showpiece, Ben Nevis, Corbiere, and Amberleigh House, all going on to their place in racing’s hall of fame after winning here. It requires a touch of class to carry big weights in this with only two, the very useful Cloudy Lane, and Grey Abbey, managing to win with more than 11st in the plate in the last ten runnings. Nine of the winners in the last decade have been aged eight to ten with an eleven year old also collecting. Recent form is important, with nine of the last ten winners managing at least a fourth place in their previous race. Doncaster, on the face of it, is not a testing course, but handicap chases here tend to be run at a fair clip and if they go for home early, which they very often do, it can be a stamina sapping last four furlongs, so an ability to stay is of paramount importance.

While the older animal has fared better statistically, it is worth noting that none of the last ten winners had contested more than thirteen handicap chases. Donald McCain and Keith Revely are the only two of Saturday’s trainers to have hit the target in the last ten years, but Tim Easterby did win with the only runner he has ever had in the race, Skillwise, (2002). Venetia Williams can be considered unlucky not to be on the score sheet as her Pentiffic fell at the last three years ago, and Renard finished third for her last year. Favourites have a poor record with only one obliging in the past decade, but it hasn’t been a race for big outsiders either, Night In Milan (14/1) being the only winner outside the top five in the betting in the same period. So what of this years renewal?

Tim Easterby will be trying to maintain his 100 % record in the race with the 9yo Trustan Times,his first runner in the contest for thirteen years, and if the gelding can recapture his form of last April when a close third in the Scottish National, He would have excellent prospects of doing so. The 9yo hasn’t shown much since the Scottish race,but there have been excuses. The stable has been very badly out of form since last September, but has recently staged a renewal and the winners are beginning to flow. Trustan Times should certainly not fail on the stamina front,and considering he is one of only four in the field ( the others being Across the Bay, Wayward Prince, and Carlito Brigante ) to have been successful at CL1 level he looks quite well treated off a mark of 138 on Saturday. Well worth considering!

Mark Walls’ very talented ex point to pointer Theatre Queen, is of definite interest. A winner of six of her seven starts between the flags, the 8yo Kings Theatre Mare transferred all her ability to the racecourse when winning her first hunter chase, at Cheltenham. Her second appearance confirmed the good impression made, when hosing up in the highly competitive final of the champion novice hunter chase at Stratford. She reappeared at Taunton at the end of December with high expectations, but disgraced Herself, refusing to race. However all was forgiven next time, when equipped with a hood at Ludlow, she was much more amenable and finished a respectable second to a well handicapped animal in Tony Star off a mark of 125. This mare who like many of her gender, come to themselves in the spring, is bound to be much better suited to the galloping nature of Doncaster and the two extra furlongs to travel on Saturday, and is shortlisted with her nice racing weight of 10st2lbs. (Including M.Walls 5lb claim)

Last years winner off a mark of 136, Night In Milan, clearly enjoys the South Yorkshire air as he has won twice, and been placed three times from his seven course appearances. He finished an honourable third, albeit beaten nearly ten lengths, here, off Saturday’s mark of 146, over an inadequate 3miles, five weeks ago, and will certainly require a best ever performance to defy Saturday’s impost of 11st10lbs. However this properly bred National Hunt horse may well be up to the challenge and is not easily dismissed.

Charlie Longsdon’s Drop Out Joe looks interesting. A 7yo,with only three outings over the larger obstacles, his credentials for this aren’t immediately obvious. However he has jumped around Carlisle, ( won 2 1/2m ch sft) Cheltenham, ( 3rd btn 4l and25l by Kings Palace and Sausalito Sunrise 3m1/2f) and last time put in a remarkable performance at Ascot ( 2m51/2f gd/sft dec 20 ) where, virtually tailed off at the 13th, he ran on to such effect that he was only a shd and a hd behind the second horse, the very useful Thomas Crapper, at the finish. The performance of a stayer! Of definite interest if this 131 rated hurdler, assessed at 132 on his handicap debut turns up at the weekend.

Ian Williams’ Super Duty’s last appearance in a steeplechase was the 2013 Hennessy, where he ran off a mark of 148. Sidelined for thirteen months, he made his comeback in a 3ml 1f hurdle at Wetherby four weeks ago, and proved his wellbeing when finishing 6th in a truly run race. If he retains his old ability he doesn’t look badly treated off his mark of 141 on Saturday, and is worth considering.

Rebecca Curtis’ Champagne Rian put up an improved performance when winning a Cl4 chase ( 3ml sft jan 23 ) over the course, off a mark of 112. Raised 9lbs the 7yo has it all to do in a much better race, but lots of improvement can be expected, as that was only his third attempt over fences, and coming from this talented handler it would be no surprise to see this gelding with his featherweight, who is out of a Strong Gale mare ( should appreciate anticipated better ground at the weekend )involved at the business end.

Selection: Trustan Times

E.W.: Theatre Queen

Racing Betting Preview BetBright Cup Chase

Racing Betting Preview BetBright Cup Chase. 3m1 1/2f Cheltenham Saturday

Oliver Sherwood’s 8yo Many Clouds made a highly satisfactory reappearance at Carlisle at the beginning of November when defeating the talented Eduard and Holywell in a class 1 chase, and then ran the race of his life when winning the Hennessy at Newbury four weeks later.

As only three winners of this, Kim Bailey’s Master Oats in 1995, Paul Nicholl’s See More Business in 1999, and Noel Chance’s Looks like Trouble in 2000, have gone on to victory in the Gold Cup itself it hasn’t been the greatest guide to success in March. However if all eight turn out on Saturday this years renewal looks the strongest for some years, and certainly contains some potential Gold Cup winners.

With three 9yos, four 10yos, and an 11yo veteran collecting in the last ten runnings experience obviously counts. Paul Nicholls has won the race twice over the same period, with Colin Tizzard, David Bridgwater , Jonjo O’Neill, and Nigel Twiston- Davis getting their name on the scoresheet once. While David Pipe and Alan King have failed to win, they have both had two runners placed, King being of particular interest, as he has had only two runners over the period. Course form is important with eight of the last ten winners having previously been successful at the track. ( The other two had strong place form ). The market has been a poor guide with none of the last nine Jollys obliging .

Despite failing to win over the course, Smad Place’s Cheltenham record is exemplary. Having been placed in two World Hurdles he ran the race of his career in last years R.S.A. Chase. There, in a race run nearly three seconds faster than standard, he took it up before two out, and hard pressed by the winner O’Faolain’s Boy from the last, in an epic struggle, he only gave best in the last stride. Put away for the rest of the season, he made his reappearance in the Hennessy at Newbury where he started a well fancied 6/1 shot. Although making some progress after the 17th he was never really in the hunt and finished tired, 20l behind Saturday’s opponent Many Clouds. His excellent trainer Alan King blamed himself for the poor showing, feeling that in retrospect, the horse would have benefited from a previous race before such a competitive event as the Hennessy. With very positive vibes now coming from the stable, and with a pull of 12lbs with Many Clouds, his chance is obvious on Saturday.

Twice placed, and three times a winner ( including this race last year ) over the course, David Bridgwater’s 10yo The Giant Bolster’s chance must be respected. After his heroics in last years Gold Cup ( 3rd btn 3/4l ) he reappeared at Wetherby at the beginning of November, and ran abysmally finishing tailed off last. He ran with more enthusiasm at Haydock three weeks later finishing 15l 5th to Silviniaco Conti. While further progress can be anticipated back at his favourite track, he is carrying the maximum penalty and has to concede weight to classy animals like Smad Place and Holywell, so perhaps a place is the best that can be hoped for.

Another set to shoulder the maximum penalty is Many Clouds, and few would argue that he is the animal with most potential in the field. Oliver Sherwood’s 8yo made a highly satisfactory reappearance at Carlisle at the beginning of November when defeating the talented Eduard and Holywell in a class 1 chase, and then ran the race of his life when winning the Hennessy at Newbury four weeks later. He ran out a most convincing winner staying on with great gusto from the last, to win by 3 3/4l from Houblon des Obeaux off a mark of 151, and went into many note books as a potential Gold Cup winner. He is a relentless galloper who stays extremely well and thrives in testing conditions, so should have conditions to suit on Saturday. The slight caveat would be his lack of course form, but he has only run at the track twice, and was going well enough when brought down at the 14th in the R.S.A. Chase. He has shown his versatility on a variety of tracks and I don’t envisage the course being a problem.

Paul Nicholls, who has been relentlessly firing in the Saturday winners, saddles the 8yo Black Thunder, an animal who has been slowly getting his act together. A faller in the R.S.A. Chase, he disappointed on his reappearance at Newton Abbot in October but ran well in a cl1 chase at Ascot ( Nov1 ) when a close 2nd off a mark of 149. He then trotted up in a four runner affair when odds on at Sandown. He is another burdened with the maximum penalty on Saturday so perhaps this winner of four of his eight chases may find Saturday’s test beyond him.

David Pipes’ 9yo Dynaste stayed on well in the King George V1 chase at Kempton to take 2nd behind his nemesis Silviniaco Conti, giving some encouragement to the view that he has more reserves of stamina than appeared to be the case previously. If this is true last years Ryan Air Chase winner would be a serious contender on Saturday as he ran on so well up that daunting hill in March.

Jonjo O’Neill’s Holywell impressed when winning a handicap at the festival of a mark of 145, and progressed again when taking the gd1 novices chase at Aintree by 10l from the very useful Don Cossack, a performance that led to talk of “Gold Cups” by some good judges. However his performances this season have been disappointing, unseating in his last race. Jonjo was badly out of form at the time, so it is far too early to write off this very promising animal. It would be no surprise to see a much improved performance on Saturday.

Selection: Many Clouds.

Danger: Smad Place.

Ladbroke Handicap Hurdle Betting Tips Ascot

Nick Henderson race horse trainer.

Our racing guru fancies Nicky Henderson’s Sign of a Victory to go close in Saturday’s Ladbroke Handicap Hurdle.

Since its inception in 2001 there have been only nine renewals of this highly competitive race at its Ascot venue. It was abandoned in 2009 and 2010 due to snow, and was run elsewhere in 2004 and 2005 due to course redevelopment. Nicky Henderson has been the most successful trainer with three wins. Five year olds have been the winning most age group with five successes. Two six year olds, one seven year old, and one four year old have also hit the back of the net. This stat may be a little misleading as four year olds have been very much to the fore in recent runnings. The market hasn’t been a great guide with only one favourite (Henderson’s Jack The Giant 2007) obliging, and two 25/1 shots winning.

Harry Fry’s 4yo Activial leads the market at 5/1 having been backed in from twice these odds since last weekend. He was a convincing winner of the Adonis hurdle at Newbury last Febuary, but then disappointed in his next engagement at Aintree in April where he was probably unsuited by the sharp track. However the Newbury form has worked out well with the runner up Commissioned ( beaten 3 1/2L ) winning twice this season, achieving a rating of 140, making Activial’s Mark of 137 on Saturday, look rather generous. His lack of a recent pipe opener and indeed experience ( has had only 3 hurdle races), may count against him, but with the very talented Mr Fry in charge and carrying the nice racing weight of 10st10lbs he is short listed.

With his three previous winners Nicky Henderson certainly knows what is required, so his very promising 5yo Sign of a Victory is worth serious consideration. In only his fifth race over hurdles ( Ascot 2ml. Nov1 ) he came home on the bridle in what was a truly run race,of a mark of 139. He has been raised what appears a quite harsh 11lbs to 150 but it will be no surprise if he ends the season racing off a considerably higher mark. Ground conditions on Saturday are a concern as he had been an intended runner in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle but was taken out because of the soft ground. However I can’t see Saturday’s likely gd/sft being a problem for this son of Kayf Tara out of a Bob Back mare, and unless conditions really deteriorate should have every chance.

Having performed with credit in a number of top handicaps Gordon Elliott’s 5yo Bayan is already a seasoned campaigner. He ran a great race to be third in the Coral Cup at the Festival, and improved again,coming second in the Galway Hurdle. However the handicapper has had his say and he is now 8lbs higher than Cheltenham. He probably needs testing conditions at two miles so if it does come up soft he is well worth a second look.

Dan Skelton’s 5yo Galileo gelding Shelford has won his last two races and is another who wouldn’t mind it testing on Saturday. Rated 89 on the flat he has made a highly successful transition to the winter game and was quite impressive in his first handicap ( 2 1/2 mls sft Chepstow ) at the end of October, where off a mark of 127 he made all and kept on very gamely to beat Aubusson by 3/4L. As the runner up went on to win the £80,000. Fixed Brush Hurdle at Haydock, Shelford’s 7lbs rise seems more than fair. He travels well in his races so it would be no surprise to see him leading the field over the last on Saturday.

Garde La Victoire and Clondaw Warrior are closely matched on Cheltenham form in November and the progressive Hobbs horse is fancied to come out on top again. Clondaw Warrior is 3lb better of for the 2L he was beaten but Garde La Victoire has the more progressive profile and indeed must have every chance of being involved at the business end.

Tony Martins 4yo Pyromaniac finished a well beaten 3rd at Cheltenham in November but had shown considerable potential in his previous two runs at Listowel and Killarney. Coming from this stable, this very lightly raced and unexposed animal could easily spring a surprise.

Jonjo O’Neill’s good flat horse Goodwood Mirage showed he was getting his act together when winning at Wetherby in October. Quietly fancied for the Triumph hurdle, he was brought down at the second and is definitely one to note if there is any market confidence.

Selection. Sign of a Victory.

E.W. Shelford.

Betting Tips Cheltenham Paddy Power Gold Cup

The 8yo Little Josh is the oldest horse to have won this in the last decade and there hasn't been a winner aged 10 or older since Clear Cut in 1975 emphasising that this is a race for the younger progressive type of chaser.

The 8yo Little Josh is the oldest horse to have won this in the last decade and there hasn’t been a winner aged 10 or older since Clear Cut in 1975 emphasising that this is a race for the younger progressive type of chaser.

The 8yo Little Josh is the oldest horse to have won this in the last decade and there hasn’t been a winner aged 10 or older since Clear Cut in 1975 emphasizing that this is a race for the younger progressive type of chaser. Weight has been a significant factor over the past decade but three have carried more than 11st. These include Old Vic, from the Pipe yard who won with 11st 7lbs in 2005.

Course form has been most significant with 16 of the last twenty winners having previously hit the Bulls eye on the track. The Irish have had little success, with Eddie O’Grady’s Tranquil Sea in 2009 being their sole success since 1980.

The Pipe family have had great success with Martin winning eight times in his illustrious career and son David hitting the back of the net three years ago with the 7yo Great Endeavour .

The stable is represented by Easter Meteor on Saturday and is well worth considering. Having been brought down in this last year when travelling strongly, he turned out a fortnight later at Newbury , and ran Cantlow to whom he was Conceeding 3 lbs to 1 1/2 L. Brought down in a 2 miler at the festival he was put away for the season and now reappears representing the Pipe academy. Highly likely to have benefited from the change of scenery and the Pond House methodology, it would be no surprise to see him figure prominently on Saturday.

Alan King’s Uxizandre ran a marvellous race at the festival when just being run out of it by the classy Taquin Du Seuil, 2 1/2 ml. He was’nt stopping at the finish, and having won over 3ml on soft ground as 4yo hurdler there should be no stamina issues on Saturday. He went on to collect the Cl1 Gd1 chase at the Aintree festival and is undoubtedly a class act. Unfortunately this leaves him with a hefty 11st 12lbs to carry. Nevertheless he is one for the short list.

A winner over the new course at Cheltenham 2ml 5f on heavy ground in January, where he beat the Feltham winner Annacotty, the ex Donald Mc Cain trained Indian Castle is interesting. He went off the 7/2 fav for the Kim Muir at the festival but was never really in contention. Now in the hands of the very capable trainer Ian Williams, with his nice racing weight, and proven ability in testing conditions. He is another for the short list.

Favourite at the time of writing, Jamie Snowden’s Present View has a lot to recommend him. A winner over course and distance at the festival, in only his fourth race over fences. He made a very satisfactory reappearance 4 weeks ago in a 2ml novice hurdle at Cheltenham. He had the race at his mercy when making a mess of the last and went down by a hd to the very useful Vicente. He did sustain a severe cut to his leg and missed some work, but his upwardly mobile trainer is not unduly concerned. With a nice racing weight of 10st 12lbs he must have a great chance on Saturday.

Last years winner John’s Spirit again showed his liking for the course when winning from Persian Snow, Ericht, and Astracad, four weeks ago. However he will be racing off a mark 17lbs higher than last year, so perhaps the one to take out of the race is Phillip Hobbs’s Persian Snow.

He has plenty of course form, has a nice racing weight, and confidence would be further enhanced if we have plenty of rain.

Evan Williams’s progressive 7yo chaser Buywise is very interesting. He showed great reseloution at the festival in March where despite a series of mistakes and a bad blunder two out he stayed on into fifth behind Present View. He wasn’t exactly foot perfect a month later, again at Cheltenham when winning by 9L from Astracad. He made an eye catching reappearance at Ludlow when winning a 2ml novice hurdle three weeks ago. He is another who will be well suited by testing conditions so plenty of rain would be very much in his favour. The one slight reservation would be with his jumping but in the hands of his master trainer it will be no surprise to see a much improved performance in this department on Saturday.

Selection. Present View.

E.W. Buywise .